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Aquinas and Aristotle on Women, Essay Example

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Essay

Aristotle, in Summa Theologiae, Ia. Q. 92. A. 1. Obj. 1 poses the question of whether or not women should have been created in the “first” creation.  This would have been before the fall of Adam which resulted in sin entering the once perfect world. Aristotle does not believe women should have been created during this stage.

Aquinas believes a woman should have been part of the “first” creation because, according to Aquinas, she was necessary for the perpetuation of the human species.  Aristotle called a woman a “misbegotten male” because of her anatomy.  Aquinas believes that a woman is perfect for her function of perpetuating the species, but women are inferior to men in all other ways, and must obey them.

The medieval attitude toward women discussed above was dominant in that era.  Although, looking at these comments from the eyes of a 21st century person, both views are offensive and distasteful. Women have had to fight for their rights just to be considered equal to men in terms of human rights.  Aquinas, however, was more respectful to women in his comment than Aristotle.

Both men display seemingly different attitudes towards women, but the attitude is basically the same.  Both believe that women are to be submissive to men because men were created first, and the first created human subjected everything to his control.  The sole role for women in this conversation between Aristotle and Aquinas is to produce offspring.  Both men consider women as inferior to men.

Reading the two comments makes one realize how far society, particularly Western society, has come since medieval times.  Some women would argue that society hasn’t come far enough, especially in third world countries where women are treated as if they were living in the medieval era.

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