The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir

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Feminism is the radical notion that women are people. It is the movement for the political, social, and educational equality of women with men. It has its roots in the humanism of the 18th century and the Industrial Revolution. Feminist issues range from access to employment, education, child care, contraception, and abortion, to equality in the workplace, changing family roles, damages for sexual harassment in the workplace, and the need for equal political representation. Some may think that in 2015 we may be completing the first step for women, which has been a long journey, the acceptance of women as people. However, women, like so many other groups, have gained legal rights only to face less institutional, but more subtle forms of discriminations. The idea that women are equal because of women’s rights is in my opinion valid in some ways and invalid in other ways.

Traditionally, women have been regarded as inferior to men physically and intellectually. Women could not possess property in their own names, participate in business ventures, or control having children if they wanted them or not or even control of their own lives. The Feminist movement dates from 1848, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Coffin Mott and others who were at a women’s convention at Seneca Falls, N.Y. issued declaration of independence for women, demanding full legal equality, full educational and commercial opportunity, equal compensation, the right to get paid and the right to vote. In this essay I will discuss The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir and her feminist views. I will discuss the gender differences between males and females today as well as in the past.

Simone De Beauvoir was born in Paris. She had a younger sister and they lived in middle-class family. She went to a conservative Catholic prep school for girls. She had several licenses, which are equivalent to master’s degrees today, in literature, philosophy and mathematics. While in School she met Sartre a philosopher most closely associated with existentialism. She was one of the first women to pass the rigorous aggregation in philosophy. She taught in Marseiles, Rouen, and Paris from 1931 to 1943, but her contract ended because she was accused of sleeping with a student. After that she began a monthly magazine with Sarte that discussed politics and literature.

Simone De Beauvoir’...

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... care of the home and their husbands didn’t have a man of her own. Now I don’t know the exact significance of this, but my take on it is that the movie was trying to show that no matter what you do as a woman you can’t make a man stay just because you do what is “expected”.

Overall, feminism aims to have women treat equally as men in all aspects of life. We as women have come a long way since the early 1900s, but really how far have we come? There are still very few women in high positions as me, there still has never been a woman president, and in some cases men are earning higher wages than men even if they hold the same position. However, women have shown that we can do whatever a man can do and we can do it just as good as a man. We no longer have to even consider accepting the fact that we have our “place” and be seen as the “object”. Moreover, I think that it is the responsibility of the woman to make sure that she is respected and that she is given the same rights as the man. Also men need to be more aware of the situation that’s occurring.

Works cited:

The Norton Anthology Theory and Criticism p.1403-1414

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