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Year: 2010 Type: Book Chapter Language: English

This paper deals with two related themes: bodily integrity and women’s empowerment in the Indian context. Delving into both the politics of gendered culture and sexual politics (the politics of the body) it argues that the dichotomy between the woman’s body and the mind is a synthetic one and socially constructed. The identification of women with their physical bodies is the root cause of their oppression in a patriarchal culture and society like India. Most often women are denied the rights to emotional, mental, psychological and physical spaces. The fact that the female body is constantly under pressure to conform and mould into prescribed social and cultural roles brings into question the spaces that need to be protected as well rights that need to be claimed so that women’s bodily integrity is respected. Beginning with a definition of the concept of bodily integrity the paper goes on to highlight the struggles and spaces that Indian women have negotiated for in their quest for empowerment.