Gendered spheres

By Miguel Hernandez,2014-04-22 20:09
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Gendered spheres

Gendered spheres:

    I think the god, from the very beginning, designed the nature of woman for the indoor work and concerns and the nature of man for the outdoor work. For he prepared man’s body and mind to be more capable of enduring cold and heat and travelling and military campaigns, and so he assigned the outdoor work to him. Because the woman was physically less capable of endurance, I think the god has evidently assigned the indoor work to her. And because the god was aware that he had both implanted in the woman and assigned to her the nurture of newborn children, he had measured out to her a greater share of affection for newborn babies than he gave to the man. And because the god had also assigned to the woman the duty of guarding what had been brought into the house, realising that a tendency to be afraid is not at all disadvantageous for guarding things, he measured out a greater portion of fear to the woman than to the man. (Xenophon, Oeconomicus VII, 22-25)

    And the law declares honourable those duties for which the god has made each of them more naturally capable. For the woman it is more honourable to remain indoors than to be outside; for the man it is more disgraceful to remain indoors than to attend to business outside. (Xenophon, Oeconomicus VII, 30)

    What could she have known when I took her as my wife, Socrates? She was not yet fifteen when she came to me, and had spent her previous years under careful supervision so that she might see and hear and speak as little as possible. Don’t you think it was adequate if she came to me knowing only how to take wool and produce a cloak, and had seen how spinning tasks are allocated to the slaves? And besides, she had been very well trained to control her appetites, Socrates... (Xenophon, Oeconomicus VII, 5-6)

Males, as the dominant sex, have only a partial view of the world and yet they

    are in a position to insist that their views and values are the “real” and only

    values; and they are in a position to impose their version on other human beings who do not share their experience. This is one of the crucial features of dominance; it is one of the characteristics of patriarchy, for it is the means by

    which one half of the human population is able to insist that the other half sees things its way. By this process alternative views and values are suppressed and blocked. (Spender Man-Made Language1985, 1-2)

Theopompos on Etruscan women:

    At table they lie down not with their own husbands but with the first to come of the other participants and they even drink toasts to whomsoever they wish. What is more they drink a great deal and they are very beautiful to look at.

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