Longman Dictionary of American English defines “Feminism” as “the belief that women should have same rights and opportunities as a man.” According to my own understanding feminist is a person who respects human beings and considers everyone as same in their intellectual abilities rather than their physical power. These are few ideas about feminism and before declaring Plato as a feminist or as an anti-feminist; I would like to share the view points of both types of these people to make this controversial issue easier to understand. As feminist says that “a feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and humanity of women and men” (Steinam). If we see the concept of anti-feminist; according to them “feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians” (Robertson). Now if we compare these both ideas with Plato, it is very difficult to say that Plato was a feminist or an anti-feminist, because we cannot find any argument from Plato where he believe that men and women are equal. But we also did not find any argument behave of Plato where he openly rejected women’s rights. However most of people consider Plato as feminist because he discuss about Diotima in Symposium. Let me ask few questions from them and aftermaths we will decide that on the bases of this evidence can we say that Plato was feminist.
Did Diotima participate in the Agathon’s party?
Did Diotima deliver speech by her own?
Did people appreciate Diotima at the end of Socrates’ speech?
The answer of these questions is NO; in additions to this we should also keep in our mind the Plato’s theory of forms. According to this theory in universal everyone have an ideal existence and it is difficult to get that position. In Symposium Diotima was also an ideal personality she was not an ordinary woman of Athenian society. From here it is clear that on the base of this evidence we cannot say that Plato was feminist. Consequently I came with this conclusion that Plato was neither a feminist nor an anti-feminist but he was a good, responsible and intellectual person of not only his time but of all times.
“Feminism.” Longman Dictionary of American English. 2008.
Robertson. Pat. 8, Feb 2013 <http//www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/feminism.html>
Steinem. Gloria. 8, Feb 2013 <http//www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/feminism>