Since the 19th century, the women's movement has made fantastic strides toward obtaining civil rights for women in America. Woman suffrage has been abolished, and they are no longer viewed as second-class citizens. Unfortunately, the issue of gender inequality still echoes in today's society. The fight to change a society shaped predominately by men continues, and will likely pursue for decades to come. Whether it be social, political, or economic rights, the main idea is equality for all genders, man or woman. In modern society, it seems that such a simple concept should be accepted globally by everyone – so why do women still face the daily toils of demanding the privileges that should available to all? No matter the class of woman, it is likely they will suffer from inequality and stereotypes at some point in their life. We see this in the workplace, where women have been shown to earn less then men. Some women also face the dangers of sexual violence, and are left victimized for such crimes.
The characteristics and behaviors associated with men and women are called gender roles. Gender can also be interpreted as the social, psychological, and cultural interpretation of biological sex. Gender as a social construct has been a term throughout history that explains the social distinction between men and women and is reinforced in social interactions. The crisis of the global economy brings about gender dimensions and different meanings for men and women in society. Men and women have been hierarchy organized and valued. Throughout the 19th century, women’s contributions to society were regarded as less significant than those of men. Stereotypes were put on genders, which included assertive, strong, and competitive for masculinity and submissive, weak, and emotional for femininity. Gender inequality arose as economic crisis took place throughout the 19th century. The changing conditions of work in the global state impacted the roles for men and women and many feminists started to challenge the idea that “biology is destiny”. With post-Fordism, a new gender order emerged, and Women occupied a broader place in the work force. However, sexism is still prevalent in society to some extent whether it’s unconscious or conscious and affects the lives of many women.
Gender roles are a staple construct of human civilization, designating the behaviors and lifestyles that society expects out of its participants, with gender as the defining characteristic. Historically, females have been at the forefront of the conversation, with feminism regarded as the principal solution to the well-established issue of gender inequality. However, this is foolish. To truly mend the gender inequalities forged by thousands of years of human interaction, both genders have to be acknowledged. Both males and females are equally constrained by gender roles, however the effects of this constraint are in differing fields. There are studies showing that females are at a disadvantage economically, in the workplace, while other studies
As well-known feminist theorists, both Catherine Mackinnon and Simone Beauvoir dissect the nature of gender-based oppression as well as how it plays into women’s liberation from male supremacy in their published writings. While Mackinnon’s vision of liberation, in her book “Feminism Unmodified,” differentiates from Beauvoir’s vision in “the Second Sex,” in that it focuses on the political sphere rather than the social sphere, there is still an element of commonality between the two written pieces. Sex, as the major element of commonality, is intertwined throughout each of their works for the reason that it is fundamental to discovering the ontological status of men and women and the ontological shifts that are necessary for liberating women from male supremacy. However, each has a different understanding of what sex is in their arguments. There are certain concepts besides Sex that both authors use to articulate what they believe is required for an ontological shift including “the Other”, women as pleasing objects, men as subjects, subordination, objectification, and freedom. Although both Mackinnon and Beauvoir discuss these concepts in terms of dialectical relationships, only Beauvoir goes as far as connecting happiness to women’s inability to attain freedom. By comparing each author’s vision of liberation from patriarchy, this paper will explore the notion of women’s “freedom”, how to obtain it, and the ontological shifts that are required for women’s liberation from male supremacy.
When Simone de Beauvoir died in Paris in 1986, the wreath of obituaries almost universally spoke of her as the 'mother' of contemporary feminism and its major twentieth century theoretician. De Beauvoir, it was implied as much as stated, was the mother-figure to generations of women, a symbol of all that they could be, and a powerful demonstration of a life of freedom and autonomy (Evans 1).
The “Second Wave” of feminism first emerges with existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir and her book ‘Ethics of Ambiguity’ in which she expresses "how the human is always already restricted by the brute facts of his exis...
In this paper, I will talk about De Beauvoir’s argument on how women became the Other in society and how this subconsciously affects them. De Beauvoir claims we have biases in society because of religion, philosophers, and writers, which all advocated for sexist ideas. She gives the example of Eve and Pandora—both brought evil into this world. Historical figures like Aristotle and St Thomas claimed women lack intelligence (28). As a result of the biases that are perpetuated in society, women are seen as lesser entities. Belonging to a specific gender should not determine anything about who one is or how he or she are allowed to act in society. De Beauvoir is anti-essentialist regarding gender. She claims being identified as masculine or feminine should not determine how one expresses them self in society.
