Friday, July 20, 2018

Gender Studies: Aristophanes’ Ecclesiazusae

I spent half a day reading the Assemblywomen by the Ancient Greek pornographer Aristophanes. The play is so obscene that I wonder how the respectable Athenian public did not walked out. May be the exit was many steps afar. One cannot find similar gutter-level jokes in Athenian literature, nor such attack on womankind and sharing (communism). The revolutionary women dress up as men and take over the Assembly (the Government) and declare sexual and economic equality. Old hags have the right to enjoy sex with young men (today, the debate is about the rights of rejected young male virgins to have sexual relations, because they tend to take revenge by killing their proud classmates) and there is a funny fight between an old hag and a pretty girl to get a boy to bed. It is light somewhat obscene satire, of course, but to me reveals the public's rejection of the existing social structure (Athens was then distressed and impoverished by wars)  and a readiness to consider revolutionary changes. One actor even says "We have tried everything, nothing works, let's try this." Yet this play could not be put on scene in the PC puritan environment of today.

It reminds me when I was protesting the ERP (or was it the Montoneros?) policy of blowing up bridges and burning buses used by the working folk of Buenos Aires, turning their life more difficult. "Mao said that the more unbearable the people's life becomes, the more readily they will join the revolution." I was and am too soft for a revolutionary policy. 

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