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A Sex Strike to End Chicago's Violence?

A Chicago woman channels Lysistrata.
2 min

Aristophanes, the Ancient Greek playwright, created the play Lysistrata around 400 B.C. Set against the backdrop of the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens, it is the story of a woman who sets out to end the violence by starting a sex strike.

According to the news this week, a woman is now setting out to end the violence in the South Side of Chicago using the same tactic, which was inspired by Spike Lee’s modern take on the same play.

 

While it’s not quite at the level of ending a war between two city-states, she’s hoping that there will be no more sex until the men in the community put down their guns. The desire to stop the violence in Chicago is quite legitimate as shootings are up substantially year-over-year: 

But will the sex strike happen and will it work? Lysistrata gives us a hint of how hard it is to get people to willingly quit sex for a cause:

"LYSISTRATA:

O women, if we would compel the men
To bow to Peace, we must refrain--

MYRRHINE:

From what?
O tell us!

LYSISTRATA:

Will you truly do it then?

MYRRHINE:

We will, we will, if we must die for it.

LYSISTRATA:

We must refrain from every depth of love....
Why do you turn your backs? Where are you going?
Why do you bite your lips and shake your heads?
Why are your faces blanched? Why do you weep?
Will you or won't you, or what do you mean?

MYRRHINE:

No, I won't do it. Let the war proceed.

CALONICE:

No, I won't do it. Let the war proceed.

LYSISTRATA:

You too, dear turbot, you that said just now
You didn't mind being split right up in the least?

CALONICE:

Anything else? O bid me walk in fire
But do not rob us of that darling joy.
What else is like it, dearest Lysistrata?

LYSISTRATA:

And you?

MYRRHINE:

O please give me the fire instead."

We shall see, we shall see.

Devin Foley

Devin Foley

Devin is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Charlemagne Institute, which operates Intellectual Takeout, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and the Alcuin Internship. He is a graduate of Hillsdale College where he studied history and political science. Prior to co-founding Charlemagne Institute, he served as the Director of Development at the Center of the American Experiment, a state-based think tank in Minnesota.

Devin is a contributor to local and national newspapers, a frequent guest on a variety of talk shows, such as Minneapolis' KTLK and NPR's Talk of the Nation, and regularly shares culture and education insights presenting to civic groups, schools, and other organizations. In 2011, he was named a Young Leader by the American Swiss Foundation.

Devin and his wife have been married for eighteen years and have six children. When he's not working, Devin enjoys time with family while also relaxing through reading, horticulture, home projects, and skiing and snowboarding.

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