Note : This article was written over a year back on a particularly hot friday afternoon. It was written after a class on Western Philosophy when I was feeling damn annoyed with Aristotle and his irritating views on women. Please take it with a pinch of salt :)
What all have you got to tell me about Aristotle? That he was a Greek philosopher, that he did great works in the field of biology, that he was an empiricist, that he worked on ethics? Well, I have got to tell you something as well. Something not so common. Something that may sound weird to you. But I have my own reasons for believing this notion.
Ok. I think that's enough of preface. Let me come straight to the point. Aristotle wasn't all that straight. Oh yes, what you thought right now is exactly what I am saying. Aristotle's orientation ( now don't ask me what orientation) was slightly different from normal.
Ah ! before you crease your brows let me substantiate my point. Let us look at some history first. I am cutting all that crap about where he was born and blah blah blah. I mean this is not his biography or anything. If that's the sort of information you want you can wiki it up. So coming straight to the point. Aristotle, while he was exploring Asia and parts of Europe is believed to have tavelled with Theophrastus to the famous island of Lesbos ( ring, ring, ring a bell ) so as to extend his research on zoology and botany. Lesbos is a Greek island located in the Aegean sea. The word 'lesbian' has its roots here. It is said to have been derived because of the poems of a poetess called Sappho, who was born there. The poems expressed powerful emotional and physical love towards the members of the same sex. She was before Aristotle's time. One can definitely believe that during his time at Lesbos, Aristotle would definitely have come across her poetry and may have been serious influenced by her then rebellious thoughts.
However he got married to Pythias who was Hermia's adoptive daughter and had a girl child in her. This merely points to the fact that he was not impotent. We cant conclude his real orientation from the fact that he got married. Gay men marry for social reasons even to this day.
Now, my argument is not based on just this. I have stronger and more psychological reasons for having such a doubt. So let's psychoanalyze Mr. Aristotle.
What were his views on women?
Aristotle the great, held that "women are defective by nature". He went to the exent of calling them "infertile men". Why so? For the simple reason that women cant produce the seed of life or semen ( he feels that the egg is not a good enough reason for women to be equal to men as it merely receives the seed of life). Now commonsense dictates that this "seed of life" isnt much of use without the "not so good egg" that Mr. Aristotle conveniently marks as second rate. If you ask me, I say that Aristo was just jealous he didnt have an egg of his own that he so desperately wanted. He classified women as second grade citizens who should be kept at home and who should not be involved in political or societal activities ( less competition for him!). He suggested that husbands should rule their wives and brought in the analogy of tame animals to describe the same. Women should be ruled just like one may rule his tame animals. Lets say a dog, or a cat. Or may be a cow or a donkey. Neverrtheless he tried to butter it off by saying that this rule must be political in the sense that they should be ruled like equals. If he truly believed so why would he bring in a comparison with tame animals? How can one equate the value of the life of half the population to that of animals!! And you say men arent jealous! what is this but jealously! jealousy for all that is feminine and beautiful. Jealously for the womb that brings forth life. Jealousy for the charm and grace that draw men. To put it bluntly, Aristotle couldnt tolerate women because he felt threatened by them.
However he did give equal importance to male and female happiness. He claimed that no state could be considered happy if women arent happy. Here I feel, that it is his guilt that is talking. This definitely is not a sincere conviction. How can you at the same time seal off all opportunities for women, chain them to their homes, compare them to tame animals, give someone the right to dominate them and then expect them to be happy!
The great philosopher and logician that he was, Aristotle was merely manupulating the situation to suit his whims, fancies and secret longings. No 'normal' man who has a mother of his own could come up with more twisted ideas about womanhood unless he had some serious issues with it. I dont know if Aristotle was a happy person, but he sure as hell was gay!! ;)