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Roles of Women: Antigone
Though society has innumerable problems, misogyny has always been a leading issue, but during Sophocles’ time, it was an even larger concern. Misogyny is the abhorrence, disfavor, and distrust of women. In Antigone, by Sophocles, misogyny is expressed by Kreon, and he becomes the embodiment of a misogynist; his views confirm that he does not appreciate women, and the way he speaks about women is disrespectful. In Antigone, the roles and perceptions of women in society are often negative, and the world isn’t guaranteed a solution for misogyny. In Kreon’s point of view, not only are women viewed negatively but they are viewed as weak beings, whereas men are viewed as powerful. During Sophocles’ time, misogyny was prevalent, and even in modern society, misogyny is still a large problem, as women are harassed and ridiculed daily.
Disliking women is typical in modern society, as it is the root of how governments are formed. For example, misogyny formed when monotheistic religions gained traction, specifically Christianity. Legati Christi summarizes that misogyny originated at the same time as patriarchy which was three to five thousand years ago. Monotheism, which is the belief in one god, which is male, causes people to think that women are inferior to men, as women are never gods. Therefore, this ideology is the main reason why sexism is a problem. Throughout history, misogyny has remained a prevalent issue, but as time goes on, misogyny is decreasing as society evolves, but misogyny and inequality will never fully be fixed. An example is the prominent wage gap between women and men. Census.gov states that for every dollar men make, women make eighty-two cents. The gap increases as their profession changes; women in the education system earn 55,585 dollars, whereas men with the same education can earn up to 96,199 dollars. This issue has yet to be resolved, and there is no way to solve it except by gradually bringing light to this subject. However, this is a controversial subject due to those with the close-minded perspective of thinking that men are smarter and better. This is false as it solely depends on the person. For example, a common point misogynists are often heard highlighting is that women are more emotional than men. This is false because it depends on the person, how they are raised, and whether or not they are sensitive. Antigone’s society is similar to today’s because women are still undermined, and their roles haven’t changed. Kreon states, “Die then, and love the dead if thou must; No woman shall be the master while I live (Sophocles 184).” Society’s rules for women were to stay home, cook, and take care of kids, and they were looked down on if they worked. The men’s roles were to provide money for the family. A comparison of men and women is that males are represented by the sun- bold, and aggressive, whereas females are like flowers- delicate, polite, and nurturing. Gender should not define someone, or how emotional they are because there is no correlation between the two.
Women are never viewed as equal to men as if they are inferior. Misogyny has led to harassment and violence against women, and it is inhumane to do this because of one’s gender. Sophocles’ Antigone establishes that there were minor changes in society, but no major modifications. Women’s roles cause Kreon to think that a woman could not have buried Polyneices. Anyone can commit crimes, but the fact that Kreon thought that a woman could not have done it is closed-minded. Assuming that a woman couldn’t have committed a crime is supposing that women are weak, which is how they are stereotyped. Kreon thinks that women are to be reigned over by men and only exist to please men, explaining why he has such a bigoted and prejudiced ideology. In Antigone, the audience will find the theme of misogyny occurring numerous times. The antagonist, Kreon, treats women like they are disposable objects. For example, Kreon states:
Kreon: Send that girl off like any other enemy (Sophocles 793-794).
Virtually, the context around it was that Haimon was trying to persuade Kreon, his father- to save Antigone because Haimon loves her. However, Kreon essentially says that women are replaceable and that women won’t be worth anything because they are “fake beings.” Another example is
Kreon: Forget her. She no longer exists. (Sophocles 700).
Again, he is referring to his niece as “she.” He never refers to Antigone as part of his family, and it’s almost as if women are there only to be controlled and owned by men. Kreon also states, “Die then, and love the dead if thou must; No woman shall be the master while I live.” This justifies and confirms Kreon’s bigoted mindset, in which he believes that women should be subservient to men. Sophocles is one of the greatest writers to ever openly uncover problems of humanity, namely misogyny and sexism.
As society has evolved, people’s views have not changed, including misogyny. In Antigone, Sophocles depicts, summarizes, and exaggerates the unjust ideology of numerous, and advocates for change. This play uncovered the unknown, as, during his times, the majority of people had the stereotypical “women are weak and inferior” philosophy. Despite the shift in women's roles, it has mainly been in fashion and the workforce, excluding the wage gap. Sexism cannot be fixed but can be prevented by pushing misogynists into the minority, which is essentially reducing the majority of them. To reduce misogyny, society can start by teaching and acknowledging this issue. For example, teaching younger children at school can reduce the number of misogynists in the future, therefore, restoring faith in humanity. Society has yet to work on the main ideology of women and men being equal, but the efforts made are astonishing.
Gilmore, David W. Christianity Criticisms: The Bible Is Sexist | Legati Christi. 16 Feb.
2020, www.legatichristi.org/christianity-criticisms-the-bible-is-sexist/. Accessed 29 Apr. 2022.
“Misogyny - Wikipedia.” En.wikidark.org, en.wikidark.org/wiki/Misogyny#:~:text=Background%20Misogyny%20likely%20arose%20at%20the%20same%20time. Accessed 29 Apr. 2022.
Bureau, US Census. “Women Consistently Earn Less than Men.” Census.gov, 27 Jan. 2022, www.census.gov/library/stories/2022/01/gender-pay-gap-widens-as-women-age.html.