Ancient political philosopher Aristotle views on women
The Philosophical and Political Thought of Aristotle on Women:
One of the greatest philosophers ever produced by the world is Aristotle he was the student of Plato and the most respected philosopher of Greek ancient times. The Arabians, Jewish political thinkers were very much influenced by him and in the Middle Ages even the Christian thinkers were closely attached to his thoughts. His contribution are very much important and he had worked all areas of philosophy and Natural Sciences. Aristotle stated that, the heavens of a thing lies in the understanding of its final nature and with this thought he tried to heavenly the nature of women.
Aristotle’s Philosophy on Women:
Aristotle was firmly influenced that woman was, in reality, an imperfect or maimed or injured man. He stated that the female as automatically mediocre and male as the eventual understanding of humanity and she is lesser than men. Though, he stated and has this negative attitude and opinion about the womanhood, Aristotle preserved every women with kind-heartedness and sympathy. He married and led a family life very successfully.
Some of the comments of Aristotle on Women:
Aristotle stated in his Poetics about women as, “Women may be said to be inferior to man.
Aristotle said in his works, Generation of Animals about women as, “The female is, as it were, a mutilated male’. Further he stated in the same book that “Females are feebler and frostier in nature, and we must look upon the female character as being a sort of natural insufficiency”.
In his, Politics Aristotle mentioned that, “What difference it makes whether women rule, or the rulers ruled by women? The result is the same”. It shows that he had positive attitude towards women and he also expressed the similar thoughts in his philosophy.
In the History of Animals, he stated about women as, The female is weaker in nature than the male, is more naughty, a smaller amount modest, extra thoughtless and further observant to the natural surroundings of young; the male, on the other hand, is more strong-willed than female, more vicious, more humble and less shrewd. The suggestions of these discriminated features are more or less noticeable universally, but they are particularly observable where personality is more advanced, and most of all in man.
He further quoted in History of Animals about women as, Women is more sympathetic than man, more simply stimulated to tears, at the same time is extra jealous, further complaining, more apt to scold and to strike. She is more, extra predisposed to hopelessness and less hopeful than the man, more negated of shame or self-respect, more untrue dialogue, more misleading, more absorbent memory. She is also more restless more attenuation, more problematic to revive to accomplishment, and needs a lesser amount of nutriment.
The Dissimilarities among Women and Men:
Aristotle thought that nature intended not only physical dissimilarities between male and female but mental dissimilarities as well. In contrast to man, he contended, woman is “more mischievous, less simple, more impulsive … more compassionate … more easily moved to tears … more jealous, more querulous, more apt to scold and to strike … more prone to despondency and less hopeful … more void of shame or self-respect, more false of speech, more deceptive, of more retentive memory and… also more wakeful; more shrinking and more difficult to rouse to action”. His views on how a child’s sex is decided have since been abandoned.
He stated that the women who has white skin only and he did not mentioned about those women who have dark skin he said to have sexual relation with the former women only. He opined that by the eating of overpowering food would improve the discharge. Aristotle’s stated about the women’s discharge is like that of unproductive or cut off male. He determined that both of them contribute to the next generation to come. His thought about the reproduction was very agile. The link between the men and women yield to categorized charm and by mentioning about male rule upon the barbarians or non-Greeks. Aristotle stated about women as, “by nature the female has been distinguished from the slaves. For nature makes nothing in the manner that the coppersmiths make the Delphic knife-that is, frugally-but, rather, it makes each thing for one purpose… Among the barbarians the female and the slave have the same status. This is because there are no natural rulers among them but, rather, the association among them is between male and female slave”.
Aristotle stated about the Sparta the legislature sought to create the entire city but he did not mentioned about the women with overindulgence and treasure. He mentioned that in those times the situation of the women was very miserable and they did not have any sort of laws to govern the City or Country.
About the similar weight to Male and Female Ecstasy, Aristotle was very keen about the enjoyment of both men and women, he stated in his ‘Rhetoric’ that the community would not be glad if the women are not happy in the society, it shows the importance given to the women by Aristotle. Stauffer stated in his works, about the Aristotle’s opinion, and he observed that in nature a common good came only by the king who has the higher thinking, he specified about the common good for man being higher to women.
