Sex Roles (2006) 55:147 DOI 10.1007/s11199-006-9066-3 BOOK REVIEW Sikata Banerjee: Make Me a Man: Masculinity, Hinduism, and Nationalism in India. Albany, NY, State University of New York Press; 2005. 181 pp. $71.50 hardcover. Carla D. Hunter Published online: 5 November 2006 Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006 Gender identity development has multiple influences and The early chapters focus on colonialism and the use of occurs at multiple systems levels (e.g., biological, family, stereotyping as a tool to denigrate Hindu masculinity in community, society). Too few discussions, however, have comparison to British masculinity. Subsequent chapters illuminated the unique intersection of gender identity focus on the role of femininity and its connection to Hindu development in the context of colonialism and racism. masculinity and Hindu nationalism. Thus, the chapters must Such macro-level discussions of masculinity and femininity be read in succession, and this reflects both the strengths highlight the role that systemic oppression plays in shaping and limitations of the text. one’s identity and the ways in which individuals who are The first four chapters of the text are mainly concerned oppressed take back their voice and re-create their gendered with answering the question, “what does manhood have to selves. Thus, Sikata Banerjee’s text provides a welcome do with nation?” The ideas in each chapter build on each addition to the discourse on gender identity, masculinity, other, and, as such, the reader must sustain a great deal of and femininity among Hindu men and women. information and concepts as the text progresses. With The text demonstrates the importance of incorporating regard to the role of femininity in the discourse, Banerjee nationalism in our understanding of conceptualizations of highlights the tension of femininity and feminine roles in masculinity and femininity. Banerjee states, “If an Indian post colonial Hindu society and the multiple ways these woman chooses a white man over an Indian man, is she roles must be negotiated. She also provides an analysis of denigrating an Indian man’s virility and strength, that is, femininity as a means for women to enter the discourse on markers of his manliness? In the Indian context, does this nationalism and nation building. In addition, she provides a anxiety draw on memories of colonialism and British thorough description of the major Hindu nationalist critiques of Indian manhood? And what does this manhood organizations and the implications of cultural nationalism. have to do with nation?” (p. 2). It is the last question on However, the presentation of these concepts, which are which the text is focused, and, as a result of reading the central to text, is somewhat abstract. Banerjee does include text, one may gain insights into the personal questions personal statements, where appropriate, but the majority of posed by Banerjee. the text is a historical and contemporary thesis that would The text contains seven chapters. Each chapter provides benefit from Banerjee’s or others’ personal interpretations. a thorough historical literature review, which provides During the reading, I yearned for an opportunity to connect context that enables readers to understand Hindu masculin- with the voices of Hindu men and women. ity and femininity and its relationship to Hindu nationalism. The text is a great comment on the interconnections among gender and political climate that is not often discussed. Therefore, Banerjee’s text will be a useful C. D. Hunter (*) addition to syllabi in advanced women’s studies, political University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, science, and international studies courses for advanced Champaign, IL, USA e-mail: email@example.com undergraduate and graduate students.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 5, 2006
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