Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Second Sex” as Want to Read:
The Second Sex
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Second Sex (Le deuxième sexe #1-2)

by
4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  15,377 ratings  ·  529 reviews
Newly translated and unabridged in English for the first time, Simone de Beauvoir’s masterwork is a powerful analysis of the Western notion of “woman,” and a groundbreaking exploration of inequality and otherness. This long-awaited new edition reinstates significant portions of the original French text that were cut in the first English translation. Vital and groundbreakin ...more
Paperback, 746 pages
Published December 17th 1989 by Vintage (first published 1949)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Second Sex, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Second Sex

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodA Room of One's Own by Virginia WoolfThe Second Sex by Simone de BeauvoirThe Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathJane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Best Feminist Books
3rd out of 977 books — 1,142 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee1984 by George OrwellThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Best Books of the 20th Century
273rd out of 6,135 books — 41,119 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Aubrey
The fact that we are human beings is infinitely more important than all the peculiarities that distinguish human beings from one another; it is never the given that confers superiorities: ‘virtue’, as the ancients called it, is defined on the level of ‘that which depends on us’.
My life has led me to develop a love for thought, a love heavily dependent on the context of reality and my personal view of such, a love that has been, is, and will continue to grow through heavy doses of words both sp
...more
Dolors
Nov 17, 2014 Dolors rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those who want the full picture
Recommended to Dolors by: Aubrey
Reading De Beauvoir’s seminal “feminist manifesto” has allowed me to compose my genealogical tree, for The Second Sex is a book about my mother and the mother of my mother and the mother of my grandmother and of all my female ancestors in endless regressive progression who rebelled before obeying and who ended up capitulating like slaves shackled to the indomitable future of preordained inferiority.

“Thus humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him; she is not re
...more
Jojo Richardson
The part of this book that has affected me the most in the ten years since I've read it is most certainly the introduction, where de Beauvoir says that in order to define herself to herself she must start with, "I am a woman". This surprised her then as it surprises me now when I realize that that is how I must start, too. Although I grew up in a post-feminist "you can have it all" type of environment, it was eye-opening and disconcerting to learn that women are considered "the other" as opposed ...more
Elena Holmgren
I am a humanist, not a feminist. I believe that humanism is the more comprehensive category, and that natural rights form a sounder basis for social justice than does its framing in terms of the valorization of minority groups, which must, of necessity, breed divisiveness. And yet de Beauvoir, I admire. That a text can rewrite the entire way our primal sense of sexuality is defined is a tribute to the power and genius (and also the ambiguity) of modernity. Who would've thought that the lot of wo ...more
Ian Pagan-Gladfly
No Wonder Intrigue and Strife Abound

"A Man never begins by representing himself as an individual of a certain sex; it goes without saying that he is a Man."

Man represents himself as both the positive and the neutral. He represents Woman as the negative. Man represents himself as objective. He represents Woman as subjective.

Ironically, Man is the Subject, but objective; Woman is the Object, but subjective.

Aristotle defines a Woman in terms of a certain lack of qualities and therefore as defe
...more
Asma
كنت اتسائل كثيرًا : مالذي يجعل هموم النساء مشتركة ؟
لِم لم تنعتق المرأة من التبعيّة والإندماجيّة في جميع العصور وعلى مدى الأزمنة ؟

منذ عهد اليونان والفراعنة والصين مرورًا بالمرأة اليهودية وصولًا إلى المسيحية وإنتهاء بالإسلام .. والطبيعة المجتمعيّة التي تُفرض على المرأة واحِدة رغم تدرج الحقوق بين الأزمنة .
كان المضمون واحدًا "المنزل الأمومة الإندماجيّة رفض الإستقلال" والنتيجة وصفت كجنس آخر ليست ذاتًا مستقلّة .

سيمون كطبيعتها تنطلق من فلسفة وجودية ؛ فهي تتوغل في الذات الأنثوية منذ طفولتها وصِباها حيث
...more
notgettingenough

Well, presenting my review of The Second Sex:




Update: Who isn't barracking for Assange? I doubt the idea that the US or any other government, including the Swedish government which is apparently a covert member of NATO, with US intelligence sharing being kept from parliament, is behind the allegations in Sweden.

