"Making decisions must be men's concern"

Women in the Gynaeceum (women's quarters), red-figure pyxis, ca.430 BC
Public DomainWomen in the Gynaeceum (women's quarters), red-figure pyxis, ca.430 BC - Credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons
Telemachus ordering his mother to her room and telling her to leave the decisions to the men might seem shocking to a modern audience. To the ancient Greeks, however, this would have been perfectly acceptable and proper. In ancient Greek society, women were not the equals of men, lived in separate sections of the house, and were supposed to concern themselves with female pursuits such as weaving at the loom. The reason Penelope is taken aback is not because she has been put in her place, but because her meek son is finally beginning to stand up for himself.