Aristotle commented about the children as, “And what could be more divine than this, or more desired by a man of sound mind, than to beget by a noble and honoured wife and children who shall be the most loyal supporters and discreet guardians of their parents in the old age, and the preservers of the whole house? Rightly reared by father and mother, children will grow up virtuous, and as those who have treated them piously and righteously deserve that they should”. He was of the opinion that all of us biological entities and our main objective being to reproduce, he defends the usual trust between man and women. He also mentioned that the persistence of the women is to give birth to the children. Aristotle gave the importance to the family as well, he said that, both man and women work collectively so that they can bring up their family and children. By such action of the man and women kind of the people and ultimately leads to kind of society and all of them lives in such community.
The important aspects of the Aristotle’s thought about the women, a mere dissimilarity between an egalitarian Plato and a hierarchical Aristotle is that, he assumes a natural historian method, the biological relationship between man and women, stated in his work polis. In his writing Aristotle mentions about the natural sexual division, it identifies him as, the forerunner of women’s oppression. Aristotle was more worried about the unitedness of the state or the country, he gave structure of the real possible just state and he did not provide any specific role to the women in polis, but he criticised about the Platonic Republic where he argued communism of wives and children. Aristotle suggested that the natural phenomena must be in the mind set when political measures being taken into consideration. It is due to the fact that, women have an exact part to act in the natural order of things and the actions of them must not be destroyed. The objective of the differentiation among the types of the authority, precisely among the household and polity. He trusts on two types of examination, the genetic and theological, the first one talks about the historical improvement of household from village to polis. The second relation in the household is, about the master and slave.
The household activities of the women needs goodness and submission to his husband and performing the regular domestic functions. In his Book III, he stated about the qualities of women to have along with man, hence, it indicates that he has given equality between the two genders.
With the debate on the slavery which talks about the Politics. These are the connotation views in the Greek society. He treated both women and slave in a similar manner. The association between man and wife is political and it nevertheless, this affiliation is dissimilar to the civic organization in which the liberty of man and wife cannot be uttered in practical interchange ability. About the household controlling, Aristotle upholds, the balancing of man and woman correctly deciders their equality as individuals.
Aristotle stated that the representation devoted by the Greek about the female principle, the division of labour precisely ligating women to the works of the household and do the works of men regarded as their superior duty. Aristotle has the opinion that the both husband and wife are like friends and it is evident that women must love more than her husband. But whereas in the works of the households there may be domination, and subordination between them which is depended upon the natural distinctions among them. Aristotle connected the female with the history of the Greek traditions he communicates more with them by stating that they have to perform duties of daily life. The position about the ethics is degenerating.
If he defines women solely in terms of the household, but he did not gave specific position of the women in the society, the position of the women is lower and the reason is defective. It does not mean that the marital position and matters of the women can persist uncontrolled. About the Spartan constitution he criticised severely because it involve women if the law is failed it cannot control their lives which consequences are in entanglement with authorisation and luxury and the entire culture would be corrupted. One of the concerned of Aristotle about the women’s health and its progeny, he mentioned the age to get married and if the young are married then they produce immature and adulterated progeny, he stated that the girls who have the experience of the sex intercourse early then he said that they are supposed to become more intemperate, hence, he advised that the marriage must be performed only after attainment of the maturity by the females which he indicated is a very good thing for them. He mentioned the perfect age to get marry is eighteen years. If the female gets pregnancy then she has to observe many things to keep her fit. It is very much necessary to have scheduled of physical exercise and mental lethargy, in case if she has so many pregnancies including the miscarriages, it is better to have acquaintance with the control of the population. He never mentioned about the submissive nature of women as treated by Plato, Aristotle stated that the works of the women must be under control and no one should eradicate such functions of the women in the society.
