Chakra Discussions

Diversity In Gender

by Amara dasa

Posted September 4, 2005

Sri Nandanandana's recent article is a nice summary of the general role of women in Vedic society, but his description is just that--a general summary. There are always exceptions to any rule and we cannot make blanket statements that all women are, or must be, one certain way. In reality there are unlimited types of women just like there are unlimited types of men. Diversity and natural variegatedness are critical aspects of Hinduism, but Sri Nandanandana fails to mention or allow for any gender diversity in his article.

For instance, he asserts, "Women should not try to seize the role of men or try to adopt the masculine nature of men. Otherwise, imbalance results in society..." While this may be true for many women, it does not account for those who do, in fact, excel in typical male roles or have masculine qualities by nature. Such women are not trying to "seize" male roles or "adopt the masculine nature of men"--they simply have these talents and qualities by their God-given nature.

The same is true for men. Some men excel in traditionally held female roles and are feminine by nature. To assert that there is something wrong or "unbalanced" with them is not only an unfair assessment of such persons but also a misrepresentation of Hinduism and Vedic culture. In Vedic society all different types of men and women were recognized and engaged in Krsna's service. To say there is only one type of man and one type of woman, with no diversity in gender, seems more aligned with a fundamentalist Christian understanding of human nature rather than a Vedic or Hindu one.

Diversity in gender is not contrary to the balance of nature or society but simply one more aspect of it.