The Second Sex – Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir is a French existentialist and this work- The Second Sex- of her is a philosophical treaty on the concept of “feminity” and that how a woman is defined. Where does the concept of “eternal feminine” came into being. When does the patricarchal societies become the norm and why? Why has woman been relegated to the status of the other in a world where without her equal contribution, the species would not even go further. Despite the fact that woman as human being is a sentient being, her position among all the females is the worst, sometimes even worse than the slaves and minorities and other opressed groups. She states the unique phenomena and realtion that exists between the opressor(man) and the oppressed(woman) is the cause. The slaves can all gather together against the masters, exploited against the eploiters but not women against men.

She also discusses the Freudian psychoanalytical viewpoint and contends that the analysis may not hold value because the woman’s sexuality is seen from the male point of view, as someone who is deprived of penis and thereby, explains the things as castration complex or Oedipus complex or Electra complex. She says that the feminine sexuality should be studied independently and from a female’s point of view. She also stresses the importance of expectations that we confer upon the sexes that make them behave in a certain manner.

All in all, it is the ultimate Feminist Manifesto :). It should be read by feminists and the chauvinists. It is a balanced and critical and seemingly scientific work which spells out the arguments very nicely. Given that I am colored in some shades of feminism , I was able to enjoy and appreciate the work and at the same time learn about some of the very fundamental points of contention, starting right from the contribution of the sperm and the egg.


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