Aristotle did not debated about the role of the women in the state like that of Plato, but eventually he stated about women in most of his writings particularly in his Politics, he gave an clear image of the women in his writings saying that, women are mediocre living beings and they have to lead the life under the strict regulation of their fathers or if they are married then it has to take up by their husband. Aristotle mentioned that women do not have any act in the governance of running the state. Aristotle has discussed the community of wives and children which was stated in the Republic. He claims that if the family is weak then the bonds would not last and it results in the destruction of the family, and the dilute family bonds lead to the amplified lawlessness and disorder in the state.
Aristotle mentioned that, women and slaves are fewer capable to thoughtful than the man who is free. This incapability may be outcome of the circumstances which is prevails, or it might be because of some sort of natural insufficiency. He claims about the definite political and social organisations, it can be seen in the Athens, during the 4th century B.C, where women and slaves do not have sufficient liberty to regulate their activities and therefore, it is obvious that they would have very less quality. The discussions or debates are lacking of power, it is due to the fact that the ultimate decisions women unable to take hence, it has to be taken by her father or by her husband. Likewise the slaves do not have capacity to take decisions and they cannot discuss the matter because they lack the knowledge, so that they would act according to the guidelines provided by their masters in this regard.
On the other hand he claims that, if they have definite inborn features in them then the women or the slave are not totally in capable of discussions or considerations and the quality of their character and it does not depend upon the social and political circumstances they are living. Aristotle suggests the implementation of any such social and political organisations which enforces limitations on the liberty of the members of these assemblies.
Aristotle is in favour of slavery, he treats women and slave alike, he thought that it is very important for the faultless functioning of the family which can be performed only by the help of both man and women, Aristotle asserted that, slave and women is a living possession and property of his master. Though they have the power to understand, they have to follow his master, because, they have very less capabilities and must bow to those who have more abilities. It is acceptable to Aristotle slavery on three important factors such as, natural, usefulness and expediency. He does not accepted the views of radical, Sophists and said that, slavery is dissimilar to nature because, nature has created everyone as equal. He says that, all men does not skilful by nature with similar capabilities and nature awards different abilities to different persons and orders that superior must rule over the inferior person. He took slavery as a general rule and inferior must be ruled by superior person only. He said that, in the state those, who have more reason has to expertise and direct those who have little ability and those who commands are by nature masters and later as slaves. He asserts that, to lead a good life by the household, is not possible without slave.
We have observed how political thought developed inside a background of misogyny (means dislike of women or girl) and it assimilated fear, disbelief and aversion of women into its groundwork. The women’s inferiority and the role played by women in the activities of domestic works, Aristotle treated them as the fundamental part of his philosophy. He also given the legitimacy to his thoughts, the thought which came as complimentary from him. Even in the medieval periods it can be seen the ancient thoughts of Greek and so that, it can hold the Greek city-state and the culture, traditions which were observed during those times.
Aristotle overlooks the citizenship for women. The greatest political procedure is that the person who is most talented must rule the state with virtue and must be ruled are citizens. Women are ethically mediocre to men. Hence, women must not be citizens. Since men and women in Aristotle’s state have different pursuits and women do not take part in the activities of governing the state, there is no motive to give the sexes the similar education. Not astonishingly, when Aristotle turns his attention to education in the last book of the politics, he is worried about the education and he said that parents must deliver education to the sons.
Subsequently, Aristotle considers his state as a collection of individuals, the applicable, whether the state positions to advantage from completion of sexual discernment but whether its individual members stand to benefit. Many virtues require the arena of public life for their development, e.g., (male) courage is promoted on the battlefield. Women, nevertheless, have nothing to achieve from political participation, because the virtues are not suitable to their sex are not improved by such activities. Additionally, to live virtuously is to be cheerful, according to Aristotle, and since men have a greater capacity for virtue, they have a greater capacity for happiness.
In Politics, Aristotle mentioned that men are cut out by nature to rule and women are cut out by nature to be ruled. Husbands are heads of families, husbands and they govern the polis. He also said some people are natural masters and others are natural slaves. The natural masters should rule the natural slaves. Aristotle is incorrect about both of the women and the slaves, in reality it is accepted that both women and men are identical or equal and slavery is ethically immoral.