Friday on my mind: women

Welcome to our Friday open thread.

I was contemplating a catchy title; something which might grab everyone’s attention – immediately the word Sex came to mind. No, I thought, that while this is always a certainty to gain people’s attention I should make this one harder, so to speak. Therefore our Friday topic is: Women. It matters not a bit what the content might be, as long as it has something to do with the feminine gender.

I was thinking of the evolution of feminism, how the status of women has ebbed and gained, only to ebb again during differing times in history.

Compare the women of ancient Greece with those of Sparta:

Under Athenian law it was required that a woman be under the control and assumed protection of a male guardian or kyrios, firstly meaning her father or other adult male relative. Therefore although Greek women might be permitted to own money or property, the control of this property belonged to the male and he was free to dispose of this in any way that he wished. At the same time, he was responsible for making sure she had food, clothing and shelter, and if appropriate he was supposed to provide her with a dowry if she was of a marriageable age. On her own a woman could neither enter into a contract nor any financial transaction worth more than a medimnos of barley. A woman could sell vegetables and handicrafts, and she could purchase household supplies on a day to day basis, but anything bigger than that required the permission of her kyrios.

Meanwhile in Sparta, a differing opinion existed, that a woman with a brain was considered to be an asset. Females were therefore encouraged to be educated and to a standard . As Plato points out (Protagoras) this education was not purely physical. On the contrary, in Sparta “not only men but also women pride themselves on their intellectual culture.” This was more than mere literacy: it was systematic education in rhetoric and philosophical thought.

Go forward to today’s society and we still have these two images of what a woman should be:

The Athenian image versus the Spartan image. Has anything changed? Are women still expected to be subservient to men, and only due to the fact of their gender. I believe that there are people who would be biased based on anything different, be it gender or race or nationality.

**Apologies for the quality of the film clip