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The essential masterwork that has provoked and inspired generations of men and women. “From Eve’s apple to Virginia Woolf’s room of her own, Beauvoir’s treatise remains an essential rallying point, urging self-sufficiency and offering the fruit of knowledge.” — Vogue

This unabridged edition reinstates significant portions of the original French text that were cut in the first English translation. Vital and groundbreaking, Beauvoir’s pioneering and impressive text remains as pertinent today as when it was first published, and will continue to provoke and inspire generations of men and women to come.

800 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1949

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About the author

Simone de Beauvoir

349 books8,501 followers
Simone de Beauvoir was a French author and philosopher. She wrote novels, monographs on philosophy, political 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 feminism.

Simone de Beauvoir est née à Paris le 9 janvier 1908. Elle fit ses études jusqu'au baccalauréat dans le très catholique cours Désir. Agrégée de philosophie en 1929, elle enseigna à Marseille, à Rouen et à Paris jusqu'en 1943. C'est L'Invitée (1943) qu'on doit considérer comme son véritable début littéraire. Viennent ensuite Le sang des autres (1945), Tous les hommes sont mortels (1946), Les Mandarins (prix Goncourt 1954), Les Belles Images (1966) et La Femme rompue (1968).
Simone de Beauvoir a écrit des mémoires où elle nous donne elle-même à connaître sa vie, son œuvre. L'ampleur de l'entreprise autobiographique trouve sa justification, son sens, dans une contradiction essentielle à l'écrivain : choisir lui fut toujours impossible entre le bonheur de vivre et la nécessité d'écrire ; d'une part la splendeur contingente, de l'autre la rigueur salvatrice. Faire de sa propre existence l'objet de son écriture, c'était en partie sortir de ce dilemme.
Outre le célèbre Deuxième sexe (1949) devenu l'ouvrage de référence du mouvement féministe mondial, l'œuvre théorique de Simone de Beauvoir comprend de nombreux essais philosophiques ou polémiques.
Après la mort de Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir a publié La Cérémonie des adieux (1981) et les Lettres au Castor (1983) qui rassemblent une partie de l'abondante correspondance qu'elle reçut de lui. Jusqu'au jour de sa mort, le 14 avril 1986, elle a collaboré activement à la revue fondée par Sartre et elle-même, Les Temps Modernes, et manifesté sous des formes diverses et innombrables sa solidarité avec le féminisme.

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Profile Image for Dolors.
539 reviews2,278 followers
November 17, 2014
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 regarded as an autonomous being.” (16)

Reading De Beauvoir’s concentric lines of argument framed within the existentialist discourse about the inward and outward implications of being a woman in a world devised by the masculine mind has glued the fragmented selves of my dispersed persona back together. My inner cracks have been filled with irrefutable evidence amalgamated from diverging fields of study infused with patriarchal metanarration such as the scientific, in its medical, biological and psychoanalytical aspects; and the humanistic, taking philosophy, mythology, literature and historical materialism as pinpointing references.

“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” (295)

What I inferred to be particular quirks and shortcomings of my own character like the incessant urge to please, the lack of firmness when I voice out my opinions, the sense of displacement in my professional life, the unavowed guilt of my indecision on motherhood and many other details turn out to be the partial result of centuries of alienation from a position of imbued dependence and subservient otherness in relation to man, whose gender inherently assigns the role of “the essential” and “the independent” to him.
The female, on the other hand, achieves fulfilment finding her reason to be in the free conscience of the masculine figure. Man is the mirror where women seek their reflection.

Reading De Beauvoir’s subversive account on the status of women in the context of the modernized Western societies has revealed the double trap of the socio-political organizations in developed countries where women have reached equality, economic autonomy and a more relevant presence in the public institutions only in appearance but not in ethos. Women’s voices must be not only generalized and active but also questioning and disruptive in order to reinvent the endemic hierarchy of a society culturally and traditionally built on the oppression of half of its population. Are my ambitions, dreams and yearnings my own? Or are they the result of subliminally indoctrination passed through generations of tamed female mentality?

Reading De Beauvoir has put me on the ropes, reminding me of my privileged situation compared to the atrocious and reiterative abuse inflicted upon women, victims of dogmatic fundamentalism or totalitarian governments in most countries of the world: cases of ablation, rape, physical and psychological maltreatment saturate the media, tragic facts that back up De Beauvoir’s theory that femininity is neither essence nor destiny but an artificial construction of the cultural, societal and historical requirements of time and place.

Reading De Beauvoir has sharpened my feminism, rekindled my empathy and opened my eyes to the impending call to redefine the socio-political, economic and cultural frames of a so-called democracy, which is only de jure and not de facto, and to avoid the postmodernist doctrine of the difference feminism that allots innate and intrinsic qualities to the feminine gender, to establish a collective front that will guarantee new models of egalitarian coexistence for women, inside and outside the public and private spheres.
A collective outcry arises from the underground that joins many others, a dull murmur gathering momentum from those living on the fringes of society: women, immigrants, those of another race, the others, the marginalized, whose voices have been chocked by gratuitous despotism for centuries, start intonating a demand in unison. Don’t you hear it? It’s the canon of collective indignation roaring to achieve individual emancipation.

“Resignedness is only abdication and flight, there is no other way out for woman than to work for her liberation.” (639)
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
August 26, 2021
Le Deuxième Sexe = The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir

The Second Sex is a 1949 book by the French existentialist Simone de Beauvoir, in which the author discusses the treatment of women throughout history.

Beauvoir researched and wrote the book in about 14 months when she was 38 years old.

She published it in two volumes, Facts and Myths and Lived Experience. Some chapters first appeared in Les Temps moderns.

One of Beauvoir's best-known books, The Second Sex is often regarded as a major work of feminist philosophy and the starting point of second-wave feminism.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 2003میلادی

عنوان: جنس دوم، تجربه عینی؛ نویسنده: سیمون دوبوار؛ مترجم: قاسم صنعوی؛ تهران، توس، چاپ پنجم 1382؛ در 728ص؛ شابک 9643155625؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان فرانسه - سده 20م

کتاب جنس دوم در دو جلد نگاشته شده؛ جلد نخست در سه قسمت با نامهای «سرنوشت»؛ «تاریخ»؛ و «اسطوره»؛ و جلد دوم در چهار قسمت با عنوانهای: «شکل‌گیری»؛ «موقعیت»؛ «توجیه‌ها»؛ و «به سوی رهایی» هستند؛

بر این باور دارم، که بانو «سیمون»، توانائیهای شگفت انگیز بسیاری داشتند، بررسیها و یافته های ایشان برایم جالب بودند، پیشتر در جای دیگر آنها را نخوانده بودم، ستم دیدگان را از یاد نبرده بودند، ایشان باور دارند، که بدبختی گاه میتواند امری طبیعی باشد، گاه از امتیازهای یکسویه برای جنس دوم، چشم پوشیده، و برابری مرد و زن را باور کرده، و در نهایت کوشش نموده اند همگان را وادارند، تا بر سرنوشت خویش پیروز شوند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 10/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 03/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
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July 3, 2023
i can't imagine ever being smart enough to read this, but it's nice to pretend
Profile Image for Aubrey.
1,357 reviews794 followers
March 14, 2023
3/14/23 Update - TERFs, SWERFs, and other folks who cherry-pick their feminism: this review is not for you.

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 spoken and printed. I will admit to being biased towards the printed, as well as to being biased in many things as a result of characteristics both physical and mental; the fault of nature and nurture, neither one of which I can help very much. My method of coping with having a love for thinking, while being aware of the inherent inaccuracies of said thinking, is a rabid interest in argument, debate if you will, on many fronts that concern me.

Being a woman concerns me. With that, let us begin.

I am a white middle class female undergraduate who has spent all twenty-two years of her life in the United States. I did not read this book for a class. I do not in any way claim that this book speaks on all women’s issues, or deem women’s issues more important than those of any other oppressed group, whether via race, sexuality, financial security, et al. I simply don’t have the firsthand experience with other issues that, I believe, would accredit me to speak on them to such length. Account for the inherent biases as you see fit.

Females are biologically different from males in the interest of propagation of the species, resulting in imposed monthly cycles that involve a whole host of painful and bloody side effects, as well as the inconvenient and sometimes dangerous states of pregnancy and giving birth. Females also have a more difficult time of building up muscle mass and other aspects lending to physical movement, due to the consequences of puberty and resulting chemical development.
The bearing of maternity upon the individual life, regulated naturally in animals by the oestrus cycle and the seasons, is not definitely prescribed in woman - society alone is the arbiter. The bondage of woman to the species is more or less rigorous according to the number of births demanded by society and the degree of hygienic care provided for pregnancy and childbirth. Thus, while it is true that in the higher animals the individual existence is asserted more imperiously by the male than by the female, in the human species individual 'possibilities' depend upon the economic and social situation.

We are now acquainted with the dramatic conflict that harrows the adolescent girl at puberty: she cannot become 'grown-up' without accepting her femininity; and she knows already that her sex condemns her to a mutilated and fixed existence, which she faces at this time under the form of an impure sickness and a vague sense of guilt. Her inferiority was sensed at first merely as a deprivation; but the lack of a penis has now become defilement and transgression. So she goes onward towards the future, wounded, shameful, culpable.
In the United States, the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified on August 18, 1920, which declares that: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. This occurred 144 years after the US declared independence, 137 years after the US was recognized as independent, and 132 years after the Constitution itself was ratified.
In masculine hands logic is often a form of violence, a sly kind of tyranny: the husband, if older and better educated than his wife, assumes on the basis of this superiority to give no weight at all to her opinions when he does not share them; he tirelessly proves to her that he is right. For her part, she becomes obstinate and refuses to see anything in her husband's arguments; he simply sticks to his own notions. And so a deep misunderstanding comes between them. He makes no effort to comprehend the feelings and reactions she is not clever enough to justify, though they are deeply rooted in her; she does not grasp what is vital behind the pedantic logic with which her husband overwhelms her.
On June 20, 2013, many news organizations issued articles discussing a report released by the World Health Organization titled Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. The results? One in three women has faced intimate partner violence or sexual violence. 40% of women killed worldwide were slain by the partner.
And therein lies the wondrous hope that man has often put in woman: he hopes to fulfill himself as a being by carnally possessing a being, but at the same time confirming his sense of freedom through the docility of a free person. No man would consent to be a woman, but every man wants women to exist.

Man has no need of the unconditional devotion he claims, nor of the idolatrous love that flatters his vanity; he accepts them only on condition that he need not satisfy the reciprocal demands these attitudes imply. He preaches to woman that she should give—and her gifts bore him to distraction; she is left in embarrassment with her useless offerings, her empty life. On the day when it will be possible for woman to love not in her weakness but in her strength, not to escape herself but to find herself, not to abase herself but to assert herself—on that day love will become for her, as for man, a source of life and not of mortal danger. In the meantime, love represents in its most touching form the curse that lies heavily upon woman confined in the feminine universe, woman mutilated, insufficient unto herself. The innumerable martyrs to love bear witness against the injustice of a fate that offers a sterile hell as ultimate salvation.
There is currently in the US a widespread political machination in many states aiming towards the eradication of legalized abortion, in essence granting living women less rights to their bodies than dead individuals who in life chose not to donate their bodies to science.
...modern woman is everywhere permitted to regard her body as capital for exploitation.

The fact is that a true human privilege is based upon the anatomical privilege only in virtue of the total situation.

That the child is the supreme aim of woman is a statement having precisely the value of an advertising slogan.

...the distortion begins when the religion of Maternity proclaims that all mothers are saintly. For while maternal devotion may be perfectly genuine, this, in fact, is rarely the case. Maternity is usually a strange mixture of narcissism, altruism, idle day-dreaming, sincerity, bad faith, devotion and cynicism.
Also current in the US is the discussion of rape culture and slut shaming in light of the events of the Steubenville High School Rape Case, where media outlets offered biased coverage that sympathized with the rapists and rarely focused on the victim.
As a matter of fact, the privileged position of man comes from the integration of his biologically aggressive role with his social function as leader or master; it is on account of this social function that the physiological differences take on all their significance. Because man is ruler in the world, he holds that the violence of his desires is a sign of his sovereignty; a man of great erotic capacity is said to be strong, potent - epithets that imply activity and transcendence. But, on the other hand, woman being only an object, she will be described as warm or frigid, which is to say that she will never manifest other than passive qualities.

