Analysis Of The Second Sex By Simone De Beauvoir

1753 Words8 Pages
Simone De Beauvoir authored The Second Sex which regards the treatment of women throughout history. Introducing the popular work, she framed the theoretical question of “what is a woman?” (de Beauvoir, 34). Writing, first, a consideration upon a biological definition, she ends up rejecting the societal norm, for her own existentialist notion. This can be both compared and contrasted to the views of radical feminists, including Monique Wittig. The differences between such views directly affect the formulation of gender inequality and strategies correlated to feminism. A woman is an adult human female, so defined by the American Century Dictionary. There it is termed as a fact, nothing more. Simone de Beauvoir takes the literal meaning of a…show more content…
As a radical feminist, one would think that women’s oppression is the most fundamental form. One of the main attributes for a radical feminist would be focusing on the politics of feminism. They are advocates of political strategies, which focused widely on sex work and women’s bodies. Susan Archer Mann discusses the radical approach to prostitution in chapter three, explaining that Josephine Butler was dedicated in showing how certain laws and legislations were oppressing certain women. “In “Letter to My Countrywomen” Butler calls these hospitals “prisons” because a woman could be “kept against her will for any length of time, not exceeding nine months” (Mann, 79). Butler was fighting against the political agenda for a better future for those in the sex working trade. The strong focus of radical feminism differs from an Existentialist such as de Beauvoir. One who was a part of this branch would focus their efforts in a philosophical way, instead of political. Iris Marion Young discusses her views on the female body and the physical well-being of women in her essay “Throwing like a Girl”. Her paper differs from Radical feminism as it does not follow a political…show more content…
This correlates with the idea that without a proper definition of what a woman is, a cohesive group is not likely. She says that “women do not say “we” except at some congress of feminists or similar formal demonstration; men say “women”, and women use the same word in referring to themselves” (de Beauvoir, 36). If a woman does not feel as if she is in a collective unit of other women, because the definition does not pertain to her, she may not accept the idea of what a woman is. Thereby creating a separation between many females and the way they label themselves. According to Susan Archer Mann. “Any attempt to define either women or feminism is to prescribe or establish a definition that inevitably leaves out or excludes “differences” between women.” (Mann, 5). She feels that if there is only one definition it could cause some women to feel as if they cannot correlate themselves as feminists because they do not fit within the description. If some females are opposed to the idea of being a woman, or a feminist, the foundation of inequality is difficult to

More about Analysis Of The Second Sex By Simone De Beauvoir

Open Document