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Gender and Religion in South East Asia - Term Paper Example

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The mainland of Southeast Asia consists of the present countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma, Some parts of China and far eastern India. These countries have something special about their pattern of the gender and with religions…
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Gender and Religion in South East Asia
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Gender and Religion in South East Asia

Download file to see previous pages... Various religious beliefs predominated over the places for centuries and the recent forms of religions like Christianity, Buddhism and Islam came to these lands. The advent of the new religions shifted the position of the females too. Earlier the position of female in these places was held high and they enjoyed a prominent role in the society. As time passed by, there witnessed change in these two aspects. The present essay plunges an anthropological study into the matter of gender and religion at the Southeast Asian regions.
Throughout the ages, religions and gender of South East Asia have got some kind of significance. Both these play a vital role in the anthropological development of the places. The article, ‘Transgenderisn and Gender Pluralism in Southeast Asia since Early Modern Times’ by Michael G. Peletx takes the words of Reid (1988,146) that “in the South East Asia the history tells that women predominated in a good many ritual contexts associated with agriculture, spiritual, and other religious powers that men could not match” (Peletz, 2006, 312). The women folk had a close association with the control of the society. The transgendered individuals (male bodied but dressed in female dress) too had taken a key position in the rituals of the people. High levels of sexuality and erotic attributes were associated with such transgendered individuals....
“The lowlanders occupy the plains and valleys and cultivate wet rice; they are organized into stratified societies and states traditionally headed by divine kings” (Winzeler, 2008, p.271). Among the major lowlanders include Thai of Thailand, Lao of Laos, Khemer of Kambodia, Shan of northeastern Burma, Vietnamese of Vietnam and Burmese of Burma. Owing to the influence of India and Hindu- Buddhist traditions the lowlanders were turned to be ‘Theravada Buddhists’ (Theravada being the southern tradition, or the “smaller vehicle” of Buddhism) (Winzeler, 2008, p.271). The highlanders live at the mountains and “were traditionally organized at the village level as tribal societies rather than states, are generally egalitarian, and migrate frequently” (Winzeler, 2008, p.271). These highlanders are more influenced by China and so they stick on to their own native beliefs which usually included shamanism (Winzeler, 2008, p.271). The entry of the Western world had its effect in the land. Some of the ethnic religious beliefs gave way for Christianity. The dominance of the Christianity has paved way the change of religion in some of the places. The post colonial aspects of gender have played a crucial role in the socio political milieu of the countries which are commonly called as Southeast Asia. As most of the south eastern countries have embraced Theravada Buddhism which gave a new outlook for the women folk of the religion. The female ascetics were honored well in the society. In comparison with the female monks of the other nations like Japan, China, and India the feminine gender of the Southeast Asian countries enjoyed supremacy in their total procedures as women. The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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