It is a mistake to seek in fantasies the key to concrete behaviour; for fantasies are created and cherished as fantasies. The little girl who dreams of violation with mingled horror and acquiescence does not really wish to be violated and if such a thing should happen it would be a hateful calamity.

Masculine desire is as much an offence as it is a compliment; in so far as she feels herself responsible for her charm, or feels she is exerting it of her own accord, she is much pleased with her conquests, but to the extent that her face, her figure, her flesh are facts she must bear with, she wants to hide them from this independent stranger who lusts after them.

Man encourages these allurements by demanding to be lured: afterwards he is annoyed and reproachful. But he feels only indifference and hostility for the artless, guileless young girl...she is obliged to offer man the myth of her submission, because he insists on domination, and her compliance would only be perverted from the start.
In the US, prostitution, the ‘business or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment’, is illegal.
The Cinderella myth flourishes especially in prosperous countries like America. How should the men there spend their surplus money if not upon a woman? Orson Welles, among others, has embodied in 'Citizen Kane' that imperial and false generosity: it is to glorify his own power that Kane chooses to shower his gifts upon an obscure singer and to impose her upon the public as a great queen of song. When the hero of another film, 'The Razor's Edge', returns from India equipped with absolute wisdom, the only thing he finds to do with it is to redeem a prostitute.

One remarkable fact among others is that the married woman had her place in society but enjoyed no rights therein; whereas the unmarried female, honest woman or prostitute, had all the legal capacities of a man, but up to this century was more or less excluded from social life.

Sewers are necessary to guarantee the wholesomeness of palaces, according to the Fathers of the Church. And it has often been remarked that the necessity exists of sacrificing one part of the female sex in order to save the other and prevent worse troubles. One of the arguments in support of slavery, advanced by the American supporters of the institution, was that the Southern whites, being all freed from servile duties, could maintain the most democratic and refined relations among themselves; in the same way, a caste of 'shameless women' allows the 'honest woman' to be treated with the most chivalrous respect. The prostitute is a scapegoat; man vents his turpitude upon her, and he rejects her. Whether she is put legally under police supervision or works illegally in secret, she is in any case treated as a pariah.
The Equal Pay Act was signed into law in the US in 1963. The male-female income difference in the US was in 2010 at a female-to-male earnings ratio of 0.81, medium income in full-time year-round workers being $42,800 for men compared to $34,700 for women.
When he is in a co-operative and benevolent relation with woman, his theme is the principle of abstract equality, and he does not base his attitude upon such inequality as may exist. But when he is in conflict with her, the situation is reversed: his theme will be the existing inequality, and he will even take it as justification for denying abstract equality.

Woman is shut up in a kitchen or in a boudoir, and astonishment is expressed that her horizon is limited. Her wings are clipped, and it is found deplorable that she cannot fly. Let but the future be opened to her, and she will no longer be compelled to linger in the present.
The history of literature is dominated by male writers. Since 1901 when the first annual Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded, out of the 109 individuals that have received it, twelve were female. More women have been awarded the Nobel in this field than any other, save for the Nobel Peace Prize, of which fifteen of the 101 recipients were female.
When he describes woman, each writer discloses his general ethics and the special idea he has of himself; and in her he often betrays also the gap between his world view and his egotistical dreams.

…the categories in which men think of the world are established from their point of view, as absolute: they misconceive reciprocity, here as everywhere. A mystery for man, woman is considered to be mysterious in essence.

And while her lover fondly believes he is pursuing the Ideal, he is actually the plaything of nature, who employs all this mystification for the ends of reproduction.

'Pendants have for two thousand years reiterated the notion that women have a more lively spirit, men more solidity; that women have more delicacy in their ideas and men greater power of attention. A Paris idler who once took a walk in the Versailles Gardens concluded that, judging from all he saw, the trees grow ready trimmed.'

Feminism is, well. You tell me. I have to say, though, bra-burning and unshaven legs seem empty condemnations in comparison to rape and domestic abuse.
The truth is that just as—biologically—males and females are never victims of one another but both victims of the species, so man and wife together undergo the oppression of an institution they did not create. If it is asserted that men oppress women, the husband is indignant; he feels that he is the one who is oppressed—and he is; but the fact is that it is the masculine code, it is the society developed by the males and in their interest, that has established woman’s situation in a form that is at present a source of torment for both sexes.

It is perfectly natural for the future woman to feel indignant at the limitations posed upon her by her sex. The real question is not why she should reject them: the problem is rather to understand why she accepts them.
I thought about keeping a list of how many authors/philosophers/lauded historical people I’d have to completely boycott due to misogyny. That action makes as much sense as completely boycotting those who favor feminism. Think about it.

Alternative Title: Woman Fucks/Fucking Terrifies Man - A Treatise
Profile Image for Luís.
1,941 reviews605 followers
August 23, 2023
"The Second Sex," six decades after its first publication, still stands supreme for its highly comprehensive work on gender. Simone de Beauvoir, though writing keeping her French upbringing in mind, it is surprising to see how much work is globally relevant, even today. She does not limit herself to a particular viewpoint but sincerely tries to dig into the? Why? Of things that are concerned here. Her work is holistic, ranging from perspectives from biology, psychoanalysis, anthropology, sociology, law, psychology, and history, amongst others! Exploring how gender demarcation came into being and the sociology that evolved with it remains her key inquest throughout the book. She initiates the book by explaining how women are not allowed to exist in their genuine sense. What becomes of a woman is a social construct. The woman is what man will enable her to be. How Simone de Beauvoir puts it?
Human Society is an antiphysis - in a sense, it is against nature; it does not passively submit to the presence of life but instead takes over the control of the environment on its behalf. This arrogation is not an inward, subjective operation; it is accomplished objectively in practical action. She tries to explain gender discrimination in the human mind through this viewpoint. Is it in human nature to restrict the world? Us? And the other? From a historical perspective, she explains that as man discovered better control over the quality, his fear and respect for nature decreased. The women who represented nature? A certain mystique attached to her, and What specific examples does Simone de Beauvoir provide to support her arguments about gender demarcation? What are the particular perspectives from each discipline that Simone de Beauvoir explores in her work? Because only she could produce life, now declined as man realized his worth. He studied, discovered, and accomplished new things. His self-esteem rose. With his increasing prosperity, his workload increased. When a man cannot do everything himself, he has no choice but to enslave others. Woman's subjugation a byproduct of this progress? Was she seen as the mystique in nomadic times, and had she noticed as the other? The negative? The impure? In an agricultural society, she could not keep up with the workload demanded by heavy agricultural tools, which only men could handle.
In a farming community, the concept of holding property? Patriarchy came with it, which worsened women's position to the hilt. But, according to what suited the man, she now had seen it expanding her economic and social ambitions. Recognizing the irony, the author explains that, unlike tools that had restricted women's participation, the industries and machines opened a new era for her. The considerable workforce required propelled her to come out of the home. The woman is subjected to beautification, uncomfortable clothes, and high heels so that she can never match the man's steps; she remains so involved (read lost) in these particulars that it takes up all her time and life's ambitions.

The second part of the book explains women's socialization and development of self through the various stages of life, keeping in context her exceptional circumstances. She maintains that, contrary to Freud's psychoanalytic work, the boy envies the girl because of the extra cajoling that she receives. Penis envy? According to her is more of a socially constructed phenomenon than has any biological roots. She explains, in an entirely non-judgmental way, the insecurities and dilemmas that define women - At any stage of their life, starting childhood; what specific examples does Simone de Beauvoir provide to support her argument about gender demarcation? Attaining puberty, being a woman in love, being married, sexual initiation, being a mother, and entering old age. She also explains the situations of prostitutes and lesbians. Does she explain? Are prostitutes human sacrifices on the altar of monogamy? According to her, women's true nature had submitted to meet the demands of men. Also, it explains how, through her children, a mother wants to conquer the world. Through her son, she wants to satisfy her ego. Because he is a male, he will be a conqueror and a leader. She takes pride in creating him. The problem starts when the children start individuating. She considers it an insult. She cannot tolerate the individuation of her double. Also, she cannot handle her little girl being her double to take her position so that the household can function without her, so the father gives the daughter more time. Who is more charming than her - Overall, a highly detailed, deeply reflective work of the utmost quality.
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October 6, 2022
Update 10/6/22 continued reading, will write a comprehensive review from these notes upon completion
Getting near the end, and I am enjoying to see her arguments starting to come to a head. I've been thinking about Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own a lot in these past few chapters as much of Beauvoir's goal is to show how the counter to objectification and subjugation will be found in attaining equal footing in work and financial mobility, basically being able to have space for one's own. A lot of criticisms I've read on second-wave feminism by those who came after make a lot more sense reading these chapters, as there isn't much attention to the idea that there are many intersections of identity (race, sexual orientation, etc) that provide further barriers to equality in work/economic opportunity and there is a lot to be said that this aim just makes one complicit in a system that profits from oppression instead of full liberation for all. So there is that to consider.

'all human existence is transcendence and immanence at the same time'

Anyways, the next few chapters look at social roles of women, particularly as a mother or married woman, and Beauvoir argues how the roles and institutions themselves are constricting in and of themselves. Marriage, for instance, is so socially couched in ideas of being the property of a husband and subservient to care for the household that she calls it being cut off mid-life from the mainstream of life. In society, she says men are seen as the producers and wives are seen as accessories and therefor the role itself becomes demeaning. Similarly in the chapter on mothers, social roles have enforced that in motherhood the 'new existence is going to manifest itself and justify her existence,' as if a woman needs an external justification of her existence at all. Much of society is centered around treating women as if their life's worth hinges on this biological function and distributes shame if they do not 'fulfill' it, teaching her that she is merely the 'plaything of obscure forces' do remove any sense of self-agency. This gets into early conversations about contraceptives and fertility treatments, showing that political legislation over them is entirely for the purpose of bodily control and is another aspect of society that culminates in beating down women into feeling their own bodies are not theirs but the property of men.

Largely, these chapters argue that economic opportunity and accumulation of capital in equal footing with men would have a 'purifying role; it abolishes the war of the sexes.' While this feels admittedly short sighted, it is interesting to consider as a necessary step in order to even be at the table for further discussion on dismantling patriarchal oppression. She also argues that it is necessary to remove the knee-jerk response of men against any statements towards equality or rights for women in that so many arguments are dismissed before they are even heard, so gaining a voice at all is needed.
More to come!

Update 9/23/22 continued reading, will update as I go and compile into a reworked review when finished.
After the section on myths, which was a great analysis of literary works and how the Othering of women is embedded in cultural narratives and religious stories, de Beauvoir turns her attention to the lived experiences of women in society and how the social norms become oppressive emotionally, psychologically and physically.
There is a sharp analysis on how women are socialized from an early age to become passive, even as simple and early on as the nature of gendered toys. Studies have detected that toys 'for girls' tend to focus on ideas of domesticity, nurturing and physical beauty, whereas toys 'for boys' are more active and focus on physical activity, aggression and labor. If found reading this section I was often reminded of Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in which she points out ' baby girls are given less room and more rules and baby boys more room and fewer rules,' as well as that 'Many cultures and religions control women’s bodies in one way or another...the reason is not about women, but about men,' and that many ideas of 'respectibility 'reduces women to mere props used to manage the appetites of men.'

There is also the aspect that girls are brought into household chores and caretaking responsibility earlier and to higher degrees of labor than boys and socialized into believing caretaking is part of their identity whereas boys enjoy the fruit of the unpaid and under appreciated labor. In Dr. Kate Manne's collection Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women has a chapter on men's entitlement to domestic labor from women, citing a study that showed '46% of fathers reported being coequal parents,' and of those 'only 32% of mothers concurred with their assessment.' Not only do a majority of fathers not view coequal parenting as part of their duty, but the ones who think they are often are not actually coequal, the message being that women's domestic labor is so engrained as normal in society as much of it becomes invisible. This sort of thing is what Simone is getting at: to be a woman is to be undervalued which further's the Othering.

'woman has a more authentic experience of herself.'