But it is a case of the ideals of protecting women from violence being well and truly exploited, as far as I can tell. A couple of girls trying it on. Does anybody have information to stan
...more
Ellen
Knocked Up
Preggers
Up the Spout
A Bun in the Oven

* * *

The word “pregnant” is pregnant with connotation. And for women—often viewed in more bodily terms than men—nothing foregrounds a woman's body more than pregnancy. It’s interesting to consider what Simone de Beauvoir, dubbed the "mother" of modern feminism, thought about motherhood itself. Given what she writes in The Second Sex, Beauvoir would probably concur with my friend’s attitude…

...A number of years ago, a friend of mine spoke to me
...more
Helynne
This extensive, scholarly study, written in 1946 by French existentialist novelist and feminist Simone de Beauvoir is a seminal text for 20th-century feminism. The lengthy study contains numerous chapters, beginning with the history of women in societies throughout the world. Beauvoir's first basic observation is that the world has always been dominated by men--hence, her title that names women as "the second sex" or le deuxième sexe." Her premise that runs through the book is that there is no ...more
Ameera H.  Al-mousa
كان هذا العالم دائما عالم الرجال وكل الأسباب المعللة لذلك بدت لنا غير كافية على أننا سنتمكن أن نفهم كيف تشكل التمايز بين الجنسين ,على ضوء الفلسفة الوجودية , ومن ذلك تنطلق الكاتبة النسوية الوجودية سيمون دي فورا بعدد تردد كما ذكرت أن الكتابة عن المرأة أمر مثير ولكن ليس بالشيء الجديد .



إذا كانت الأنوثة وحدها لا تكفي لتعريف المرأة , و ينبغي أن نسلم ولو بصورة مؤقتة أن هناك نساء على الأرض فعلينا حينئذ أن نتساءل ما هي المرأة ؟

ففي عهد القديس توماس كانت المرأة تبدو كجوهر تحدد خصائصه كما تحدد خصائص ومزايا
...more
Natalie
The Second Sex is one of those dense old feminist classics I was embarrassed not to have read. When I finally started it last month, it was almost impossible to put it down (though I did take a break in order to read William Vollmann's new magnum opus.) Simone de Beauvoir theorizes, hypothesizes, and generalizes about every phase of a woman's life, from infancy to old age, and the events marking each phase, such as menarche, sexual initiation, childbirth, and menopause. While Nick's review makes ...more
Nancy Monson
Fantastic! Should be distributed in 7th grade to all females. It is the handbook we were looking for.
Poet Gentleness
Feb 03, 2015 Poet Gentleness rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All women and men
Recommended to Poet Gentleness by: EF Reims
Why I never manage to find the right edition of the book I'm reading on Goodreads baffles me.
Twice I've read Beauvoir in French. Mine is an old treasured edition, which I didn't find listed here. So, I set to read it again in English. It would be quite weird to write the review in English and quote Beauvoir in French...

Alors, on y va!

Humanity is not an animal species, it is a historical reality. Human society is an antiphysis – in a sense it is against nature; it does not passively submit to t
...more
Abrar
كتاب ثمين جداً
من الكتب التي لا تندم على قرائتها، كتابٌ من الكتب المعدودة التي لم تشعرني بأنها تحكمت بي بل شعرت بالانتعاش فكرياً و شعرت بأن افكاراً في رأسي اتخذت لغة سيمون ديبوفوار الصادقة و الموفقة.

تذكرت حواري مع قريبتي حينما كتبت لها بعض المقاطع من الكتاب فتستشعر ضاحكة إن كانت سيمون فرنسية أم سعودية؟؟؟
Namrirru
Nov 14, 2007 Namrirru rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: *EVERYONE !!*
So after mulling over the book for a few days, I came to the realization that de Beauvoir tends to harp on the negative in this text. How lack of purpose makes women neurotic and affects their relationships with people, or the various ways men are/were outrageously mysogyinistic, etc, etc. But given the time period, a little bit of firebrand preaching is acceptable.

