Throughout history, women have been portrayed as the passive, subdued creatures whose opinions, thoughts, and goals were never as equal as those of her male counterparts. Although women have ascended the ladder of equality to some degree, today it is evident that total equalization has not been achieved. Simone De Beauvoir, feminist and existential theorist, recognized and discussed the role of women in society today. To Beauvoir, women react and behave through the scrutiny of male opinion, not able to differentiate between their true character and that which is imposed upon them. In this dangerous cycle women continue to live up to the hackneyed images society has created, and in doing so women feel it is necessary to reshape their ideas to meet the expectations of men. Women are still compelled to please men in order to acquire a higher place in society - however, in doing this they fall further behind in the pursuit of equality.
The idea and characteristics of gender, relate to the specific differences men and women deliver to society and the unique qualities and roles each demonstrate. The term ‘Femininity’ refers to the range of aspects and womanly characteristics the female represents. The foundation of femininity creates and brings forth many historical and contemporary issues. According to Mary Wollstonecraft in ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman’, women’s femininity is considered a flaw of nature. Throughout the paper, history indicates how women are viewed and looked upon in a male dominated world which hinders a woman’s potential, her character, her mind, her dreams, her femininity. The paper particularly stresses the idea of power, the power of man. The historical argument leans towards man’s desire to treat women as inferior to them.
Doctor Robert Parker of Yale University identifies three major waves of feminism. First wave feminism was driven by a goal of establishing women’s rights. I like to think of this wave as our Humanization wave. Women were fighting for the right for basic human rights such as the right to vote, opportunities for education, and entitlement to property. The driving factor of this wave was to look to women as a human being not anything less. Women that are embedded in this wave were confined to the rules of their husbands thus being docile bodies of the home. They cooked, cleaned, did their husbands dirty laundry, and made babies. De Beauvoir would consider these women under the unessential “other” the women who have very little voice and say in
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).
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.
The female gender role in society has created a torturous fate for those who have failed in their role as a woman, whether as a mother, a daughter, or a wife. The restrictive nature of the role that society imposes on women causes extreme repercussions for those women who cannot fulfill their purpose as designated by society. These repercussions can be as common as being reprimanded or as severe as being berated or beaten by a husband or father. The role that women were given by society entails being a submissive homemaker who dotes on her husband and many children. The wife keeps the home impeccably neat, tends to the children and ensures their education and well-being, and acts obsequiously to do everything possible to please her husband. She must be cheerful and sweet and pretty, like a dainty little doll. The perfect woman in the eyes of society is exactly like a doll: she always smiles, always looks her best and has no feelings or opinions that she can truly call her own. She responds only to the demands of her husband and does not act or speak out of turn. A woman who speaks her mind or challenges the word of any man, especially her husband, is undesirable because she is not the obedient little doll that men cherish. Women who do not conform to the rules that society has set for them are downgraded to the only feature that differentiates them from men; their sex. Society’s women do not speak or think of sex unless their husband requires it of them. But when a woman fails to be the doll that a man desires, she is worth nothing more than a cheap sex object and she is disposed of by society.
It is said that Western civilization had been primarily male dominated and as a result as diminished the feminine. Women’s roles in society have changed drastically over the past decades. While it took much time, progress for women’s rights has blossomed. Influences in civilization have affected view points of the commonly held mores, expectations, and stereotypes which define gender.
Feminism is an issue that will be continually fought for. Because of this, significant individuals and groups have been extremely instrumental in providing a grounded approach to dealing with new and conflicting forms of feminism. Simone de Beauvoir
Women, the daughter of a family, mother of children, wife of a husband, are beautiful beings created by a god. In Creation and the Cosmos, a collection of stories about how the world was created, many of the stories tell us that God created both man and woman. Although both men and women was created by a god, a woman’s obligations were different from a man’s. Since the beginning of mankind, women were viewed as secondary citizens. Even the word “mankind” uses the word man rather than woman. Women are the objects of men, owned by their fathers and husbands. They follow the tasks given to them. They stay home, clean, cook, and take care of children, in essence, they are housewives. While the men worked, fought in wars, and were the backbone of
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.
In the reading, “Woman as other” by Simone de Beauvoir, we see how power is used to enhance gender inequality. Simone de Beauvoir’s central thesis in this piece is that men subjected women through hardship, by exercising unjust use of their authority by referring to them as the ‘Other’. Women were called “the sex” and were essential to man only for sexual purposes. Women were defined only in relation to man. They were seen as inessential, not essential. To this very day, married women have to change their initials from ‘Ms.’ to ‘Mrs.’ And change their surnames to their husbands last name, while men are referred to as ‘Mr.’ regardless of whether they are married or not. According to Beauvoir, man is ‘absolute’ and woman is the ‘other’, because “Man can think of himself without woman. She c...
When posed with the question “What is woman?” it seems a daunting task to lay an umbrella statement to describe an entire gender. Upon further reflection, however, it seems that this overwhelming inability to answer the question, may in fact, be the answer to the question itself. Within the past two decades Maria Lugones and Elizabeth Spelman, Caroline Whitbeck, Geraldine Finn, and Helene Cixous have addressed the meaning of woman. There is not a concrete answer to “What is woman?” either produced by women or produced through men’s perceptions of women.
The traditional of universal humanist thought had further defined the difference between men and women as natural fact, grounded in a biological foundation that is prior to social and cultural influence. Simone de Beauvoir had discredited this view with the assertion that ‘One is not born a women,one became a women’.