Most interesting here was de Beauvoir's rebuttal on Freud's idea of 'penis envy'. She points out that men are able to focus their sexual ideas into one body organ whereas for a woman their focus of sexuality is on their entire body, which shapes them into seeing themselves entirely as a sexual object that moves through the world. As they are taught at a young age that sex is something a woman should feel shame over (as well as a dirty idea), they are therefor taught to feel shame for their own bodies which becomes psychologically emphasized as they develop in puberty. She argues that man's 'anatomical destiny' is different from women's 'from the biological, social, and psychological points of view,' and sexual initiation is not only received but perceived differently based on gender roles. We have a man being congratulated for being sexually active whereas a woman is shamed, for example. She also points out that for every sexual act there is the fear of pregnancy: sex is understood entirely inside the body whereas for a man it is outside of themselves and something they can walk away from.

With regard to the idea that a woman is socialized into feeling shame for the body as a sexual object where men are not, it is interesting to see the double standards. First there is that women are shamed by society for sexual activity whereas society high-fives men, but with regard to the body society also looks at ideas of self-improvement of one’s body differently. Take gym culture for example. Men shaping their body into ideas of strength and attraction is coded in language as self-improvement and also used in a hierarchy of masculinity. If used for attracting a woman it is less about themselves and more “look at how much better I am compared to the bodies of other men,” and “winning” an attractive woman is centered on having her as an accessory, an object to display like a trophy of ego they can show off to friends as a mark of pride. Interestingly enough it is often with aims for the male gaze (Shoutout to my friend Hope for having an amazing discussion about this with me, their ideas are represented in these paragraphs as we dug into the theories).

It is something they are given space to feel pride in, whereas a woman’s focus on the body is seen as being full of oneself. And much of gym culture involves what Beauvoir notes is socialized as feminine gender roles, from positioning the whole body as a sexual object to shaving legs, framing clothing that emphasizes the sexual attraction etc. The language around it in marketing products for men is that it is for strength, self-improvement and confidence but for women products are sold as “beauty products”. For men it is socialized as a positive and ego-boosting, for women it is seen as something they should improve and “fix” about their image: the dichotomy of self-improvement between increasing confidence (for men) versus reducing shame (for women).

The chapter on lesbian activity is quite unfortunate and rather outdated. de Beauvoir makes assumptions that being a lesbian is a choice, one made out of social context instead of 'sexual destiny', which is a bad take that assumes one can simply decide to not be queer. She views heterosexuality and homosexuality as equal, though claims that a woman chooses to become a lesbian out of resentment for the limitations of femininity. Ugh, this chapter is a bit frustrating and was critqued often later on.

More to come as I keep on, next chapter is on Mothers and should be interesting in light of what she wrote about mothers in Inseparable.

Endeavouring through Simone de Beauvoir’s seminal work, The Second Sex, with my bookclub and I’ve decided to review it piece by piece as a place to organize my thoughts and discuss with goodreads friends as we page through the book. This work, with famous lines such as ‘one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman,’ became a cornerstone for feminism when it appeared in 1949, a groundbreaking treatise that would spark second-wave feminism and become a major work of 21st century philosophy. What stands out most notably so far is how much this is an extremely intelligent mind at work and how much the framing of the writing is important to its message, with book one covering a lot of territory and establishing a framework for her to make arguments within from a place where reactionary rebuttals have already been preempted and nullified. It’s important, I feel, to consider the context of when this was written and I’m attempting to approach it on its terms, though I am interested in reading more modern feminist critiques on the work (particularly with regard to race and queer identities) because nothing fascinates me more than seeing ideas reshaped and building upon each other across time. On that note, this is an important work in terms of academic canonization as, with academia, much work is building upon what came before and women have been largely underrepresented through history. I am enjoying this so far and will be reshaping this review as I progress.

I am reading the unabridged version translated by Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier. Interestingly, The Second Sex was very quickly translated into English upon its initial publication, arriving in English just three years later in 1952. The translation was notably poor, with many deletions and mistranslations of key terms, as well as breaking the text up into smaller paragraphs thought to suit a more American reader style. Personally I like seeing it as being confronted by a big wall of text, adding to the overall impression that this is a towering and powerful work that would not be silenced and demanded to be listened to. It is also interesting to consider that the first translation was by zoologist Howard M. Parshley, and that a man was reframing De Beauvoir’s arguments on gender into English might raise an eyebrow or two.

Book I

Thus humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him; she is not regarded as an autonomous being.

The main argument in The Second Sex is that men fundementally oppress women by relegating them to the status of “Other” and defining them in opposition to men. Men, she argues, seek to transcend themselves (‘its project is not stagnation: it seeks to surpass itself’) and consider themselves to be the center of Self, with women an outside player. ‘The world has always belonged to males,’ she states, ‘and none of the reasons given for this have ever seemed sufficient.’ In order to define how this came to be, De Beauvoir looks at biology, psychoanalysis and historical materialism to establish a framework to understand how women came to be Othered and how the ‘eternal feminine’ has been reinforced by constructs. A major function of the opening few chapters is to impress upon the reader that much of social norms and operations are constructs and detangling how they came to be helps to understand how oppression and ‘Othering’ of women is for the purpose of dominance over them and not any factual reality.

What is a woman’ De Beauvoir asks in the introduction and reminds us that binaries of man/woman only exist as a linguistic construct. She argues that man considers themselves the Subject and women as a reproductive body. In the first chapter, De Beauvoir asks ‘what does the female represent in the animal kingdom? And what unique kind of female is realized in woman?’ and examines how a woman’s ‘body is not enough to define her…biology alone cannot provide an answer to the question….why is woman the Other?’ She shows countless examples of how division into binary sexes is not universal. She also examines how menstruation and pregnancy is when a woman ‘feels most acutely that her body is an alienated opaque thing,’ something she argues is not present in any other mammal to the level of subjugation and alienation felt by human women. She argues it is social constructs aligning to make women feel their body is ‘something other than her.

In the chapter on psychoanalysis, De Beauvoir refutes Freud’s notion that women consider themselves merely ‘damaged men’ and posits that his assumption of women is based entirely on ‘masculine destiny’ with women outside it. She rejects sexuality as the entire basis for personality. Similarly, in the chapter on historic materialism, she rejects the idea that oppression of women and them being “Othered” is entirely economical struggles, though her she does say it is one part of the reasoning.

De Beauvoir looks at the historical context of how this came to be. Examining social roles of women as opposed to men, arguing that men doing the warring and physical defense while women maintained daily life chores brought about an impression of women as something lesser and an object to protect instead of an equal. This was furthered, she says, when men began obtaining property, considering women as just another aspect of property. She argues that women such as sex workers are more free than married women, though acknowledges there is a trade-off of financial independence and security and social independence.

The aspects that have most grabbed me are the aspects on how storytelling reinforces constructs and systemic oppression. Myths become a way to deliver social values, as well as religion and De Beauvoir looks at how much religion has been used to enforce the binary and Othering of women (milage may vary based on religion, she shows). This is interesting to consider in modern context when we talk about who is being centered and what stories are being given space, much in the way Edward W. Said wrote about how storytelling can be an agent of colonialism. The reflections on religious stories being used to subjugate women (ie De Beauvoir discusses Genesis as placing woman as coming from man and also initiating eating of the forbidden fruit) have enforced a patriarchial church structure rampant with misogyny: think how witch hunts historically were violent reactions against behavior such as women owning property, not having children or any other activity that could be said to be 'immoral'.

More to come as I read on! If anyone has some great article, I would LOVE to read them and share with my book club!
Profile Image for Dream.M.
505 reviews90 followers
October 1, 2021
یکی از مهمترین دلایلی که جامعه‌ای مردسالار رو به مقابله با استقلال و برابری خواهی زنان برمی‌انگیزه، هراسِ از دست رفتن زنانگی، ملاحت و جاذبه جنسی زن هستش. اونها از شبیه شدن زنها و مردها به هم وحشت دارن و در حقیقت برابری خواهی رو معادل شبیه‌شدن قرار میدن. مردها میترسن زنها به استقلال جنسی و مالکیت تن دست پیدا کنن، چون تصور میکنن در این صورت عشرتشون کم و دست‌یابی به لذت دشوار میشه. اونها میترسن در این عرصه از عرش حاکمیت کنترل تن و میل جنسی زنها پایین بیان چون میخوان کنترل همه جانبه رابطه جنسی با خودشون باشه . هرگونه اختیار و آزادی زنها اونها رو به هراس میندازه، بطوریکه اغلب کل این میل و گرایشها رو در زن انکار میکنن.
در بحثی که با" ف "درباره روشهای جلوگیری از بارداری داشتیم، صحبت به قرصهای ضد بارداری مردانه و عدم استقبالش از طرف جامعه کشید. و دیدیم حتی توی ویکی پدیا هم درباره مهمترین نگرانی مصرف این قرصها به عوارضی نظیر کم شدن میل جنسی اقایون اشاره شده . در حالیکه انواع قرصها، آمپولها و ابزار خارجی مورد استفاده خانمها قرار میگیره و کمترین نگرانی که درموردش صحبت میشه همین تاثیرش بر روی میزان میل جنسی هستش. تا این حد یعنی ://
درباره کتاب:
باید بگم کتاب جالبیه اما مطلب جدیدی برای من نداشت . با توجه به حجم اطلاعات و سرعت بالا رفتن آگاهی در زمینه مسائل زنان در سالهای اخیر، فکر میکنم متن کتاب قدیمی شده باشه. قطعا در گذشته کتاب بسیار آگاهی بخشی بوده ، بعضی مطالب هنوزم جذابن، ولی بیشتر مطالب رو میدونستم و از طریق پیج های اینستاگرام و صفحات فمنیستی باهاشون اشنا شده بودم .
داستانهای زندگی شخصی افراد و تعریف کردن خاطرات هم برام کسل کننده بودن حقیقتش و دوستشون نداشتم.
چیزی هم که روی اعصابم بود ،استفاده از واژه "همجنسباز" به جای "همجنسگرا" بود.
تصمیم دارم دنبال کتابهای جدیدتر درباره زنان و فمنیسم باشم و اطلاعات به روز بدست بیارم حتمن :)
این ریویوو رو دوباره خوندم و حسرت روزهایی رو خوردم که بحثهای خوبی با هم میکردیم و چقدر از هم یادمیگرفتیم
Profile Image for Elenabot.
39 reviews458 followers
March 9, 2017
To seem, rather than to see, to appear, rather than to be: this, in a nutshell, has been woman's existential project thus far, according to de Beauvoir. Woman's historic destiny has prohibited her from developing into a self, understood as an autonomous ontic unit and agent. Instead, hers has been a merely instrumental existence defined entirely by her social roles. Never a maker of meaning, her success in life was defined to the extent that she was a suitable canvas for receiving others' meanings. This philosophical document is first of all, whatever else it might be, a sustained exploration of what it means to know, to be, to make, and ultimately to become a self. De Beauvoir starts from the perplexing situation in which she encounters her selfhood as somehow incomplete, and deeply problematic to herself. From this starting point, she can ask the million-dollar question of philosophy anew (and for our benefit): and namely, What does it really take to know a self, our self?

The first thing one should note about this book is that it was not originally intended as a political treatise; it wasn't made with the intention of shouting shrill slogans over a megaphone. Its aim is philosophical understanding of the human condition, not political expediency. As such, it eschews neat and tidy ideological divisions in its essence, and prefers to obliquely cast a searching light on the rich ambiguity of this queer dual nature we experience as sexual beings, and the implications this has for our sense of identity and our experience of meaning. De Beauvoir's work finds insight not in ideological formulations, but in the poignant and possibly unanswerable questions brought up by the tensions and dualities that seem intrinsic to the human condition, and that, perhaps, the ideologue in his/her search for the perfectly defined political dogma will always and of necessity gloss over. Her highest strength as a thinker attempting to venture in this gender minefield is that she guides herself therein less by a pursuit of ideological neatness, and more by an effort to attain a philosophical consciousness that can comprehend a perhaps intractable ambiguity.

The impulse to “Know thyself” is shown here to cut across all artificial barriers of specialization: de Beauvoir comes to herself through biological and historical research (hormones and hearth, glands and cosmetics), literary and mythological critique, with all of this capped by philosophical reflection. She shows how, in the effort to know our condition, philosophy can contain, inform and direct all partial disciplinary inquiries and perspectives (a modern and biographical take on the more traditional ideal of philosophy as a “queen of the sciences”).

