Aristotle, the most important Western philosopher of all time, was a powerful thinker. He wrote many foundational texts that shape philosophical and logical discourse to this day. He expounded on just about every topic, from math to physics to biology.
He also managed to be wrong about everything.
And not just mildly in error. Grievously, profoundly, perhaps even maliciously wrong to such a depth that he, more than any other single person, carries the blame for the West’s descent into the Dark Ages. Europe could not return from the depths of superstition and ignorance until it got past this man’s influence. The Enlightenment and its preceding Renaissance, in fact, represents the West finally throwing off of the iron shackles of Aristotelian thought after over a thousand years.
Aristotle was wrong about physics. He was wrong about chemistry. He was wrong about biology. This proto-Freud was wrong about psychology. He was wrong about basic human rights. He was grievously wrong about astronomy, much to Galileo’s future sorrow.
“But he came from a more primitive time!” Yes, but many ancient Greeks were as right about the world as Aristotle was wrong, from Pythagoras to Archimedes to Democritus to Eratosthenes. And yet, not one held even a hair’s breadth of the enormous and destructive influence Aristotle would have in the medieval world and its Church, a corrosion that still taints us today. Aristotle apologists note how the old bastard wrote much of the underpinings of Western civilization. Yes he did — and that is precisely the problem.
Aristotle was your drunk uncle who has to get his opinion in about literally everything while managing to be completely wrong each and every time. Now imagine your uncle also got to set all the household rules, and you have an idea of why the Dark Ages were so Dark, when the early Church adhered so closely to Aristotle’s worldview.
And nowhere was Aristotle more egregiously, more catastrophically, more malevolently wrong than with women.
Rabid misogyny is not a too uncommon thing with philosophers, as Nietzsche would later prove, but Aristotle brought it to a whole new level. Reading this piece of shit’s opinion on women is like reading the worst from the forums of an MRA site like A Voice For Men. But what makes Aristotle one of the most evil and destructive men in the history of humanity was the great influence he had on the medieval world, especially the Church.
It was Aristotle who laid down the formal rules for women becoming passive objects of dependence, first on their father and then on their husband. It was he who counseled the complete denial of legal rights to women, encoding their submission in all parts of society. He went so far as to literally advocate for women getting less food than their male counterparts, which sounds awfully similar to what modern misogynists say. Pity the pregnant or breastfeeding woman in an Aristotelian society!
He also codified many of the stereotypes we still hold of women today, and used them as excuses as to why women are literally inferior. From experiencing greater emotions (as if that is a bad thing) down to their being more deceptive and traitorous (which is the absolute opposite of what I’ve experienced in real life), women are described by Aristotle as being only slightly above slaves. Because castrated men become more feminine, Aristotle then asserted that women are therefore mutilated or damaged men. No surprise that he would lead his personal estate to his illegitimate son and not his daughter by his wife.
Oh, and did I also mention that he was a racist? Aristotle taught that only fair-skinned women are capable of orgasm. Welp, we already know he sucked at biology I guess?
Now women often were second-class citizens throughout the history of civilization. But nobody formalized it, codified it, set down the rules of misogyny as harshly and as definitively as this dead white male. And all because he represents many of the worst traits of masculinity, traits he equally formalized forever for the men who would come to idolize him — the arrogance, the desire to control, the quickness to assumption, the inability to recognize fault in himself, and the absolute conviction of his own righteousness even if he’s making shit up on the fly. (Women have fewer teeth than men? Seriously?)
So when some chauvinist bastards destroy a church rather than allow them to have a female minister, we have a pre-Christian pagan named Aristotle to thank more than anyone else. For he did more than relegate women to servants. He also served as a truly venomous example of masculinity, one that is followed to this day. And few have ever been as wrong about everything, although some may try.
Aaaand that concludes the misogyny trilogy. We return now to normal programming. Which still involves a lot of feminism, come to think of it. Sorry about that. Not.