Okay. I posted the above quote on the fly. It's rather a mediocre translation. I wish I had translated it myself, but I didn't have time.
Nevertheless, I want to explain the quote in a little more detail, because -- in addition to beauty in its poetic allusions (especially Aeschylus) and wonderful Second Sophistic rhetorical features -- it contains much that is pertinent to our discussion of the Patristic understanding of women.
This is a device of enervated men, who are dragged to the women's apartments, amphibious and lecherous beasts.
Such a man is "amphibious" because he is cold-blooded, i.e. like a woman. Ancient Greek/Hellenistic science believed that men were warm-blooded and women were more cold-blooded, and that this was one of the fundamental biological deficiencies of women. Since they did not have enough warmth in their body, they did not develop into a superior biological specimen.
Aristotle summarizes this nicely in On the Generation of Animals
(especially 716a5-23, 727a2-30, 727b31-33, 728b l8-31, 765b8-20, et al., available here: http://www.stoa.org/diotima/anthology/wlgr/wlgr-medicine339.shtml
Further, a boy actually resembles a woman in physique, and a woman is as it were an infertile male; the female, in fact, is female on account of inability of a sort, viz. it lacks the power to concoct semen out of the final state of the nourishment (this is either blood, or its counterpart in bloodless animals) because of the coldness of its nature.
Typical Aristotle! That is an extremely, extremely concise explanation of the biological difference between men and women according to ancient science. Women are, in fact, deficient men (an "infertile male"), lacking in the full biological traits needed to be a strong red-blooded dude. Thus, we have a biological hierarchy: 1) Women are the lowest; 2) young boys, since they are still kinda girly, are next; 3) and then comes men. Just keep this in mind, because, believe it or not, this understanding -- which would have been as widely believed and obvious then as it is now to say that the world has lots of bacteria -- plays an important role in understanding sexual dimorphisms such as hair (a point we shouldn't forget when reading St. Paul's words about long hair on women, as we shall see).
For this is a meretricious and impious form of snare. For God wished women to be smooth, and rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane;
How does this talk of long hair on women's heads have anything to do with effeminate, amphibious, cold-blooded guuuuuuuuurly men? Because long hair on the head is also a sign of lack of heat! Again, Aristotle:
So that if you reckon up (a) that the brain itself has very little heat, (b) that the skin surrounding it must of necessity have even less, and (c) that the hair, being the furthest off of the three, must have even less still, you will expect persons who are plentiful in semen to go bald at about this time of life. And it is owing to the same cause that it is on the front part of the head only that human beings go bald, and that they are the only animals which do so at all; i.e. they go bald in front because the brain is there, and they alone do so, because they have by far the largest brain of all and the most fluid. Women do not go bald because their nature is similar to that of children: both are incapable of producing seminal secretion. Eunuchs, too, do not go bald, because of their transition into the female state, and the hair that comes at a later stage they fail to grow at all, or if they already have it, they lose it, except for the pubic hair: similarly women do not have the later hair, though they do grow the pubic hair. This deformity constitutes a change from the male state to the female.
According to this scientific rationale (repeated by Galen and the other medical writers), long hair (and head coverings) are the quintessential signs of femininity. Only a real manly-man has an exposed head! (And what kind of woman would want to look like a massively fecund dude?) It would be UNNATURAL biologically speaking for a woman not to have long hair.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Women's long hair is the natural consequence of their lack of heat and deformed brain (which doesn't have any generative fluid in it!). To put it bluntly: According to the science of the Hellenistic/Late Antique world, a woman with short hair is a woman with semen -- and that just ain't right! (How might this shed light on St. Paul's talk of hair and head coverings?) Keep in mind that for the ancients the male state was the natural one and the female was the deficient one...that's why Aristotle talks about "a change from the male state to the female".
but has adorned man, like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him, as an attribute of manhood, with shaggy breasts,--a sign this of strength and rule. So also cocks, which fight in defence of the hens, he has decked with combs, as it were helmets...This, then, the mark of the man, the beard, by which he is seen to be a man, is older than Eve, and is the token of the superior nature.
Imagine yourself as a Christian at the time of the early Church. Sure, we're all one in Christ, created in God's image, but it's a biological fact
that women are inferior. They have less heat, which means they have smaller brains, which means they have less initiative, courage and ability to lead. Duh. That's the way they were made!
In this God deemed it right that he should excel, and dispersed hair over man's whole body. Whatever smoothness and softness was in him He abstracted from his side when He formed the woman Eve, physically receptive, his partner in parentage, his help in household management, while he (for he had parted with all smoothness) remained a man, and shows himself man. And to him has been assigned action, as to her suffering; for what is shaggy is drier and warmer than what is smooth.
Right out of what everyone knew to be medically true. Again, hair is very important to both St. Paul, St. Clement, St. John Chrysostom and other Fathers who speak about women because everyone knew hair (and body hair) was an important marker of sexual dimorphism and female inferiority. Clement devotes no small degree of attention to it, as does Philo of Alexandria and St. John Chrysostom.
Wherefore males have both more hair and more heat than females, animals that are entire than the emasculated, perfect than imperfect.
This is a bad translation. I'll have to look it up in the original. The point here is that male animals (and humans) are "entire" and NOT emasculated (a female = an emasculated male); males are "perfect" and not "imperfect" like females, who lack generative organs, abilities, bodily heat and properly dispersed hair, as we have seen.
It is therefore impious to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness.
*stroking my beard*