To what extent is it appropriate to describe 5th century Athenian men as sexist?

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To what extent is it appropriate to describe 5th century Athenian men as sexist?

It can be argued that Athenian men were very sexist in their views and opinions on women and how they should lead their daily life, but some may say that this was only a way to protect women from the harmful society that was Ancient Athens, and that they were valued in the roles they did play as part of Greek society.

Women had much more household-based jobs and responsibilities in the 5th century, whereas men went out to the city, attended meetings and worked to provide money for the oikos. The jobs women did were much more laborious and did not require a lot of mental skills, whilst men did the jobs that involved providing a point of view and knowledge. Why were men allowed to contribute to society and give their opinions when women were stuck at home cooking and cleaning, not having a say in how society was governed? Only men could be Athenian citizens and would spend little amount of time in the day-to-day managing of affairs of the household.

In addition, the men often dined out with friends and left their wives and children at home to do the household jobs and chores. They also had symposia, which were dinner parties reserved only for men where the only women there would have been concubines or prostitutes only there for the men’s entertainment and pleasure.

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If women were seen out on the street as men were, they were seen as prostitutes or concubines, simply because they were not forced to stay in the house at all times. This can be seen as a very sexist ‘idealisation’ for men to enforce on women; just because they were the opposite sex, why did they not get the same rights to live as good and full a life as men?

It was men that set up the idea that women should not be seen or heard, as the C5 Athenian statesman Perikles states the ideal – “Your (i.e. ...

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