My blog post yesterday was mainly an excuse to share a funny picture. If I didn't have an image limit, I'd post a lot more funny pictures up here. Athena left a long comment about historical views on sexual orientation, and I thought I'd talk more about that today.
In our culture, we think that sexuality is something people are born with. You're either born straight or gay (or both), and that's it. You can't change your sexual orientation, any more than you can change your hair color or eye color. Sure, you can dye your hair and wear contacts, but those methods don't really change who you are, in the same way that pretending to be gay or straight doesn't change your orientation.
The ancient Greeks had a different view on sexual orientation, which might seem strange at first. They saw that children naturally separate themselves into gender groups. Boys play with boys, and girls play with girls, and the two groups usually avoid each other. When I taught fourth grade, this was certainly true; all the boys sat together in one group, and all the girls sat together in another.
Everything changes when children get older. Boys become obsessed with girls, and girls become obsessed with boys. With my class, this happened around sixth or seventh grade.
The Greeks concluded that everyone is born gay, and when they get older, they go through puberty and become straight. Since people believed this, they encouraged their children to be gay, and they encouraged them to stop being gay once they grew up. Gay adults weren't looked down upon, exactly, but some people thought they were weird for being grown adults who acted like litte kids, instead of growing out of their gayness like everyone else.
In some ways, the ancient ideas about sexuality are completely different from the modern ideas. Your thoughts?