Even though this would probably have fit better with Wackwitz's reading last week which talked about the penalty for women even trying to sneak into the Olympics back in Ancient Greece, but I feel like it's still an interesting addition. The inequality of how women are treated during these major sporting events range from how they are represented in the media to draw crowds to being paraded in front of the judges nude, so as to scrutinize their genitals (30 or so years ago). But there was man way back in Ancient Greece who believed that women should be given a more of an equal opportunity. In Plato's Republic (Book V), he briefly mentions the inequities of women and discusses the female guardian's "physical training." While "physical training" is not a sport, I feel like the same idea is behind it. Plato spoke of guardians, who (to put it very crudely) were people who had the most virtuous souls: intelligent, strong, and above all humble. He believed that they should be the protectors of everyone else. What was controversial about this was that he included women alongside men as protectors. "Physical training" was necessary for women engage in combat, but women working out was unheard of. He said that "the guardian women must strip for physical training," making them equal with men, who also had to strip to work out. "They must share in war and the other guardians' duties in the city and do nothing else," is another example of equity, although followed by, "but the lighter parts must be assigned to them because of the weakness of their sex." But still, this was circa 380 BC, way ahead of its time. To go back to him talking about women exercising naked, he addresses the men who would ogle or poke fun "the man who laughs at naked women doing physical training for the sake of what is best...doesn't know what he's laughing at." Basically, according to Plato, if you can't handle athletic women, you're a fool. So with that very brief discussion of Plato's theory of guardian women's "physical training," what do you think of that compared to athletics today? All this discussion of women athletes reminded me of this passage. I thought maybe bringing it up might add something to the conversation.
Plato's Thoughts (Diablog 6, follow-up entry)
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