When most people think of self-knowledge, they tend to conceive this process in purely subjectivist terms, in short, in terms of looking into material accessible only to the individual consciousness. Somewhere in the swarmy mess of impulses, affects, personal memories, belief commitments and gut feelings, you are told, you shall find Your Self. In contrast, I suspect she would sympathize with Mann's insight in The Magic Mountain: “A man lives not only his personal life, as an individual, but also, consciously or unconsciously, the life of his epoch and his contemporaries.” As such, the work goes far beyond our culture's subjectivist approach to self-knowledge, in order to illuminate us to ourselves in our guise as participants in the unfolding of larger historical patterns.

Our lives are shaped by the accreted sediment of decisions made by past generations; within the domain circumscribed by those decisions, we exist. And some of the most fundamental decisions we make and inherit are decisions regarding meaning, or about how to shape our human experience. The semantic tools available for the shaping of self are our most critical inheritance from the past. Self-knowledge thus implies far more than insight into personal experience; it necessitates developing a historical consciousness of the inherited patterns of meaning-making that we have available for shaping our individual consciousness of self as it emerges at this given moment in time. So, to understand the female self as it has been historically constrained to develop, she targets her philosophical analysis to the representational tools - and their limits - that she has had available for her self-construction.

The problem of incompletely formulated selfhood that she starts from, de Beauvoir takes great pains to suggest, is not merely a piece of her idiosyncratic subjective biographical trajectory, but is, in a sense, our problem as well, to the extent that we are inheritors of a cultural heritage that does not afford us with the semantic tools that we need in order to lay claim to our experience through its shaping. It is in this effort of shaping that autonomy is slowly consolidated and that we become a genuine acting unity, or a full-fledged individual. A guiding thematic thread in her work is the exploration of how various cultural myths restrict woman to the contrary of autonomy, which she calls a state of “immanence.” This state of immanence is, for her, a stultifying state for a human existent to occupy, whose inward striving relentlessly impels her to a “transcendence” through autonomy.

The inherited semantic tools, far from helping woman shape her experience so as to converge on an autonomous perspective, instead restrict her to an "immanent" identity wholly defined by her contingent web of relations. She must ever define herself as daughter, as mother, as wife, as friend, as helper, as nurturer, as muse, as treacherous slut. The one position that is off-limits is her own, that is, her knowing of herself as irreducible existent and autonomous center of meaning. Her knowing of the one thing that no one can give to her, nor take away from her, is unavailable to her as so long as she operates through the inherited, self-alienating semantic paradigm. This centrifugal, purely contingent existence, de Beauvoir persuasively argues, is a humanly incomplete mode of being. As long as we only know to look outside ourselves for our psychological substance, we are lost to ourselves. We never fully come to be, as a self.

The trouble is that, for a woman coming to consciousness, the collective heritage she finds is invariably an inheritance of scars, caricatures, and symbolic deformations. A young woman, growing to consciousness of self, must find herself in relation to an inheritance of meanings predominantly shaped by her male Other, for whom she can only figure as an object that exists solely in relation to his aspirations and needs. Her fulfilment as an existent – as well as her fitness in the world - are both defined in instrumental terms, in relation to her capacity to fulfil his need for meaning. The pressing existential issue becomes, for her, to mould herself so as to become meaningful to him, whatever meaning he might need for her to embody.

It is a queer sort of destiny, to exist only insofar as one is an object for the perception and appreciation of another. De Beauvoir lingers on this strange self-alienation, say, in a woman's use of self-ornamentation, in which she reflexively comes to see herself from the outside in. The reductive mirror image becomes internalized, creating a profound sense of dissociation from herself. “The lived body,” as Merleau-Ponty calls it, becomes merely an object to contour just-so, for another's gaze. She can seldom ever just be; she must ever seem, through some kind of relentless necessity, even as in so doing she merely starves herself of her true sustenance. Such can only be provided by a richer relationship with her world, established intrinsically, through the taproot of her autonomy.

“The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages,” Woolf aptly put it, and de Beauvoir concurs: others' gazes determine to a very profound extent the shape of our destinies as women. There are so many painfully surgical descriptions here of the growing woman's developmental history as she finds herself sliced up, bit by bit, by others' glances, and hedged into what becomes “her place”: “The young girl feels that her body is getting away from her. (...) On the street men follow her with their eyes and comment on her anatomy. She would like to be invisible; it frightens her to become flesh and to show flesh.” Thus, a growing woman learns that she, as an embodied being, is not just a locus for meaning-making, but, even more urgently for her survival and flourishing in the world, is an object-for-others. She must continually extrude herself from Herself, and shape herself as an object of perception and evaluation for the Other.

The goal of life is for her not learning to see, but managing how others see her; it is not coming to realization, but being instrumental to others'. As she matures, woman is progressively constrained to inhabit her subject-stance only partially, to the extent that meanings gleaned from the Other's, often alienating perspective afford her indirect access to her self. She must ever seek herself through his eyes. As such, she is doomed to encounter herself only as image. In phenomenological parlance, her stance is self-objectifying, never fully subjective.

De Beauvoir's extensive analysis here of how background mythical constructs of Nature regulate the alternative ways women are perceived is brilliant. Through the identification of woman as an instrument of nature, she acquires the characteristics – positive or negative – ascribed to Nature itself. This makes some psychological sense. Aside from our own bodies, nature comes closest to our minds in our confrontation with the other sex. The other sex is nature to us, nature come terrifyingly/ecstatically close... and yet, nature that remains ungraspably other and alien to our consciousness. The problem here, is of course, that it is only the male that is the center of perspective; the female is the “absolute other,” and is thus -identified- with pure (inhuman) nature. She is either the nurturant mother “nature,” the all-encompassing nurturant principle of sympathy, or else, nature as the beast that ensnares merely to devour.

She thus finds herself in a rather impossible position, internalizing a tradition of self-alienating representations made of her, which supposedly exhaust her nature, while nonetheless being radically alien to this tradition in the innermost truth of her experience, for which she has inherited few clear words that she can make entirely her own, few artistically embodied meanings, and almost no usable philosophical formulations. What self can she scrounge up out of such scattered fragments?

This dissociation from lived experience and personal meaning-making is a big price to pay for social survival. And if Mary Pipher is correct in Reviving Ophelia, this same fate of premature developmental arrest due to internalizing a self-alienating perspective still awaits young girls today. The choice is grim: a girl must choose between love and belonging, on the one hand, and full self-development, on the other. The situation's rigged such that she often cannot have both. As Pipher ruefully notes, when questioned, people define “feminine development” and full “adult development” in antithetical terms. Thus, to be a properly “feminine” woman, as per our cultural norms, is to be a psychologically disabled adult, incapable of agency or of self-directed logical judgment. In short, she must choose between the demands of her relational self and those of her autonomous self, between alienation and amputation.

The tension created by attempting to inhabit a subject stance only through self-alienating representational tools is only part of the conflict de Beauvoir finds in a woman's coming-to-consciousness. A further tension is added by the very duality of human, sexual nature, which introduces an additional, and deeply ambiguous constraint through the relational mutuality of the sexes.

De Beauvoir finds, “with a kind of surprise” - and it seems to me also (understandable) dismay - that she is first and foremost a woman. Yet am I first a woman when I close my eyes and think? Is our sexuality really the primal reality of our conscious experience?

When I sit down and reflect, and there's nobody in the room, I seem to myself to be just a good ole thinking... thing... A light flickering in the darkness. I seem to myself indivisible, the center of my phenomenal experience, a sort of singularity. Wittgenstein seems to have got it better than de Beauvoir: “The philosophical I is not the man, not the human body or the human soul of which psychology treats, but the metaphysical subject, the limit - not a part of the world.” I become a aware of my sexuality only when confronted by another, and shoved back into being just a partial being, one item of the duality of human nature – a woman. Does Simone de Beauvoir really mean to say that walking in the forest, alone, with only the trees for her companions, she really feels the word “woman” has any meaning when applied to her conscious experience?

Well, no, as she describes those rare moments in nature when one fully inhabits oneself as a center of meaning-making consciousness, uncircumscribed by any Other's gaze. From her text I glean that sexuality is a kind of polarization we undergo when mingled with others; it is the form of our being-in-relation. We get pushed into one pole to complement the encountered other and to balance out the interaction. There is the same sort of difference here as between the dark expansiveness that Woolf's Mrs Ramsay (“To the Lighthouse”) encounters in herself when she rests contained in her unreachable solitude, on the one hand, and her gushy all-nurturing effusiveness when circumscribed within her role as mother/wife/society pillar, on the other.

This implies a strange double meaning for her foundational self-recognition as a woman: she is, simultaneously, one part of the sexually dual form human nature manifests, and an autonomous, irreducible unity in her own right. She is fundamentally free, yet also fundamentally a self emerging and constructing itself in relation to an other. This brings me to the central difficulty I have with her argument. The former is in keeping with her Existentialist commitments: absolutely autonomous, free choice is the stuff of human life.The latter suggests a teleological ordering of the sexes into a structure of essential relatedness and interdependence. The former divides the world into sovereign individuals, each initiating contractual relations through the sheer force of personal choice unmotivated by any natural impulse to relate; the latter makes of us community animals, as both sexes are partial beings, each requiring union with the other for its completion.

The whole drama of this conflict comes out in sharp relief in her description of the queer metamorphosis of selfhood that is motherhood. "Pregnancy is above all a drama that is acted out within the woman herself. She feels it as at once an enrichment and an injury; the fetus is part of her body, and it is a parasite that feeds on it; she possesses it, and she is possessed by it; it represents the future and, carrying it she feels herself vast as the world; but this very opulence annihilates her, she feels that she herself is no longer anything. (...) Ensnared by nature, the pregnant woman is plant and animal, a stock-pile of colloids, an incubator, an egg; she scares children proud of their young, straight bodies and makes young people titter contemptuously because she is a human being, a conscious and free individual, who has become life's passive instrument." Motherhood is just such a time when one's usual notion of autonomous, individual selfhood is terrifyingly overthrown. At such a time, a woman becomes swamped by immanence, she feels herself to be a mere "passive instrument" of life. She is completely absorbed into the relational function of her subjectivity.

Here, in motherhood, de Beauvoir comes in headlong collision with the critical problematic of female identity, and its seemingly intractable struggle to preserve a sense of independent self that survives the pressures of impinging relationships, for motherhood is the ultimate of all impingements. Your sense of self before and after cannot remain the same. The birth of my two children, at least, was experienced as a crisis moment in which I myself was tasked to a rebirth, a movement from independent to interdependent selfhood.

How DO you reconcile these two? Well, she doesn't. It seems to me that she gives perfect expression to the whole problem of our dual nature (both uncompromisingly autonomous and intrinsically relational), without truly recognizing it as a problem, never mind venturing a solution. Learning to simultaneously honour the self in its autonomy and in its full capacity for self-giving relationship, or to reconcile, in short, the seemingly conflicting demands of self-actualization and relational self-transcendence, would bring greater harmony to a society deeply divided between these two currently conflicting trajectories.

A lot of the meaning of "woman" and "man," she says, was written over and distorted by a great deal of symbolic mechanisms gone wrong and taking on a life of their own, thereby blocking the spontaneous expression of our true sexual nature. "When we abolish the slavery of half of humanity, together with the whole system of hypocrisy it implies, then the "division" of humanity will reveal its genuine significance and the human couple will find its true form." Just so, the full realization of one element of the duality empowers the other to find his true form, in a relation that now manifests its true form for the first time.

What if we have never really spoken truly about ourselves, about our experience, and about the true nature of our relations? This thought haunts much of her work, and I respect that. Thus, she very profoundly partakes of the modern project to re-define the fundamentals of the human condition, or, at least, to re-explore, once more, what seemed to be a foreclosed issue. Her philosophical work is a clearing ground for accreted symbolic clutter that lives on only by a kind of inertia and distorts all that is seen and felt, thereby blocking out deeper reserves of meaning.