She does lend some words for more commonplace issues, but then the text is subdued and explanatory so that a reader's eyes will dia
...more
Fretty Panggabean
I didn't read this book from cover to cover. See, I had to read this book because I was using feminism theory on my final thesis. But I do agree with Simone de Beauvoir's opinions that in many countries including Indonesia, women are positioned mostly as citizen number two who have less privileges than men do in so many aspects of life. What I dislike most is the double standards applied to women. It's not enough for a woman to be good at one aspect of her life, she has to be good in all aspects ...more
Louise Colette
Apr 23, 2008 Louise Colette rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All Women and Men
Shelves: women-s-studies
This was the first book I read after signing up for a class in French and American women writers. While I found myself overwhelmed with the class, this book totally destroyed my old ideas of men and women and our roles in the world.

De Beauvoir wrote so beautifully of all the things I'd been thinking and couldn't express. Woman as "The Other". . .

I became a feminist with this book. Please read it.
David Haley
Aug 27, 2007 David Haley rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Due to length, only those who have a real desire to investigate feminism, gender, etc.
For me, reading Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex left me feeling overwhelmed, and even slightly frustrated--not at the text itself, but the lack of time I had to spend on it. I will definitely be re-reading it in the near future.

De Beauvoir disassembles feminine “inferiority” with rare, methodical tact. It seemed as though every other page summoned a flood of ideas and reappraisals in my mind. For instance, her description of the male/female relationship as “The One” and “The Other”, led me t
...more
Vikas Lather
700 pages of magical reality. Beauvoir is one of those handful writers, worth a name. Simone's narrative quality is so much powerful, I've never experienced before. A must read for third world.

I will be revisiting this book very soon.
Jill Collins
I read several criticisms that assert Simone de Beauvoir must hate women, or perhaps she simply hates being a woman. These reviewers are so close to insight but they do seem to miss the point.

Throughout The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir constantly reaffirms the state and condition of femininity is a direct result of woman's situation. Women are not victims of hormones or mysterious whims, they are victims of systematic oppression. Women are defined as other, they have no identity of their own,
...more
shaihanah
ماتزال الفتاة عموما لا تؤمن بإستقلاليتها ..لأنها لم تشعر بذلك يوما ، بل هي ماتزال تؤمن أن نضال المرأة مازال نضالا رمزيا ، ولا شك بأن هذا وارد ، فكيف يتحول هذا النضال من رمزي إلى فعلي ..ولا توجد حتى قوانين صارمة تحول النظام القبلي إلى ميداني .
بل زد على ذلك ما تتربى عليه الفتاة ،فحياتها عموما لا شيء سوى الاكل والنوم والتنظيف . السنوات لا تسير صعدا إلى السماء ، و حياتها معلقة بالزوج .
ولا تستطيع حتى إزالة الذكورية من أحلامها .
فحتى الطفلة فترة البلوغ تولد لديها فكرة الخجل والخوف من مظهرها الجسماني ال
...more
Safa Rawashdeh
هذه النجوم الخمسة للكاتبة وليست للكتاب
-
من سطور هذا الكتاب
"
يظهر لنا خطأ اعتقادين شائعين :
الأول أن الأمومة تكفي لإرضاء المرأة
والثاني أن الطفل يجد سعادة أكيدة بين ذراعي أمه
-
إن سلوك المرأة لا تفرضه عليها هرموناتها ولا تكوين دماغها بل هو نتيجة لوضعها
"
يبدو أن طريق الحرية سيكون مؤلماً وباهظ التكاليف
سنتوه كثيراً , ونحزنُ كثيراً
مازن الياسري
انه اهم واشهر كتاب عن حقوق وحرية المرأة
انه الجنس الاخر للفيلسوفة الفرنسية سيمون دي بوفوار
الكتاب الذي طبع لآول مرة عام 1949 وتلت الطبعات وترجم الى معظم اللغات العالمية
ما يحزنني انني حينما اقرأ في الكتاب عرض مشكلة المرأة الاوربية بثلاثينيات واربعينيات القرن الماضي اجدها لا تختلف كثيراً عن مشكلات المرأة العربية اليوم رغم الفارق الزمني العريض!
ايمان
في هذا الكتاب تحاول سيمون الاجابة على سؤال واحد متى بدأ هذا التمييز بين الرجل و المرأة لحساب الرجل وضعت عدة فرضيات و انتهت أنها جميعا لا تبرر هذا التفضيل غير المستحق للرجل.
د. حمدان
الجنس الآخر سيمون دي بوفوار
هي كاتبة ومفكرة شهيرة فرنسية تنفي عن نفسها كونها فيلسوفة رغم التلامس الصريح لكتاباتها وتأثرها بالوجودية والتي لربما كان لعلاقتها مع سارتر دور كبير في ذلك. عانت دي بوفوار من مشاكل روحانية عندما ألحقها والدها بدير وتحولت بعدها لتكمل حياتها كملحدة وقد يبرر هذا تأكيداتها المستمرة لكون الدين هو احد أسباب إضطهاد المرأة. عرفت عنها العلاقات الشاذة مع تلميذات لها وقد أوقفت عام 1943 عن العمل بسبب اتهام أحد تلميذاتها لها بإغوائها. وكانت حينئذ مرتبطة بسارتر بعلاقتها الشهيرة معه..
...more
Hypatia
I have mixed feelings about this book. I can see that, historically, it was ground breaking, and completely revolutionized thinking about feminism. Even today, 60 years later, there were parts of the book that had me thinking, wow, things really haven't changed. Kind of a depressing thought. But the vast majority of the book I found somewhat out-dated and irrelevant, at least to me. First of all, I think much of the biology she discusses is not really correct. Our knowledge in this field has inc ...more
Nina
This was surprisingly old-fashioned. It was published in 1949 but it just seems so out-dated and often - dare I say it? - wrong and irrelevant.

