Murdering Masculinities: Fantasies of Gender and Violence in the American Crime Novel

Murdering Masculinities: Fantasies of Gender and Violence in the American Crime Novel

Murdering Masculinities: Fantasies of Gender and Violence in the American Crime Novel

Murdering Masculinities: Fantasies of Gender and Violence in the American Crime Novel

Synopsis

In India, God can be female. The goddesses of Hinduism and Buddhism represent the largest extant collection of living goddesses anywhere on the planet. Feminists in the West often draw upon South Asian goddesses as theological resources in the contemporary rediscovery of the Goddess. Yet, these goddesses are products of a male supremacist society.

What is the impact of powerful female deities--their images, projections, textuality, and history--on the social standing and psychological health of women? Do they empower women, or serve the interests of patriarchal culture? Is the Goddess a Feminist? looks at the goddesses of South Asia to address these questions directly.

Not a book about a single goddess or even about a variety of South Asian goddesses, the volume raises questions about images of deities as symbols and the ways in which they function. Contributors discuss contemporary Indian women who have embraced goddesses as spiritually and socially liberating, as well as the seeming contradictions between the power of Indian goddesses and the lives of Indian women. They also explore such topics as the element of male desire in the embodiment of female deities, the question of who speaks for the goddesses, and the politics and theology of Western feminist use of Hindu and Buddhist goddesses as models for their feminist reflections.

Excerpt

My mother died the day after I turned twelve: that is the central fact of this book. She died of a tumor, painfully and slowly, and she died at home in an empty room that I could scarcely bring myself to enter. The room was our living room before she got sick. We must once have done some living in it, though I cannot say I really remember. What I can recollect now is this: that afterwards, as she lay dying, her shaven head wrapped round with gauze, her face simultaneously contracted and bloated, her eyes glazed over with drugs that could not hide a pain I did not understand—afterwards, that room was thick with things too scary to confront. In there I knew my mother was dying. I did not want her to die—and yet I wished she would. I felt that my need for a love she seemed unable to express was killing her, and I wanted her to hurry up and go. I thought if only I could love her, could make an adequately caring reparation for my greedy onslaughts upon her attention, then she would recover to be the mother I had always wanted her to be. Instead those onslaughts were now killing her, and death would be her final revenge. She was, I believed, dying on purpose: dying to torment me with her . . .

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