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Perceptions of Kali’s tongue

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Hindu concept of 'Lajya' and the western idea of shame.
  3. Comparison between the observations of the students and the true legend.
  4. The dominant figure in the image.
  5. The experience of shame that the feminist interviewees are acquainted with.
  6. Interviewing the feminists.
  7. Conclusion.

Through the last century the western world has been faced with the relatively new concepts of feminine equality and power. Academia has been influenced by theorists such as Simone de Beauvoir, and more recently Judith Butler, who have created a terminology to help define the subtleties of gender inequality. Western governments and society have grown to accommodate changed conceptions of femininity, though many would argue that women are still bound by an association of sexuality or vulnerability that hinders progress in more ?masculine? vocations or relationships. Those at the University of Chicago that would argue this, and fight for the reversal of those norms, are the subjects that interest me in terms of defining the influences of Western culture and the universality of emotional concepts

[...] Shame, on the other hand, is characterized as an outward force that controls one by embarrassment of deformity, rather than recognizing their power (even if it really is the woman's power that is feared). It is a controlling force ambiguously placed in the outer social world, something oppressive and potently threatening, that is slowly internalized. In Hindu culture, lajya is a force of grace, a ?beautiful ornament? worn by a woman, that demonstrates self-confidence (she does not need to exert her power) and respect. [...]


[...] Can you describe what appears to be happening? A. There is a woman in a rage, stepping on a guy. She looks vengeful, very successful. There is a battle going on behind her. Her arms seem to represent something. Q. How would you describe the expression on her face? A. She looks focused and angry. Her eyes are very open, wide . almost like she is experiencing a moment of perception. Her tongue is really red, and long. It looks like a sexual symbol of some sort. [...]


[...] However, perhaps upon a deeper knowledge of the cultural back-story, even western feminists may learn to identify with the outwardly contrasting values of eastern culture. Appendix: Interviews with Subjects 1 and 6 Subject 1 Q. Do you recognize this picture? A. No Q. Can you describe what appears to be happening? A. There is a scary Goddess that is wearing heads and flailing weapons. She looks like she's conquered another Goddess . or I guess a God or demon, maybe. [...]

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