There is an old sexist saying that a translation is like a woman: if she is beautiful, she can’t be faithful, and if she’s faithful, she can’t be beautiful. (I think this is true of translation.) But a great corpus of myths from ancient India through medieval European narratives to contemporary films argues that beautiful women trick men into giving them jewelry, which they want in part because jewelry makes them appear to be more beautiful than they are, so that they can trick more men into giving them more jewelry.
Wendy Doniger is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching interests revolve around two basic areas: Hinduism and mythology. Her work on mythology addresses themes in cross-cultural expanses, such as death, dreams, evil, horses, sex, and women; while her publications on Hinduism cover a broad spectrum that, in addition to mythology, considers literature, law, gender, and zoology. Doniger has written 16 books, translated (primarily from Sanskrit to English) with commentary nine other volumes, has contributed to many edited texts and has written hundreds of articles in journals, magazines and newspapers. Her most recent book is Beyond Dharma: Dissent in the Ancient Indian Sciences of Sex and Politics (2018).