Journal article / The Women’s Wall and Brahmanical Patriarchy in Kerala

Thomas, Sonja. ‘The Women’s Wall in Kerala, India, and Brahmanical Patriarchy’. Feminist Studies 45, no. 1 (2019): 253-61.

Abstract (edited): On January 1st, 2019, the Women’s Wall, a protest against the barring of women from entering the Sabarimala Hindu temple in Kerala, generated international media attention and acclaim from feminists globally.

In this article, I examine the Women’s Wall through lesser discussed realities of caste, religion, and female empowerment in Kerala.

I discuss the concept of Brahmanical patriarchy and how the intersections of casteism and sexism work not only within the Hindu religion but across religions.

Delving into the politics between the communist-led Kerala state government and the Hindu nationalist-led central Indian government, I show how the ‘feminist’ Women’s Wall was actually embedded within existing party politics and political posturing.

I argue that the Women’s Wall, while inspiring and impressive, needs to be contextualised within caste hierarchies, religious divisions, and group interests in exploiting and distorting those hierarchies and divisions for political gain.

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Reposted from Kerala Scholars eGroup

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