de Beauvoir's mission is to define woman and find out why the male is the "default" or "normal" sex, while the female sex is the other, the one who deviates from the norm. She does this by looking at biology, psychoanalysis, the history of women from the stone ages to today (or well, 1949) in France, USA, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Scandinavia, the Middle East.
...more
Yasiru (reviews will soon be removed and linked to blog)
I always feel somewhat uncomfortable marking as 'read' those books I've come into contact with through readings (however extensive these may have been), but in this case I did at least leaf through the whole work purely out of interest.

The Second Sex may be regarded the most extensive and prototypical application of existential ideas, particularly Sartre's, and in this sense there is a lack of generality which might make the book dissatisfying given previous exposure to its philosophical anteced
...more
Robert Monk
This is outstanding writing, an adult introduction to psychoanalysis, Marxist philosophy, and existentialism, all on the path to a classic statement of feminism.

Coming from the existentialist perspective of constructed social values, the arguments for 'woman' as a situation not a 'natural' fact, can apply to the situation of other oppressed groups, but de Beauvoir carefully notes the special position of woman within a biological species-imperative that complicates questions of cooperation refor
...more
Jee Koh
Finally finished reading Simone de Beauvoir's "The Second Sex" last Monday. "One is not born, but rather becomes, woman," so translate Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier that resounding challenge. So many terrific things in de Beauvoir's analysis of how one becomes woman. Nietzsche is transmuted into the existentialist project of self-transcendence. Part One rejects the idea of female destiny, as promoted by biological, psychoanalytical or historical materialist views. Part Two recou ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Made me feel humiliated and ashamed to be a woman. Anyone else have this response? 3 39 Apr 25, 2015 01:40PM  
500 Great Books B...: The Second Sex - Simone de Beauvoir 3 22 Nov 26, 2014 11:57AM  
The F-word: June NON-FICTION Group Read THE SECOND SEX 6 47 Jul 23, 2014 03:20AM  
This is pretty sad... 13 166 Aug 09, 2013 02:56PM  
Goodreads Librari...: 9782070323517 4 116 Jan 29, 2013 12:38PM  
  • Sexual Politics
  • The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution
  • Gender Trouble
  • This Sex Which Is Not One
  • Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  • The Female Eunuch
  • Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings
  • The Essential Feminist Reader
  • Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future
  • Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center
  • Pornography: Men Possessing Women
  • The Subjection of Women
  • Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women
  • The Feminine Mystique
  • Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity
  • Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape
  • The Beauty Myth
5548
"Simone de Beauvoir was a French author and philosopher. She wrote novels, monographs on philosophy, politics, and social issues, essays, biographies, and an autobiography. She is now best known for her metaphysical novels, including She Came to Stay and The Mandarins, and for her 1949 treatise The Second Sex, a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary femin ...more
More about Simone de Beauvoir...
Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter The Ethics of Ambiguity The Woman Destroyed The Mandarins All Men are Mortal

Share This Book

“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” 684 likes
“Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.” 172 likes
More quotes…