AbstractThis paper looks at South Indian social reformer and anti-caste radical Periyar E.V. Ramasamy's approach to the women's question. Periyar was not just an advocate of social and economic equality between the sexes but espoused a radical concept of sexual freedom for women, which is central to his concept of liberty as such. While the anti-colonialists of his period defended native traditions and customs, Periyar welcomed modernity and saw it laden with possibilities for the emancipation of women. Likewise, where other social reformers addressed the women's question within the ambit of the nation and/or the family, Periyar saw both nation and family as institutions that limited the liberties of women. This paper compares his thoughts with The Dialectic of Sex, the key work of the radical feminist Shulamith Firestone, and highlights the similarities in their approach to women's liberation and sexual freedom, especially their critique of child-rearing and child-bearing. It explores Periyar's booklet Women Enslaved in detail and engages with lesser known, new primary material of Periyar on the women's question, concluding with a discussion of his perspective of the West.
Citation: Manoharan KR. Radical freedom: Periyar and women [version 1; peer review: 2 approved, 1 approved with reservations] Open Research Europe 2021, 1:6 https://doi.org/10.12688/openreseurope.13131.1
JournalOpen Research Europe
Description© 2021 Manoharan KR. This is an open access work distributed under a Creative Commons licence, available on the publisher's website: https://doi.org/10.12688/openreseurope.13131.1
SponsorsThis project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No , Freedom From Caste: The Political Thought of Periyar E.V. Ramasamy in a Global Context (CasteFree).
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/