It is for us to ponder the means to a larger perspective that can contain the intractable ambiguities that she has so faithfully recorded for us here. Her work provides a map that lays out what it takes to genuinely know – and fully become - our own selves. Her unique historico-philosophical approach to self-knowledge encourages us to know our lives by placing our most intimate personal experience in the context of the broadest perspective attainable at our historic moment. Like all great thinkers who had anything of value to teach about self-knowledge, de Beauvoir holds before us the image of a great tree. In order to understand our particular twig, we must recover a map of the larger tree that holds us in place. The meanings that shape us and limit us can be seen truly only in this perspective of historical depth. This map is the surest ground on which we can lay out our personal stories.
Profile Image for Michael.
655 reviews964 followers
June 25, 2020
Foundational and packed with insight, so much so that much of the work's worth checking out, even if parts now read as dated. In dense, dizzying prose the first volume critiques psychoanalysis and Marxism, overviews the history of women in Western civ, and unpacks the assumptions behind sexist cultural myths; the second walks through the major stages of human life and considers how they differ for men and women, implicitly focusing on the experiences of middle-class white Europeans. The first is more specific and engaging than the second, which's prone to long stretches of abstraction about the condition of bourgeois housewives that are easy to skim today, though Volume II's observations on birth control, sex work, and what Adrienne Rich would later rebrand as compulsory heterosexuality are sharp and still spot on. As with other paradigm-shifting thinkers of the 20th century, de Beauvoir's thought's been absorbed into the mainstream, but there are shades of nuance drawn here that are often lost in summaries of her work.
Profile Image for Jojo Richardson.
30 reviews26 followers
February 23, 2015
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 to the default, regardless of how I choose to see myself.

The book is divided into philosophical, literary, and biological reflections of the feminine. While the biology hasn't necessarily stood the scientific test of time (an inevitable danger when you combine science and philosophy), de Beauvoir still brings up interesting points. Similarly, although I hadn't read- nor have I bothered to read since- many of the authors that she delves into in the literary section, the book has had the effect of making a sort of gender studies media critic out of me, always asking how and why women are represented in the larger culture. For me, the most solid part of the book was the philosophy section (which one might expect from a philosopher). The ideas that de Beauvoir has put forth about what it means to be a woman, not in a trite "Mars and Venus" kind of way, but at a fundamental level and seen through the lens of society, have encouraged me to look at the world and my place in it in a more thoughtful and rigorous manner.
Profile Image for Tahani Shihab.
592 reviews868 followers
July 6, 2021
الجنس الآخر ـ سيمون دي بوفوار

من خلال ما سطرت الكاتبة أستطيع أن أجزم أنها عانت في طفولتها بل في جميع مراحل حياتها من اضطهاد الرجل لها، لذلك سعت إلى نشر الحركة النسوية ضدّ الرجال.

فلو خُلقت الكاتبة في بيئة غير البيئة التي نشأت فيها لَرُبَّمَا أحبّت الرجل ـ ذاك الذي هاجمتهُ الكاتبة بشدّة في كتابها وأنزلت عليه كلّ المآسي التي تواجهها المرأة في جميع مراحل حياتها منذ ولادتها حتى مماتها. وكأنّ الرجل هو من خلقها وكوّنها بهذه الصورة وهذه النشأة. وكأن الرجل هو المسؤول الأوحد في كلّ ما تمر به الأنثى من تغيرات فيزيولوجية وبيولوجية ونفسية معقدة خلال مراحل وسنين حياتها.

تقول الكاتبة: “إن المرأة العادية ذات الميول الحيوانية لا تشعر بالإهانة من جراء الجماع، على عكس المرأة المثقفة المفكرة التي تحتج عليه، لأنها واثقة من نفسها وذات طبع نضالي”.

هل أصبح الجماع بين الرجل والمرأة شيء مُهين للمرأة وحيواني، بينما السِّحَاق الذي تؤيده الكاتبة بشدّة في الكتاب تعتبره شيء طبيعي؟! حيثُ تقول الكاتبة “إن الرجل يعيش في عالم مليء بالنعومة والرقة في عالم المرأة، بينما تتيه المرأة على غير هدى في عالم الذكور الخشن القاسي. إن يديها لتحنّ إلى ضم الجسد الناعم واللحم الغض”.!

برأي ما هو شاذ وخارج عن الفطرة هو انجذاب المرأة نحو المرأة وكذلك انجذاب الرجل نحو الرجل فهذا ما يدعو للتفكر وما يدعو للغوص في معرفة سبب هذا الانجذاب الغير فطري!

إذا لم تُقنّن الحُرية تحت ضوابط وقوانين وشرع لأصبح بني البشر مثل الحيوانات، لا؛ بل الحيوان يقترف أن يمارس التزاوج مع بني جنسهِ أي الذكر مع الذكر والأنثى مع الأنثى مع عدا القردة.!

أناصر بشدّة ما رمت إليه الكاتبة في توعية المرأة وتعليمها، وبأنّ عليها أن تتحرّر من تبعية الرجل وتسلّطه، وهذا لن يحصل إلا إذا ارتقت بالعلم والفكر ونفت عنها الجهل. بل أضيف أن المرأة لو اكتفت بحظّها المادي من الحياة، لكانت أسعد مخلوقة. ولكن بما أنها تسعى دائمًا وراء من يلبي رغباتها ويُشبع نزواتها ماديًا، فهي ستظل أَمَة لِشَرّ نفسها ثم لِشَرّ من يموّلها بالمادة.

أؤيد بعض ما جاء في الكتاب ولا أؤيد أشياء أخرى وردت فيه، مثل استشهادها بقول مارو: “إن الفرق بين النساء اللواتي يبعن أنفسهن عن طريق الدعارة والبغاء، وبين اللواتي يبعن أنفسهن بواسطة الزواج، ينحصر في ثمن ومدة عقد البيع”.! مقارنة عقيمة وفي غير محلها إذ هناك فرق كبير بين الزواج الشرعي وبين البغاء.

من ناحية المساواة في الأجور، فقد أصابت الكاتبة، فالمرأة إلى يومنا هذا لم تنال حقّها الوافي من الأجر مقارنةً بالرجل. فحقّها مهضوم من قبل من شرّع القوانين وسنّها. فالتمييز مازال موجوداً بحكم هيمنة من بيده الأمر والنهي الرجل. ولكن الرجل قد سلب المساواة أيضًا من أخيه الرجل عندما عندما احتلّ وسجن وعذّب وقتل وشرّد كل مناوئ له. عندما أشعل الفتن والحروب وعندما جيّش الجيوش للقتال واحتلال دول أخرى فأهلك الحرث والنسل. وعندما حقّر العامل البسيط وسلبهُ قوت يومهِ وعندما لم ينصف ذوي المهارات والعقول في منحهم فرص للنبوغ والتميّز غيرةً وحسدًا.

تقول الكاتبة:” إن ضعف المرأة لا يعود إلى أسباب فطرية في طبيعتها، وإنما إلى حالتها العامة التي يفرضها عليها المجتمع منذ حداثتها حتى أواخر أيامها”.

كلنا يعلم بأن المرأة تستطيع أن تتحمل أعباء الحياة أكثر من الرجل، فباستطاعتها أن تنجب، وأن تعول أسرة دون رجل، وأن تهتم بدراسة أولادها وترعى شؤون بيتها المنزلية في آنٍ واحد. ولكنها لا تستطيع أن تمارس بعض الأعمال الشاقة كالرجال، مثل حمل الأشياء الثقيلة، ممارسة البناء ونقل الأحجار، ممارسة اَلنِّجَارَة وَالسِّبَاكَة، التعلق على الدرج لفترة طويلة لممارسة النقش والدهان في البيوت والعمارات، تصفية الزجاج في العمارات الشاهقة، قيادة المركبات الثقيلة مثل نقل البضائع والمواد الخام من دولة لأخرى إلخ إلخ.. وهناك أعمال لا يستطيع الرجل ممارستها مثل الحمل والإنجاب والإرضاع، خلاصة القول إن كُلّ مُيسّر لما خُلق، فلدى الرجل قدرات لا تستطيع الأنثى أن توازيه، وكذلك للأنثى قدرات لا يستطيع الرجل أن يباريها فيه.

إن قلب معادلة الخالق في خلقهِ والقول بأنّ الرجل يريد المرأة فقط للمتعة والإنجاب ليس صحيحًا. فالمرأة تُخلق وفي كيانها أنثى رقيقة تتوق للحُب والأمومة. وما انجذابها نحو الرجل إلّا شيء فطري وليس بسبب التربية. كما هو أيضًا بالنسبة للرجل ما انجذابه نحو الأنثى إلّا بالفطرة وليس بسبب التربية.

محاولة الكاتبة الإجابة على السؤال:” لماذا تكون المرأة الجنس الآخر؟” هل استطاعت الكاتبة أن تفنّد الجواب بشكل حيادي وعقلاني ومنطقي؟
Profile Image for Asma AlBatli ..
63 reviews205 followers
December 5, 2011
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 تُترك منذ حداثتها لتعيش في جوّ يحفل بالنساء إنتهاء بشيخوختها ..
بدأت تحليلها من وجهة نظر نفسيّة حيث الصراع مابين "آدلر" الذي يرى بأن المرأة محمّلة بمركب نقص مهما كانت مستقلّة .. و "فرويد" الذي يراها تفريغ جنسي .

عرّجت أيضًا على المرأة من وجهة نظر تاريخية : حين كانت كل مرحلة محمّلة بصراع يثبت ماسبق ويُسقط ما استجدّ؛
ففي العصر الحجري جرت العادة على إقتسام العمل بين المرأة والرجل بشكل متساوي
و كانت الأقوام بدائية بشكل يُجهل فيه دور الأب في الإنجاب فالأولاد بالنسبة إليهم ينحدرون من روح الجدود المتقمصّة في جسم المراة .. امّا المرأة فضرورية للإنجاب لذلك أخذت تلعب دورًا اوليًّا .
و في عهد الإقطاع كانت العقدة مُتشابكة؛ فالتداخل بين حق السيادة وحق الملكية قَلب وضع المرأة
و حين اتسع نطاق الإستثمار الزراعي ظهرت الملكية الفردية فصار بإمكان الرجل أن يصبح سيداً للعبيد ومالكاً للمرأة فكان ذاك أشبه بالإنكسار التاريخي الكبير للجنس النسائي

تريد سيمون أن تقعّد رأيها بأنه عند الطبقات الكادحة كان وضع التمييز الأنثوي أفضل لأن الإضطهاد الاقتصادي يلغي التمييز بين الجنسين؛ أما عند النبلاء والبرجوازيين فالمراة مضطهدة كجنس ليس لها الا وجود طفيلي .

"إن نضال المرأة لم يكن قطّ إلا نضالًا رمزيًّا
هي لا تقبل المصير الذي يعدّه لها المجتمع؛ ولكنها لا ترفضه مع ذلك بصورة إيجابية لأنها مزعزعة الثقة في قرارة نفسها بشكل لا تجرأ على الدخول في صراع مع العالم الخارجي فتكتفي بالهروب من الواقع أو الاحتجاج عليه ومعارضته بصورة رمزيّة ".
Profile Image for El.
1,355 reviews502 followers
September 15, 2016
As a feminist, it's been recommended to me for years that I read Simone de Beauvoir's 1949 book, The Second Sex. As a regular person, though, I have always felt like it "wasn't the right time" to read it.

What does that even mean?

As someone living as "the second sex" myself, there is no excuse for this. I was lazy, bottom line. It's a big book, and while big books do not normally frighten me, I was worried I wouldn't be smart enough for Simone de Beauvoir. She was, from what I understand, a highly intelligent and talented existentialist writer, and here I am practically picking my nose while I decide what kind of cereal I want to eat for dinner tonight. I mean, I'm not the dimmest light in the pack, but I'm also not the brightest. I'm just regular.

But as I am pushing 40, it's been on my mind that I should really read this book. There's probably never the right time, maybe the time is right now. We read this as a group here on GR, and I'm afraid to say I sort of disappeared during any discussion of it because life got in my way, but I persevered anyway because I was finally ready to commit to Simone.

And what a commitment it was.

I read Betty Friedan's classic The Feminine Mystique a few years back and what was surprising to me about that book was that it read so easily and smoothly. I think for that reason alone Friedan may have reached more of her audience than Beauvoir did, though this does not automatically mean we should be ignoring Beauvoir. Quite the opposite, really.

The book is large, yes. And it is dense, yes. Beauvoir insists her readers give a bit of themselves in order to read this book, I think. She covers a lot of ground in this book, more than Friedan, though the comparison is unfair since they achieved different things with their writing and came at it from slightly different angles.

