Lysistrata and the feminist movement
In ancient Greece, society for women was constricted in a patriarchal society. Women could not participate in politics nor could they obtain an education. Women were bound to their homes and in charge of their slaves and rearing their children. Men were entitled to anything they desired including women. The decisions regarding all matters of the polis were decided by men and men were the ones responsible for protection of the polis. Lysistrata is a play of an early feminism movement because it empowered women, created future movements, and left a legacy of its own.
In the play, the women of Greece united to determine the affairs of the Peloponnesian War that was ensuing. Tired of their men being away for years to fight for their country, the women bound together and chose to handle matters themselves. The first part of the plan was to obtain control of the Acropolis entitling the women to control the finances of the polis. The second part of the plan was to withhold sex from their men until a treaty could be bound. This plan was no easy task due to the limitations of women’s rights and civil liberties. By withholding sex and taking control of the Acropolis from the men, they were able to change the outcome of the war and decide the matters of the polis.
Lysistrata united the women of Greece by calling them together to address the war. The war caused great strife for the women as their men were called away for years at a time. She devised an exceptional plan to end the war. By grouping women together they could empower each other to achieve a common goal to end the war and bring their men home. It was uncommon for women in Greece to commune together. In the time period it was best for the women to remain separated and serve only their men and family. In Athens, women were mere trophies to obtain and control. Women could not disobey their men and would face retribution if it occurred. Their participation in any aspects of daily life besides domestic duties was not allowed. The power created by controlling the outcome of the war enabled the women to obtain power and use it to make a difference in politics.
Meeting in secret at night she called them “from Sparta, Thebes, and all of their allies” (Aristophanes 40) to commune the women to discuss the plan. Although some of the younger women did not take the meeting seriously by showing up late, they soon realized what their purpose was - to end the war. She created a pact to bind the women as one and had one speak for all to solidify the duties that were now their new role. The pact entailed their withholding of sex, their look of temptation, their disinterest if their man takes them forcibly, and their promise to uphold it. This new role was to no longer satisfy their men sexually yet to look as tempting as possible to their eyes. Resistance was to be paramount in order for the plan to succeed. The men realized there was a power the women possessed...