In reference to Antigone, have the female and male spheres evolved over time?Are they still separate? Do they intersect? Or are they one and the same? Explain and provide a specific real-world...

In reference to Antigone, have the female and male spheres evolved over time?

Are they still separate? Do they intersect? Or are they one and the same? Explain and provide a specific real-world example.

Asked on by x3jo89x

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I would certainly argue that at least in most Western cultures the female and male spheres have evolved and that they do intersect.  In Antigone, part of Creon's problem with Antigone's action (trying to bury her brother's corpse and, thus, defying Creon's order) is that a girl would dare defy him.  Because of his pride, which Teiresias the blind prophet notes, Creon would have been angry with anyone who went against his newly-gained authority, but because his own niece defied him publicly, turns his son against him, and plays on the sympathy of several of his advisers, Creon cannot find it in himself to change Antigone's sentence.  Moreover, if Antigone were a man, she would have been in line for the throne before Creon; so her gender determines her precarious position in Thebes from the play's beginning.

In today's world and in the recent past, we do see more female leaders of major nations and organizations (Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of Britain; Angela Merkel, current chancellor of Germany, etc.); so Antigone would have enjoyed a more equal status in our society and most likely would have inherited the throne after her father and brothers' deaths.

However, even though female and male spheres have evolved and intersect, I don't believe that they are the same. In America, we see a vast difference in the way female candidates are treated versus their male counterparts.  They are critiqued for their appearance, their clothing, or even their role as mothers.  Male candidates are normally critiqued for germane attributes such as their voting records or past achievements.

In pop culture, there remains another type of dichotomy.  Males are often portrayed as simpletons (especially in sit-coms, comedic movies, and commercials), and females seem to be wise problem solvers.  Perhaps this is an extreme reaction to the past oppression of women, but we certainly have not completely merged the gender spheres.

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