Beauvoir's approach covers biology, philosophy, religion, history, you name it. There's very few stones that Beauvoir did not turn in the process of writing this book. She begins with the science of gender and sexuality, and then she walks the reader through the entirety of a woman's life, from her young days to maturity to old age. Beauvoir was 41 when this book was published. Just how long did it take her to write this? Because I'm 38 and she was probably writing this at that age (based on the size and the amount of research she did), and this makes me feel like a colossal failure.

The information here may seem dated to a reader today. There's also so much information that it's easy to glaze over at times. Beauvoir was a French writer, and her lack of love for the Americans is evident in several places in sometimes subtle (other times not so subtle) ways. It's amusing to look back at it now, but the point is she wasn't even wrong. She may have written things in a condescending manner, but she still hit the nail on the head.

Much of her information is still relevant today. There was a section I especially recall in which she talks about abortion, a topic discussed openly way less often back in 1949, and she writes about it in a very matter-of-fact manner. The part that I especially love is that she pointed out how so many people want to prevent abortions, and they encourage many to keep their child. And then, once the woman carries the baby for the greater part of a year, and gives birth to this thing, those same people who encouraged her to keep the baby are suddenly nowhere to be found to help ensure that she and the baby receive all the financial and other support that they need. This is a still a topic of debate today, how conservatives want to tell women what to do with their bodies with lots of promises to "help", and then when the time comes they shrug and say "Not my problem."

I'm totally paraphrasing here. Beauvoir was much too classy to write "Not my problem."

I do recommend this book to, well, anyone who can manage to get through it. It's not the easiest book to read because it just seems too boring. Well, I'm sorry that a woman's life is boring to you. Beauvoir's point was (and should still be) that women are here, we are the other part of the population, and we have a history and a voice of our own.
Profile Image for Kristi  Siegel.
192 reviews595 followers
February 3, 2010
Knocked Up
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 of her desire to have a baby. She felt—being in her early thirties—she should get on with it but would not consider being pregnant while she was still in graduate school. When I asked her why, she responded that pregnancy made you into such a “body,” and in the environment of graduate school, she would feel like “a body among minds.”

Her fear encapsulates a number of assumptions: A mother is a body. A body does not think. Intellectuals—graduate students, faculty, writers—think. Mothers do not think. A woman—as a graduate student or a professor—writes, talks, produces, thinks from the position of a daughter, that is, from the position of a female body still unencumbered enough to think.

Pregnancy or maternity, besides being a position traditionally at odds with intellect (consider the old caveat: “the baby or the book”), also represents loss of control and a resultant discomfort with the body (somatophobia). Marianne Hirsch, in The Mother/Daughter Plot, isolates both lack of control and somatophobia as two areas “of avoidance and discomfort with the maternal” (165) often apparent in feminist rhetoric. In The Women’s Room, one of Marilyn French’s characters sums up pregnancy as a time when a woman loses control of her body (and, by extension, her mind) as well as her identity:
Pregnancy is a long waiting in which you learn what it means completely to lose control over your life. There are no coffee breaks; no days off in which you regain your normal shape and self, and can return refreshed to your labors. You can’t wish away even for an hour the thing that is swelling you up, stretching your stomach until the skin feels as if it will burst, kicking you from the inside until you are black and blue. You can’t even hit back without hurting yourself. The condition and you are identical: you are no longer a person, but a pregnancy. (69)

With pregnancy, you are “no longer a person,” you are no longer “you.” Logically, the next question is, “Will you still be you when you become a mother?”

For Simone de Beauvoir the answer would be “No”: pregnancy and motherhood rob a woman of her identity and her intellect. Over and over again, in her interviews and in her books, Beauvoir refers to mothers as slaves reduced to bodies and cut off from intellectual pursuits. Beauvoir’s description of pregnancy, from her influential book, The Second Sex (1949), sounds very much like the description quoted above from The Women’s Room. While French’s character emphasizes how much pregnancy overtakes a woman’s identity, Beauvoir goes further and depicts pregnancy more like a disease that ultimately annihilates awoman:
[the fetus is:] an enrichment and an injury; the fetus is a part of her body, and it is a parasite that feeds on it; she possesses it, and she is possessed by it; it represents the future and, carrying it, she feels herself vast as the world; but this very opulence annihilates her, she feels that she herself is no longer anything. (emphasis added, 495)

In this theorization, a woman not only loses her former identity in the process of pregnancy, but actually loses her mind, as Beauvoir illustrates when she describes the pregnant woman in less than human terms:
. . . but in the mother-to-be the antithesis of subject and object ceases to exist; she and the child with which she is swollen make up together an equivocal pair overwhelmed by life. Ensnared by nature, the pregnant woman is plant and animal, a stock-pile of colloids, an incubator, an egg; she scares children proud of their young, straight bodies and makes young people titter contemptuously because she is a human being, a conscious and free individual who has become life’s passive instrument. (495)

Beauvoir’s perspective in the above quotation attracts comment. Though The Second Sex ostensibly is presented as an objective critique there is no attempt at objectivity here. In what often amounts to an emotional tirade, Beauvoir relentlessly focuses on the pregnant woman’s body, equating it with an “animal” or a “stockpile of colloids” and then—rather gratuitously—states that a pregnant woman “scares children” and makes them “titter contemptuously.” Beauvoir’s descriptions of pregnancy illustrate her attitudes about the pregnant body and the resultant disintegration of the mind and identity she sees occurring with maternity.

Beauvoir’s attack on motherhood is surprising unless you've read Beauvoir’s autobiographical works. There, you can see how Beauvoir systematically rejects the body—particularly a woman’s body—in favor of the life of the “mind.” And Beauvoir’s research on motherhood proves less than scientific. While she presents her findings in The Second Sex as though they are objective and backed by evidence from broad samplings, her viewpoints on motherhood rest largely on her observations of a few friends, quotes from novels, and her own personal life. Beauvoir, for instance, posits that the nausea women suffer in pregnancy demonstrates that pregnancy is not a natural state for human women given that nausea is “unknown for other mammals” (498). In evidence for this conclusion, Beauvoir preemptively cites herself, referring the reader to an earlier point in her own text!

Whatever groundbreaking work Beauvoir accomplishes in The Second Sex needs to be balanced against Beauvoir’s privileging of the mind over the body as well as her evident distaste for women’s bodily processes and pregnancy in particular. Furthermore, Beauvoir’s desire to erase the body doesn’t work. Ironically, as Jane Flax points out, the search for truth in the world of pure mind ultimately leads right back to the body:
The self, which is constituted by thought and created by an act of thought, by the separation of mind and body, is driven to master nature, because the self cannot ultimately deny its material character or dependence on nature. Despite Descartes’ claim, the body reasserts itself, at least at the moment of death. (28)

And, can one really separate the mind from the body? Jean-François Lyotard provocatively explores this question in his essay, “Can Thought Go On without a Body?” Lyotard considers whether technology could create machines “to make thinking materially possible” after our bodies are destroyed (77). Lyotard concludes that not only is thought impossibly entwined with the body but that the body actually creates thought: “Thinking and suffering overlap” (82). Thought, Lyotard posits, attempts to create endings, to once and for all silence the discomfort of the unthought:
The unthought hurts. It’s uncomfortable because we’re comfortable in what’s already thought. And thinking, which is accepting this discomfort, is also, to put it bluntly, an attempt to have done with it. That’s the hope sustaining all writing (painting, etc.): that at the end, things will be better. As there is no end, this hope is illusory. (84)

The impasse of artificial intelligence thus hinges on desire: thought without body has no impetus. Indeed, Lyotard questions why machines designed to mimic human minds would ever start thinking without the discomfort of the unthought making “their memory suffer” (85). We need, he continues, “machines that suffer from the burden of their memory” (85), i.e., machines with bodies.

But it is precisely this burden, the burden of memory, the burden of the body, Beauvoir hopes to silence as she fashions her life into a trajectory of pure intellect. Increasingly, Beauvoir identifies herself with the life of the mind she associates with the male sphere while simultaneously excising all that connects her to her female body. Though Beauvoir points out many of women’s inequities in A Second Sex and argues that women have often been viewed as the lesser or “other” sex, ironically, it is a sex that Beauvoir seems to reject as well.

adapted from a prior publication
Profile Image for Zsa Zsa.
388 reviews68 followers
April 30, 2017
it seems it has taken me almost a year to finish this book. in my defense it's 701 pages.
for as long as i can remember, since first i heard her name and after when i knew that there is a book called the second sex written by a French woman (and i admire the french), i have wanted to read it.
the years passed by, i was playing with the idea of learning as much french as i can to read it in the original but alas, so little time, so many books to read. and i also have a fetish for books in paper and i search all over the world before i resign to reading a PDF of a book. well i searched and searched and then searched some more but no signs of this book (and the Persian version doesn't count cause let's face it when things get tough, translations get rough).
anyways, as a student of English Literature and discovering myself through the years, i realized the more i live, the more i see, the more i read, the more i feel that i am a feminist, so i picked up (or got stuck with) my thesis subject: Difference Feminism, and NOW i had to read this book, let's face it. This woman started Feminism. and so it began, my one year journey to reading this masterpiece.
first chapter and i was blown away, even though it's all about biology (the first chapter), she talks about the female of a lot of species but even that is interesting. in the next chapters she looks at women from every single possible view, within, without, social, biological, philosophical, historical, cultural, she probes everywhere, the conscious and the unconscious, she goes deep and then deeper than you knew existed, to explain the why and the how and the when of why women are the way they are, who is doing this to us, why hasn't it changed through the years, who benefits from all this and then after 600 pages of fabulous reading, comes the sweet conclusion of how to fix it, how to change it, how to overcome. and i love how she just like Woolf is not interested in separating men and women, she believes in difference and equality. no one needs to hate, we don't need to fight, we just need to look deep inside and find our answers, because no matter how hard you fight it, the future IS coming, and the future is equal.
Profile Image for Tuqa.
175 reviews77 followers
September 4, 2020
أقامت سيمون دو بوفوار كتابها هذا على سؤال:(كيف أصبحتْ المرأة هي الآخر؟) أو (لماذا أصبحتْ الغيرية هي الصفة المميزة للنساء؟).
وحاولتْ الإجابة عن سؤالها هذا عن طريق طرح الموضوع من الناحية البايلوجية، التاريخية، الإقتصادية، الدينية وحتى الأدبية. وبسبب عرضها للكثير من الجوانب يصبح من الصعوبة التعامل او تذكّر كل المعلومات التي أوردتها وأيضًا ممكن يقلل من حماس القراءة. لكنها خطوة مهمة بالتأكيد.
من يقرأ الكتاب يلاحظ كره الكاتبة الشديد للأمومة، تغيرات النمو لدى النساء والإضطرابات الشهرية، زاعمة أن هذه العمليات هي عبودية للمرأة، ولا ننكُر ان عملية الحمل والإنجاب قديمًا كانت صعبة جدًا ولا يمكن التحكم بها والسيطرة عليها، كون أنثى وذكر الإنسان غير مقيدين بمواسم معينة للتكاثر، وتستمر فترة النضج الجنسي والقابلية على تكوين النطف والبويضات لسنين طويلة.
إلا ان الكاتبة ظلتْ تكيل بشتى التهم لهذه العمليات التي (تس��عبدْ المرأة) مثل بعض المغالطات عن سن اليأس او ان هذه العمليات تساهم بتقليل متوسط عمر النساء بالنسبة الى متوسط عمر الرجال، وهذا ما تنكره منظمة الصحة العالمية، اذ تؤكد دائمًا ان متوسط عمر النساء أكثر من متوسط عمر الرجال، في كل الأوقات ومن أفقر الدول الى أغناها:(Women live longer than men all around the world. The gap in life expectancy between the sexes was 4.3 years in 2000 and had remained almost the same by 2016)
_Global Health Observatory (GHO) data.
بلا شك الكتاب مهم جدًا ويُنصَح بقراءته لكل المهتمين بقضية المرأة ووضعها على مر العصور.
Profile Image for Margarita Garova.
450 reviews176 followers
May 10, 2020
Това е една от най-важните книги, които някога ще прочетете.

Живеем в условията на толкова много кризи едновременно – здравна, климатична, икономическа, че изглежда сякаш темата за половото равноправие не е толкова на дневен ред. А и няма какво да се лъжем, жените днес разполагаме с безпрецедентно много свобода, право на избор и възможности. Можем да пътуваме до другия край на света сами, да отложим момента, в който да станем майки или въобще да не станем, да живеем с партньор преди да сключим брак или въобще да не сключим, да учим в най-реномираните университети, да заемаме престижни длъжности, да имаме свободата, статуса, парите, с които дори предното поколение жени не са разполагали.