Historically, power has been manifested hierarchically within the social training of genders. Simone De Beauvoir’s concept of ‘otherness’ has theorized how individuals’ personal manifestations of self are influenced deeply by their social position and the available power to them within these circumstances (2000:145). She remains one of the first to develop a feminist philosophy of women. In her book The Second Sex (1950), Beauvoir provides “a philosophical account of the development of patriarchal society and the condition of women within it” (Oliver, 1997:160). Beauvoir’s fundamental initial analysis begins by asking, “what is woman” and concludes woman is “other” and always defined in relation to man (Beauvoir, 2000:145). “He is the Subject,
Gender has played specific roles in societies all over the place. Men are usually seen as the dominant gender and therefore appear to be more important to society but women still have an important role. It was not that long ago that women did not have many rights or play an important role at all. In America, laws were put in place to make men and women equal and today many women have filled jobs thought of as a man’s job but there is still a common thought of women being less important in society than men. Before deciding if a woman’s role in society is complimentary or not, the role of all humans must be examined. A woman could appear to have a terrible role but maybe that’s because everybody has a terrible role in that type of society. Same
There has been a long and on going discourse on the battle of the sexes, and Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex reconfigures the social relation that defines man and women, and how far women has evolved from the second position given to them. In order for us to define what a woman is, we first need to clarify what a man is, for this is said to be the point of derivation (De Beauvoir). And this notion presents to us the concept of duality, which states that women will always be treated as the second sex, the dominated and lacking one. Woman as the sexed being that differs from men, in which they are simply placed in the others category. As men treat their bodies as a concrete connection to the world that they inhabit; women are simply treated as bodies to be objectified and used for pleasure, pleasure that arise from the beauty that the bodies behold. This draws us to form the statement that beauty is a powerful means of objectification that every woman aims to attain in order to consequently attain acceptance and approval from the patriarchal society. The society that set up the vague standard of beauty based on satisfaction of sexual drives. Here, women constantly seek to be the center of attention and inevitably the medium of erection.
De Beauvoir’s central argument revolved around the concept of womanhood and femininity as fixed identities that are associated with not only with one being a female, but also with women representing the “other” in a society that was first and foremost divided based on the biological differences between the sexes. De Beauvoir argued that while Blacks, Jews, and the proletariat are also classified as the other, as are women, a part of that classification is due to the numbers of these minority groups compared to those in power. On the other hand, women represent half of the population, and yet, they historically lacked power.
As society has progressed from primitive customs to modern traditions, there have always been “truths” surrounding women. Simone de Beauvoir points out how the female is regarded as mysterious and is often associated with “truths” but in this case are really myths. The problem with the “truths” that society places on women is that somehow they contradict each other or are viewed as the absolute truth with no exceptions. In other words, if a woman does not act a certain way then she is no longer a women. These myths hold women back by placing them in opposition with men as the Other. Women are defined in comparison to man and not as an entity by itself (p.159). However, men are constantly restlessness and looking to find their place within Nature,
Throughout history, woman’s self has been Other in discourse, literature, and doctrine. She has been designated this position in the world by those who hold social power. This dichotomy is maintained under a hierarchy that serves to benefit men. I will be attempting to support Beauvoir’s idea of the self as Other under a patriarchal society by looking at statements from philosophers and myths, as well as identifying shortcomings she may have.
The main thesis of The Second Sex revolves around the idea that woman has been held in a relationship of long-standing oppression to man through her relegation to being man's "Other." In agreement with Sartrean philosophy, de Beauvoir finds that the self needs otherness in order to define itself as a subject; the category of the otherness, therefore, is necessary in the constitution of the self as a self. In other words, for one gender to feel more important the other must be made inferior. de Beauvoir confronts history from a feminist perspective; however, within her arguments against the “oppression” of women, elements of Existentialist ideas can be seen. Though she attempts to bring to light the historical oppression of women, there is a slight undertone to her writing; a small air melancholy and malcontent hides under her meticulous research. de Beauvoir carries a whiff of depression as the timeline has gone too long in what she is trying to fix; even though she brings to light the idea of the Other, de Beauvoir knows well that the way things are will not change. And if they do change, the ideals behind the change will remain the same;