In this excerpt from Plato’s Republic, Socrates describes to Glaucon a new utopia. He began by addressing men and women as equals. That, despite the fact that they have “different natures” each of the sexes should be allowed to receive an education and take on a guardian role. He even said, “our guardians and their wives ought to have the same pursuits.” He goes on to discuss that the sexes are equal in the fact that different individuals have different strengths and weaknesses. I thoroughly enjoyed the part where Socrates mentions that woman should be allowed to join the war, and if a man were to laugh at her, he would be, “plucking ‘A fruit of unripe wisdom.’” Meaning that the man would be ignorant to the fact that women are just as capable.
However a part that I did not agree with Socrates on was the argument that those of the “same nature” should always be paired together and that in order to keep the breed of the guardians pure, the offspring of the “inferiors” will be “put away in some mysterious, unknown place, as they should be.” I think that this notion is extremely unjust and straight up awful. Who gets to determine which members of the society are deemed inferior? In the beginning of this excerpt, Socrates had validity in his ideas of equality of the sexes, and in debunking the myth that women are inferior to men. However, towards the end of what he describes as an utopia, there is much control over the citizens and how they live their lives. From the people they marry, to the age they can bear children, to what offspring are allowed to survive.