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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Simone de Beauvoir and The Second Sex


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Moshe Milner

Photo license: CC BY-SA 3.0


Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) was a French philosopher best known for her contributions to existentialism and feminism. Writer Lisa Appignanesi said,


"When I was growing up in the 60's, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre were a model couple, already legendary creatures, rebels with a great many causes, and leaders of what could be called the first postwar youth movement: existentialism - a philosophy that rejected all absolutes and talked of freedom, authenticity, and difficult choices... Despite being indissolubly united and bound by ideas, they remained unmarried and free to engage openly in any number of relationships. This radical departure from convention seemed breathtaking at the time." (Did Simone de Beauvoir's open 'marriage' make her happy? 2005)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Beauvoir.




"I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom." (The Blood of Others, 1946)


"...the individual is defined only by his relationship to the world and to other individuals; he exists only by transcending himself, and his freedom can be achieved only through the freedom of others." (The Ethics of Ambiguity, 1947)


"Let us try to assume our fundamental ambiguity. It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our life that we must draw our strength to live and our reason for acting." (The Ethics of Ambiguity, 1947)


The Second Sex


"...when we abolish the slavery of half of humanity, together with the whole system of hypocrisy that it implies then the 'division' of humanity will reveal its genuine significance and the human couple will find its true form." (The Second Sex, 1949)


"And yet we are told that femininity is in danger; we are exhorted to be women, remain women, become women. It would appear, then, that every female human being is not necessarily a woman; to be so considered she must share in that mysterious and threatened reality known as femininity." (The Second Sex, 1949)