Female Feminism In Lysistrata

1486 Words 6 Pages
Both Aristophanes’s Lysistrata and Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies share the common theme of victorious women. However, just featuring female protagonists does not mean that a text represents feminist viewpoints. Despite both writings featuring strong female characters, Aristophanes’s play’s attempts to empower women are masked by the reinforcement of objectifying stereotypes, whereas Christine de Pizan is able to display the strength of women through means of intelligence and courageousness. While both texts may appear to contain feminist viewpoints, Lysistrata is unable to be labeled as feminist because it reinforces the same stereotypes that the characters in The Book of the City of Ladies break away from.
Women in Lysistrata
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The most prominent instance is the case of the Amazons. These women are able to inhabit and successfully lead a country without any men, displaying their valor by “laying waste to their lands with fire and sword and crushing all opposition until none remained” (De Pizan 791-792). The use of war, which is predominately fought by men and even more predominately fought by men in literature, in this matter is strong evidence towards women’s capabilities and their ability to thrive without interference from men. Another example of De Pizan’s contrast from Aristophanes is seen in the character Synoppe. De Pizan describes her as being “so proud that she chose never to sleep with a man, preferring instead to remain a virgin until her death. Her only love and sole pleasure in life was the pursuit of arms: she never tired of going into battle and seizing new lands” (792). While de Pizan could have simply stated that the character did not want to have sex and died a virgin, she instead uses the character to promote the importance of independence; while she could have been with a man if she wanted to, she feels that it is more important to spend her time fighting for other women. The usage of female characters that are self-determining rather than dependent on men makes it credible when considered a feminist piece of

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