Но нещата, които днес приемаме за даденост, са извоювани с тежки битки, упорити протести, походи към парламенти, молби, петиции, дори затвор. Всеобщото избирателно право, равният достъп до образование и кариера са доста новички достижения. Нашите прапосестрими са живели под неумолима бащинска, а после и съпружеска власт, не са могли да наследявят, да имат, както казваме днес, собствен “проект”, начинание, да не говорим за професия. Дори жените от привилегировните класи са живеели в скука и безделие, без да могат да изследват смело света, да разширят личните си и физически граници, да творят съдбата си. През по-голямата част от човешката история жените на практика са били недееспособни. Разводът или извънбрачното дете за много от тях е означавал краят на света.

“Вторият пол” разглежда подробно историческите етапи, през които е преминала еволюцията на жената, схващана като положение в обществото, така и в нейната статичност – особеностите на нейната биология, често имащи травматично изражение. “Вторият пол” е философски трактат, историческо изследване, есе, дълъг разказ, описание на положението на жената такова, каквото е от незапомнени времена до съвременността – положение фактическо, юридическо, икономическо, социално.

Годината на издаване – 1949 г., не бива да отблъсква днешния читател, който търси нещо по-познато и съвременно. Животът, който днес жените живеем, е скорошно достояние, а го живеем така, защото цели поколения жени и мъже са водили неравна борба с остарели нрави, предразсъдъци и дори с антихуманни постулати. А и доста дилеми на жените от 2020 година продължават не губят актуалност – кариера или семейство, брак или безбрачие, майчинство или не. Това, че имаме избора между едното и другото, не отменя вътрешната драма.

Едно важно уточнене, “Вторият пол” не е “анти-мъжка” книга, която развива идеи за женско господство, за превъзходството на единия пол над другия. Бовоар не проповядва яростен феминизъм, а предлага един комплексен разказ за това как жената бива схващана от гледна точка на биологията, психологията, обществото; нейното тяло и душа през всички фази от детството, през пубертета, зрелостта, менопаузата и старостта. Разгледани са въпросите за половия живот, майчинството, отношенията в семейството, хомосексуалността, контрацепцията и аборта.

Бовоар предлага един чисто нов (за онова време) поглед към жената – схващана не като, или не само като, пол в биологичния смисъл на думата, а и като социален конструкт. И че доколкото жената е такава или онакава, доколкото й липсва едно или друго, или излишък на трето, то е защото не биологията й го обуславя, а социалните условия, средата, нравите и устройството на обществото определят нейното поведение и съдба. Едно от постиженията на “Вторият пол” е, че представя точно тази комплексност и двойнственост в природата на жената, която задава тона на целия й живот и отношенията й с околните.

Бовоар проследява историята на жената най-вече през призмата на френския опит, не само защото него тя познава най-добре, но и защото е сходен на този в други западни страни. Интересното е, че в Европа борбата за равноправие на жената е била поставена в контекста ��а борбата на работническата класа, а в САЩ се е преплитала с кампаниите за граждански права на чернокожите. Накратко, историята на жената е преди всичко история на забрани и ограничения, юридически и фактически, явни и скрити. Освобождаването й е свързано не само с външни промени (промени в законодателствата), а и промяна в нравите и в устойчивите представи за мястото на двата пола в обществото и у дома.

И до днес важи идеята, че материалната независимост е абсолютно условие за вътрешната свобода на жената. Това е едно от посланията и на книгата, и мое убеждение след дълга и мъчителна лична еволюция - че една жена трябва сама да може да си осигури приличен стандарт на живот. Само тогава може да влиза свободно и безкористно във връзки, както и също толкова свободно да си тръгва от тях, когато не я удовлетворяват.

Като стана дума за връзки и брак, и днес нещата стоят така, че дори и много успешни жени не се считат за такива (нито от себе си, нито от обществото), ако не са омъжени и нямат деца. Наличието на партньор и най-вече бракът дават на жената необходимата социална легитимация, сам по себе си той е вид социален успех, особено ако е придружен и с материални облаги. Дилемата кариера-семейство никога не е била по-актуална и, както разсъждва Бовоар, на жената й е необходима много нравствена сила, за да избегне капана на “трофейната съпруга”, “държанката”, животът в сладко безделие.

Бовоар отделя и специално място на домакинската работа, участ, трудна за избягване, независимо колко заета е жената в професията си. Доколкото днес се наблюдава обратния феномен обаче – умора от офисния труд и корпоративно прегаряне, много жени (пре)откриват радостта от домашните занимания, които даже са на мода.

Бовоар е хаплива, духовита, пряма, рязка, не спестява неприятни за преглъщане истини. Но тя е най-вече екзистенциалистка. В тази философия идеята за автентичност, истинност и свобода са върховният човешки проект. Екзистенциализмът е просмукан в тъканта на “Вторият пол”, но той не само че не пречи, а дори е в съзвучие с темата за женската свобода, като част от свободата на индивида въобще.

Всеки, който прочете “Вторият пол”, ще разбере защо е предизвикала такива реакции и е вдъхновила многобройни феминистки движения. Извън кресливия феминизъм, попкултурния призив “гърл пауър” и “me too” движението, трудът на Симон дьо Бовоар не се изчерпва с нито едно от тези течения, не може да се опрости и сведе до едно-единствено послание. Нито пък има общо с псевдокнижките за “тайните на женската сила”, “как да открием жената в себе си”, “как да го направиш твой”. Това е монументално произведение, обзорно, изчерпателно, сериозно, задълбочено, иронично и духовито. За разлика от много съвременни модерни книги за феминизма, в които авторките се сърдят на света, мразят мъжете, търсят си виновни, Бовоар констатира, обяснява, прави паралели, препраща към митове, философски трактати, научни постулати, исторически факти, психологически изследвания. Доколкото има есеизъм, той не е произволна измислица, а плод на разсъжденията на красив (женски) ум.

Profile Image for Helga.
959 reviews148 followers
July 25, 2023

Her wings are cut and then she is blamed for not knowing how to fly.

The Second Sex is not a feminist manifesto but a comprehensive study of women’s position throughout history and the psychological reasons why women were and still are considered weaker than men and unequal to them (sometimes by women themselves, but by men in general).

Every time she acts like a human being, she is said to be imitating the male.

In this well-researched, fact-filled philosophical/historical book we come to know about the evolution of woman’s status all through the history and in addition, we examine some of the great authors’ works and how they have portrayed and perceived their women characters.

When he describes woman, each writer discloses his general ethics and the special idea he has of himself; and in her he often betrays also the gap between his world view and his egotistical dreams.
Profile Image for Vik.
292 reviews365 followers
October 14, 2013
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.
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,487 reviews2,374 followers
September 19, 2016
This unfortunately was the short version of Simone de Beauvoir's 'The Second Sex' as I made a mistake when ordering (because of the price), so this is only extracts from the full version which hopefully will read at another time. As a passionate supporter of feminism, equality and sexual liberation for women this was an interesting and for it's time controversial take on feminist philosophy and would suit anyone who doesn't have the time on their hands to read the longer edition, but I am a little frustrated as it clearly has nowhere near the depth that obviously the full version would have. It did however send me on a trip down memory lane as a few years back with my then partner I participated in a rally/demo for women's lib which lead me to believe the only man present would be me, not true at all, there were men and women of all ages that totally blew me away!, it was a peaceful and worthy way to show my solidarity with the opposite sex. I am sure this book had a massive impact back in the late forties when first released, and opened the eyes of the repressed and those who felt chained to the kitchen sink. Well done Simone.
Profile Image for Anita golzar.
25 reviews15 followers
June 28, 2018
دوست دارم بگویم, تمام زنان و مردان باید این کتاب را بخوانند اما, خواندن این کتاب کار اسانی نیست. جنس دوم را نمی شود خواند و بعد کنار گذاشت. جملات کتاب پس از اتمام در موقعیتهای گوناگون شما را رها نخواهد کرد. فکر میکنم طول عمر انسانهایی مثل سیمون دوبووار باید دو برابر میبود. این انسانها در طول زندگی پیش میروند و رشد میکنند و از تغییر مواضع نمی ترسند. دوست داشتم دوبووار 150 ساله را میخواندم و کیف میکردم. اگر قرار این است که زن را بشناسیم که لازمه رشد و ترقی ما هم هست, باید بدانیم چه در درون و بیرون ما میگذرد. نقص ها و محدودیت ها را باید شناخت, از تعاریف زن مادر زمین و الهه باروری باید رد شد و زن را به واقع دید. جنس دوم در این راه به ما کمک میکند.
Profile Image for Liam O'Leary.
485 reviews120 followers
January 9, 2021
Video Review
2020: Hopefully I won't be burnt at the stake for making an unfavourable review about this.

-----2017 Review------
This isn't light reading, and in retrospect, I wouldn't recommend you read it unless your university or lover forces you to do so.

This was a painful and frustrating read for me as reflected in the names I gave it I soldiered through it:
"Being second, sucks"
"Why Kurt Vonnegut hated the semi-colon"
"The most masochistic thing I ever did"
"Comprehensively diabolical"
"Two legs bad, four legs good"
"Acrimonious Marriage Simulator"
"Disempowering pregnancy"
"How Men Disgust Me"
"Having and Eating Your Cake"

This book could be structured as:
Vol.1.Pt.1.: Simone pretends to be an authority on biological psychiatry, psychoanalysis and history.
Vol.1.Pt.2: Simone notes innumerable instances, as if it were not somehow already apparent, that history has always kept woman in a subordinate socioeconomic position within the family.
Vol.1.Pt.3.: Simone uses fiction to support her views on how real women feel in real situations.
Vol.2.Pt.1-3: Simone uses psychiatric case studies and anecdotes to describe the psychological development of girls as they grow up. Best part of the book.
Vol.2.Pt.4: She states that she thinks that a woman's identity should be independent of her relation to man.

In this review I'm going to omit my personal feelings and experiences and try and argue that this book receives more attention than it deserves and is most likely not worth your full attention (you can skim-read it, sure).

a. Genre issues
I believe the book is a polemic. To me this not a work of ethical philosophy, sociocultural theory, psychoanalytic theory or history, because it posed no constructive system of behaviour, no original insight to dystopian or utopian ideals regarding gender, no original explanation of instinctive drives behind behaviours, and no extensively cited or statistically weighted accounts of previous standards of civilization. A strong polemic to me requires a clear goal, structure and discarding of counterarguments, which I think were undeniably absent from Volume One, and anticlimactically emerged at the end of Volume Two.

b. Excessive & Unconstructive Quotations
First, it is no exaggeration that at least a third of the book are direct quotes other books. Even if she wrote the remaining two thirds brilliantly, the majority of it should be based on interpreting the work of others and so this text should be seen as a critique/review/meta-analysis of other feminist works before it. This is the main reason I think this book is highly rated generally: readers appreciate someone bringing citations of works classed as feminist together that they will never have to read so they can sample the best of them and perhaps recognize their names in the future perhaps so as to sound progressive.

Second, school teaches us PQD: make a point, cite evidence perhaps in the form of a quotation, and then develop what this means to the specific question. This book is almost entirely PQPQPQ ad nauseam. Evidence of this comes from the fact that when you ask people to tell you what is exceptional about this book they will blindly repeat "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman". I'd like to tell you that she was the first to insinuate this, or to say that she develops this any further, but I simply can't.

