User:Jahsonic/AHE/Greco-Roman/Proto-feminism and the first sex strike
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The coarse humour I just described is amply surpassed by the Athenian playwright Aristophanes (446-386 BC) in his play Lysistrata, which has a witty, smart and significant sexual plot. Lysistrata concerns a company of Athenian ladies who use a sex strike to force their men to lay down their arms. Under the leadership of the militant Lysistrata - a name which means "she who disbands armies" - these women occupy the treasury of the Acropolis to financially drain the war. They do not yield until peace finally exists among the Greek city-states.
"Let us wait at home with our faces made up and then advance to greet our husbands with nothing on but our little tunics. . . then, when they are panting with desire, if we slip away instead of yielding, they'll soon conclude an armistice, I can tell you ... So no more legs in the air."
But, retorts a woman "if our husbands drag us by main force into the bedchamber?" Then you should "hold on to the door posts" answers Lysistrata. And when another woman asks "and if they beat us?" In that case, advises Lysistrata "yield to their wishes, but with a bad grace; there is no pleasure for them, when they do it by force." "Because," Lysistrata concludes "there's no satisfaction for a man, unless the woman shares it." Which is a surprisingly modern advice, remembering that the play was written about 2,500 years ago.1