Aristophanes’ comic masterpiece of war and sex remains one of the greatest plays ever written. Led by the title character, the women of the warring city-states of Greece agree to withhold sexual favours with their husbands until they agree to cease fighting. The war of the sexes that ensues makes Lysistrata a comedy without peer in the history of theatre. via Good Reads
* withhold sexual privileges from their husbands as a means of forcing the men to negotiate a peace* The meaning behind their action is deeper than sex and humor. In a time when war is rampant, killing and losing love one becomes a daily fixture in the lives of these women. To end it all, they put away their differences, organized, and went on strike. Why? To protect their loved ones, communities, and future.
Three Interesting Things I Learned In Lysistrata (Relating Then and Now):
- There’s a racial and/or socio-economic divide (in the beginning) between the Women. The Athenians spoke with dignity and had an air about them while the Spartan women spoke in a “lower class” tone. Even though they all had one goal, which is to stop the war, in a way, they aren’t able to relate to one another because of their background. It reminds me of the intersectional feminist movement and the divide between WOC and White Feminist of today. Even though Aristophanes doesn’t expand on this issue, it’s an issue of that time and now.
- Men and Women are still at war, men enjoy the “good fight” and women are fighting to end the suffering of all. It might sound a little bias but reading Lysistrata and watching the news and protest, it seems as if nothings changed from the time this play was written. I mean, the world has “evolved” but the players are the same. One side is fighting and the other wants to end it and of course, the Battle of The Sexes is a never-ending battle.
- Sex, yes sex, is still a “tool” used in times of war. I hate saying that but its true, whether it’s used as a tool for evil or for good is another story *which would take up most of this post*
Three Reasons Why I’d Recommend This Book:
- I found it funny how the women *in the beginning* struggled with abstaining and how they would trick the men into thinking they were going to give up. The dynamics between the Sexes were hilarious, at one point it seemed like everyone forgot that there was a war and it became a War Between Men and Women,#WinnerTakesAll
- I enjoy Greek Mythology, this is a great book for individuals who enjoy Greek Mythological mixed with Historical Fiction.
- Lysistrata is a character you can root for, we all have a little bit of her in us. Reading this book, you’ll laugh because of course it’s a comedy but you also feel the desperation of a people tired of burying their loved ones, tired of leaving without clear goals or frightened by the fear of an unknown future. I believe many of us have felt that way, and that is what makes this book and the character’s in it so relatable.
*Though the ending seemed rushed because “it was too much of a happy ending” the book was/is readable and enjoyable. You come out of it with this euphoric feeling at the end.
What I enjoyed: Women banning together to end a never-ending war; people overcoming injustice and obstacles, putting aside their differences for the greater good.
I’d give this book a 9.5/10
Real Life Lysistrata: Did you know, the women of Liberia had their own sex strike protest in 2003, during the Second Liberian CivilWar? Check Out Liberian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Leymah Gbowee the “Lysistrata of Liberia’s” interview on Colbert report:” We decided to do a sex strike to kind of propel these silent men into action.” Colbert Report Interview
*I’d also recommend Aristophanes’ The Assembly of Women, the stories are similar but of course, Assembly focuses on Women inserting (via cross-dressing) themselves into powerful positions often reserved for men. * It’s all about Power, Equality, and of course, Sex*
Also, check out NPR’s take on Spike Lee’s latest, Chi-Raq *new adaptation of Lysistrata*