Gender Role and Women

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5.3 Discussion Questions
1. Why did Cato object to repealing the Oppian law? What was the basis of his objections?
Cato objected to repealing the oppian law because he thought that if women started to become equals with men, they would start to become their superiors. Cato referred to their ancestors and how they “permitted no woman to conduct even personal business without a guardian to intervene in her behalf,” meaning a woman can’t make her own decisions and how a man decides her fate basically. Cato believes that women are getting more rights and therefore will try to overpower men. As he asks in the article, “if [woman] win in this, what will they not attempt?” If woman start to get more rights, that will just be the beginning of woman trying to make their way up to the top of the chain. Cato was clearly bound to tradition and argued that the law stays intact and women remain under the control of men.

2. How did Valerius counter Cato’s assertions? What evidence did he use?
He referred to wives of allies of the Latin confederacy decked out in gold and purple riding through Rome with the roman women following on foot in anger and mourn because they do not wear what the Latin woman wear due to the refusal of those ornaments. Valerius thought that woman rejoiced and took delight in jewels, gold, and things that were purple. “Elegance of appearance, adornment, apparel – these are the woman’s badges of honor.” Valerius’s point also proves that women were to remain out of high ranking positions and their accomplishments did not compare to that of the war trodden men. This was because women were considered weak and frail by nature.

3. What do both men reveal about contemporary attitudes toward women and their place in the republic?
Cato seams to believe that the women are not equal to men that women are below men but not slaves. Women are only for bearing children and house hold needs. Valerius sees women as gental men. Women are people who are not...
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