The opposing lives of men and women

Children's Toys

Greek girls and boys shared toys such as these. They also shared similar schooling until the age of seven, but their life after this point went two very different, opposite ways. The Greeks imagined male time to be lineal and constantly evolving while female time was cyclical and discontinuous. Mythology expresses this fact well. Odysseus lives through one adventure after the next while in stark contrast, his wife Penelope weaves by day and unweaves by night in an endless cycle. Their lives correlate perfectly to the life of the Greek male, an active citizen in the polis and that of the Greek woman, excluded from political life and housebound in a repetitive cycle of tasks geared at ensuring the man´s progeny.

Greek women were perpetual minors who depended on their father or husband. Should they disobey the obligations imposed upon them by their gender, they were punished. In spite of it all, a few of them managed to become scientists, such as Hypatia, philosophers like Diotima, intelectuals like Aspatia or poets such as Sappho, all of whom were women who escaped from circular feminine time to determine their future and contribute to the culture of the period.