Ideal Role Of Women In Aristotle's Politics

875 Words 4 Pages
In reading both Book V of Plato’s Republic and Book I of Aristotle’s Politics, there is a noticeable difference in the ideal role of women within each philosopher’s view. To compare and contrast these differences, one must observe the culture of the Ancient Greeks as well as understand the fundamental inequality between men and women in Greek city-states. In all aspects of Greek life, women were unequal to men. They were not allowed to own land, inherit, vote, or participate in many social and political activities of the time. Their husbands were their masters, their home and family were their only purpose. With that in mind, it is easy to see where Plato’s ideas of women were drastically radical. While Plato acknowledges women’s inherent weakness …show more content…
This view is rooted in logic, as it is a well-known fact that women are not as physically strong as their male counterparts. Plato also states that if women are adequately trained to be the guardians of society, they will be able to play the same role as protectors. He goes on to acknowledge that women have different capabilities and interests, so one woman may excel at sports and another may shine in philosophy. Regardless, if women are allowed opportunities in education, they would be able to perform the roles which suit them for the betterment of Greek society as a whole. Plato stops short at articulating complete equality between the genders, however, and states that “the one gender is far superior to the other in just about every sphere.” Regardless, Plato’s views represent a very archaic form of feminism; some sort of prelude to the feminist movements thousands of years in the future. The ideas which he puts forth in Republic constitute some of the first written notions of female empowerment, despite Plato's focus towards this empowerment's contribution to Greek society rather than individual …show more content…
According to Book I of Politics, men are superior and their role in society is to rule over their wives as a king rules over his people. There are no mentions of equality in Aristotle’s works. Aristotle even includes the poet’s phrase, “silence is a woman’s glory,” to re-iterate his view on the female role. He claims that, like a good king, men must be temperate and just to effect leadership of their wives and women must also be temperate and just to take orders. Aristotle points to the biological and psychological differences of the genders to assert his claim that male nature is far better suited to lead. In this way, Aristotle does not think outside the norm of his culture, but re-asserts the values within it. The type of thinking put forward by Aristotle enforces the cycle of women’s inferiority by denying them education and involvement in their communities. He fails to acknowledge that, if provided the same opportunities as men, women would be more diversified in their talents and skills which would make them more able to contribute to Greek society. Without this realization, Aristotle does his civilization a disservice by denying a majority population the ability to better Greece using their full

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