Social and Cultural Anthropology | Women's Studies
This paper explores apparent contradictions in the gender identifications of Taiwanese Buddhist nuns. Because the texts and teachings of their tradition provide conflicting messages about women's spiritual abilities, the nuns create a complex gender cosmology as a means to accommodate textual contradictions without rejecting any textual statements. This strategy allows the nuns to assert that they have spiritual abilities equal to those of men without rejecting or contradicting textual statements that they do not. Without denying that they are women (and that they are therefore threatening to men) the nuns primarily identify with the male gender. Compartmentalizing and contextualizing gender symbols allows the nuns to see themselves both as men and as women without contradiction.
This is an electronic version of an article published in Religion, volume 37, issue 2, 2007, pages 117-132. Religion is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.religion.2007.06.005
Becoming a nun, becoming a man: Taiwanese Buddhist nuns’ gender transformation.
Religion, 2007, volume 37, issue 2, pages 117-132
Crane, Hillary, "Becoming a Nun, Becoming a Man: Taiwanese Buddhist Nuns’ Gender Transformation" (2007). Faculty Publications. Accepted Version. Submission 2.