Defending women’s rights by fighting inequality
Through time, women have been considered an inferior sex by men. Women have had little opportunity to stand up against overwhelming sexist repression. This inequality has been based solely on the biological differences between men and women. Without question, men and women have different psychological and sexual natures. Essentially, men are, and have always been, considered the dominant or superior sex. Should this mean that women are of less significance in our society? Gender inequality can often be measured in the distribution of a society’s wealth, power and privilege. Although women have gained more respect and have established a new sense of power, they are still in many spheres valued less than men. In the story of Sophocles’ Antigone, a classic Greek play, Antigone’s character is based on the inequalities women have always faced within society. Antigone is a very strong woman who fought for her family and civil rights. Rosa Parks is the modern day version of Antigone, a very strong woman who made great strides for civil rights in our society. Both Antigone and Rosa Parks show strenght in fighting for gender rights and equality.
In the play, Antigone clearly represents gender inequalities, where women are expected to follow certain roles. The play was set in ancient Greece, roughly 406 b.c. during the time period, women did not enjoy many rights in society. Their responsibilities were limited to the home and taking care of the children. Women had strict limitations regarding education, which meant they had little to no chance to advance in society. In the play, there are several interactions between Antigone and her sister that demonstrate their characteristics and differences, and how their choices affect their lives. Antigone’s sister Ismine represents the acceptance of how a woman is expected to behave in society, that is, to please men and follow their command. Ismene portrays a more feminine and soft personality than Antigone who is strong and stubborn. This can be recognized when Ismine says; “You ought to realize we are only women, not meant by nature to fight against men” (70-71). Ismene is trying to stop Antigone from her fight, believing women are subservient to a stronger power. Antigone’s response to her sister; “Be as you choose to be; but for myself I myself will bury him. I will be good to die” (81-82), indicates that she is not willing to accept her little position as a woman and instead she fights against such societal law which proves almost impossible. They were women with no authority. Therefore there was no chance anyone would listen to Antigone’s ideas and beliefs. This shows how challenging it was for all women to stand up against injustice to women and fight for civil rights.
The battle between Antigone and Creon clarifies how difficult it is to gain respect and power as a woman. Women at this time didn’t have much power due to many restrictions placed on them. This...