Third, I think her quoted sources provide greater insight and constructive views, I just find that Wollstonecraft's Vindication may be dated but had a clearer goal, Woolf's A Room With A View was more honest and unifying for heterosexuals, and Plath's works have more detailed and realistic representations of heterosexual bitterness and disgust.

c. Playing Teacher
One of the general issues I have with the book is that her haughtiness is more than obnoxious—it obfuscates deficiencies of evidence. While I surprisingly commend her criticisms of Freud on female psychology (better than some I saw in Horney's work), I think she is being dishonest in trying to make counterarguments in these fields in which she is clearly not specialized. The semi-colons don't come across as logical affirmations, but as passive aggressive backhands. She assumes with the authority of a psychiatrist that the female psychiatric patient anecdotes (which make up most of her evidence) are accurate, and in no way involve misguidedly or disproportionately projecting female suffering onto man. This book demonstrates that citing more sources and adding more pages does not add weight to your argument if you are not using them appropriately, even if you insist this is the case. She rambles for points which add nothing to her argument and weakly dismisses highly relevant counterarguments, such as suicide gender ratios in economically developed countries.

d. Pseudo-separatism
I just don't see how this book can benefit societal relations, when it promotes only resentment, and between socioeconomic/class heterosexual subgroups: careerist women vs. family women, careerist women vs. men, women vs. feminist men. I'm more forgiving and perhaps empathizing of explicitly separatist feminism, because this book seems to be on the fence about what it concretely wants from and to do with men. I'm also a bit disappointed that she seems to try to distance the book from feminist agenda in the introduction, while clearly being 'a greatest hits for first-wave feminism' if there ever was one.

No irony intended but I don't think this book was written for me and so my review is probably not all that helpful to those I think it was intended for—hopefully you won't find it as tedious to read as I did.
Profile Image for Théo d'Or .
385 reviews184 followers
April 7, 2021
Personally, I believe that de Beauvoir has never felt the effect of injustices or gender inequalities.
I think, rather, that it all started when she realized that people considered her inferior to Sartre, her lover - just because she was a woman. I think she was surprised to see that her existence was reduced to an essential fact : " I'm a woman ".

" The Second Sex" - is not only a book about the role of women in history and society, but also about " otherness " - as an archetype and philosophical category, often replaced by the concept of " the other ". These philosophical foundations make the book go beyond the status of a feminist manifesto, becoming a fascinating read.
The book is an attempt to answer the question " what woman is ? " - as an archetype as opossed to woman as individuality. The notion of " otherness " , says de Beauvoir, can be applied to any group in society that is not considered a main group.
Men do not feel the need to justify themselves objectively, but they feel superior because they are not women. )) The result is the cliché that a woman has to do twice as many things, in order to be considered equal to a man.

De Beauvoir expresses her astonishment that although men say that women are equal to them, their attitude says the opposite.
What would de Beauvoir say, however, nowadays ? In rich and free countries, many women might think that " The Second Sex " is an outdated study, that equality is for real. A lot of de Beauvoir statements can be contradicted by science, but the truth is that we are not completely undifferentiated in terms of gender, but we are born with a series of behavioral tendencies, whether we are men or women. The conditioning is real, no doubt, but it is not necessarily defining, and we cannot understand the limitations of which women are considered " guilty " , without understanding the biological differences too. The more we know about our bodies and brains, the less ground biology will gain in defining our destiny as human being.
In my humble opinion, the woman is a prize to be won, the dream within which all other dreams are contained. Her positive and defining characteristic would be that she always inspired the man to overcome his own limits.
And that is a great thing.
Profile Image for محمد حمدان.
Author 2 books817 followers
March 9, 2018
الجنس الآخر - سيمون دي بوفوار

هي كاتبة ومفكرة فرنسية شهيرة 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.. حتى أن سارتر كان قد تقدم للزواج منها إلا أنها رفضت لكنها بقيت على علاقة معه ولم تسكن معه في بيت واحد أبداً.. كما أنها لم تنجب على الإطلاق مما ترك لها المجال للتفوق الأكاديمي. ولا بد للمرء أن يلاحظ تأثير مسار حياتها هذا على أفكارها المذكورة في هذا الكتاب.

يوثق هذا الكتاب النظرة الوجودية لدي بوفوار لحكاية المرأة مع الجنس البشري..وتبدأ بطرح تعريف ماهية الأنثى بالنسبة للإنسان وهنا تأتي لنا بخلاصة بكون الأنثى هي الجنس الآخر بالنسبة للذكر وذلك يتضمن أن وجودها يرتبط بذات الذكر ولا يمكن لها أن توجد دونه.. وهي بهذا التعريف تقر بهذا بكونه حقيقة لكنها لا تقبلها وتقول بأنها نتيجة لوضع المرأة لا لماهيتها الحقيقية على أي حال.
تنتقل دي بوفوار بعد ذلك إلى إستعراض تاريخي قد لا يخلو من المغالطات.. إحداها نفيها أن تكون المرأة قد جلست يوماً على عرش السلطة البشرية رغم ما تؤكده الأبحاث التاريخية عن الزمن الذي كانت فيه الآلهة "امرأة"وفي هذا الخصوص تقول دي بوفوار أنه صحيح أنها كانت آلهة لكن السلطة السياسية كانت دائماً بيد الرجل. رغم تأكيد الأبحاث التاريخية عكس ذلك. ومنها تلك المذكورة في "ظل الأفعى" ليوسف زيدان.

إن غاية دي بوفوار من هذا الكتاب هو إستعراض وبحث أسباب إضطهاد المرأة وآثاره النفسية عليها.. ويتضمن تحليلاً نفسياً مفصلاً للمرأة ضمن مسار حياتها كاملاً منذ الطفولة إلى الكهولة.. وتنتهي دي بوفوار إلى كيفية السبيل لتحرير المرأة.

خلال التحليل النفسي للمرأة كانت دي بوفوار تستعرض كذلك أقوال الكثيرين من الكتاب وعلماء النفس والمفكرين فيما يخص المرأة.. في بحث يدل على مجهود كبير بحق.

لا بد للمرء القاريء لهذا الكتاب أن يتفهم سبب نفور دي بوفوار من مؤسسسة الزواج باعتبارها لا تشكل سوى وجهاً آخر للدعارة الشرعية إن أمكن لها قول ذلك وتستشهد في هذا الخصوص بقول مارو: إن الفرق بين النساء اللواتي يبعن أنفسهن عن طريق الدعارة والبغاء، وبين اللواتي يبعن أنفسهن بواسطة الزواج، ينحصر في ثمن ومدة عقد البيع.

بل إن الزواج في أفضل الحالات لا يتعدى كونه إتحاد إقتصادي وجنساني يقنن علاقة المرأة بالرجل ضمن حقوق وواجبات ليس إلا. فنراها تقول: لا يكون الحب غالباً سبباً للزواج. فالزوج كما يقول فرويد ليس سوى بديل عن المحبوب وليس المحبوب ذاته. إن هذا التباين ليس أمراً طارئاً بل تقتضيه طبيعة الزواج نفسه. فالغاية منه التسامي إلى المصلحة الجماعية عن طريق الإتحاد الإقتصادي والجنسي بين الرجل والمرأة، وليس الهدف منه تأمين السعادة الفردية.
وكان للأسرة نصيب كذلك في آراء دي بوفوار فنراها تقول: فبمقدار ماتتحرر المرأة من الأسرة تتحرر من التبعية. وتضيف بأن نساء أسبارطة كن أحراراً كالرجال وذلك لأن أسبارطة كانت تطبق نظام المشاع !

تحاول دي بوفوار إعطاء المرأة حريتها في جسدها.. وهو حق دون شك.. لكنها ذهبت في ذلك بعيداً جداً عند حديثها عن مسألة الإجهاض.. فنراها تقول: وصدق ستيكل بقوله: إن تحظير الإجهاض قانون غير أخلاقي لأن هذا القانون سيخالف حتماً في كل يوم وفي كلساعة.

ولا بد هنا للمرء أن يلحظ ذلك الإستدلال الذي لا يمكن أن يوصف في أفضل الظروف إلاعلى أنه "غير سوي" لأننا يمكن وبكل بساطة أن نقول نفس الحجة عن قانون حظر القتل.. ألا يحدث أن تتم مخال��ة هذا القانون في كل يوم ؟ هل يجعل ذلك من قانون حظر القتل لا أخلاقياً ؟ إن الداعي الأخلاقي لدي بوفوار لقول ذلك أنها تبرر حمل المرأة غير الشرعي بكونه بسبب إغواء الرجل لها وأنها لا يجب أن تتحمل المسؤولية وحدها.. وترى أن منع الإجهاض يضع عبئاً إضافياً على كاهل المرأة. هي محقة بخصوص أن الرجل لا بد من أن يتحمل المسؤولية كذلك.. لكن ذلك لا يكون بتشريع الإجهاض بأي حال. وهنا نحن لا نتحدث عن الإجهاض لأسباب طبية بكل تأكيد..

أعجبني تحليلها النفسي لأطوار المرأة وحديثها عن أسباب شذوذها وبرودها وحتى لجوئها للدعارة.. كان بشكل عام مثيراً للإهتمام خاصة أنه ينسجم مع ما قرأتها في السابق في كتب أخرى بعلم النفس.

تختتم دي بوفوار بحثها هذا بنتيجة مفادها أنه لا يمكن للمرأة أن تتحرر إلا بحصولها على الإستقلال الإقتصادي عن الرجل كما أنها لا يمكن لها أن تحصل على المساواة التامة بالرجل إلا في ظل مجتمع تسوده الإشتراكية. حيث أنه في المجتمع الرأسمالي لابد أن تخضع فيه لأصحاب رؤوس الأموال.

وهنا لا بد لي من تعليق ولعلي أقتبس: كان رقيق الأرض لا يملكون مع زوجاتهم إلا حق التمتع المشترك بالمنزل والأثاث وأدوات المنزل. فلم يكن للرجل إذن أي سبب يدفعه إلى التسلط على زوجته لأنها لا تملك شيئاً. وعلى العكس من ذلك، كانت علاقة العمل والمصالح التي تربط بينهما، ترفع للزوجة إلى وثبة رفيعة. ولما ألغي الرق بقي الفقر. فكان يرى، في بيوت الريفيين والحرفيين، الزوجان وهما يعيشان على قدم المساواة. المرأة في مثل هذه الحال لا يمكن أن تكون لا متاعاً ولا خادماً لأن هذابذخ لا يتاح إلا للأغنياء. ففي العمل الحر، تحصل المرأة على إستقلالها الفعلي لأنها تعود إلى إحتلال دور إقتصادي وإجتماعي.

إن هذه الفقرة تعني أن المساواة ممكنة في ظل إستعباد مشترك للزوج مع زوجته من قبل أصحاب رؤوس الأموال.. لكن يظل هناك هامش باستعباد الرجل صاحب رأس المال للمرأة بشكل خاص.. لكن المشكلة هنا أن هذا لا يكون بسبب كون المرأة "أنثى" لكنه يحدث لكونها الطرف الأضعف.. وهذا هو ذاته ما يحدث للرجل الفقير في ذات الظروف. إن المجتمع الإنساني مجتمع طبقي.. يستضعف فيه القوي الضعيف ويستعبده.. ودائماً ما وجد القوي طريقة ما لاستعباد الآخرين حتى وإن لم يكن هناك عبودية بالمفهوم الصريح لها. فالدول اليوم تستعبد بعضها بعضاً.. فما بالك بالأفراد ؟ إن لم يكن هناك وازع داخلي لدى المرء باحترام المرأة فلا يمكن لشيء ما أن يفرض ذلك فيه.. وهؤلاء قوم يستحقون الشفقة بحق أكثر من أي شيء آخر.

في الختام، لا بد للمرء من بعد الإطلاع على أفكار دي بوفوار أن يتفهم كيفية ولادة أفكار المنظمات النسوية الداعية لتحرير المرأة.. فالظلم بالعادة يولد التطرف.. لايمكن الإنكار بأن المرأة مظلومة بشكل عام.. لكن هذا لا يبرر أموراً كجريمة الإجهاض.. أو فتح دور دعارة يكون العاملون فيه رجالاً كي تقضي النساء وطرهن فيه !

أوافق دي بوفوار في كون تحرير المرأة هو تحرير خالص للرجل نفسه. لكننا نختلف كثيراً فيما يجب أن تتحرر منه. نعم، لا بد لها من أن تتحرر من الجهل.. والعبودية والتبعية.. لكن ذلك لا يعني المشاع أو الشذوذ او هدم الأسرة ومؤسسة الزواج.. أو إباحة الإجهاض.
Profile Image for Ian "Marvin" Graye.
874 reviews2,264 followers
September 3, 2016
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 defective. Woman is defined relative to Man. Man is not defined relative to Woman.

Yet, both together constitute a pairing, a duality, "a totality of which the two components are necessary to one another." A pairing does not necessarily imply the permanent subjection or submission of One to the Other.

Yet, a certain level of subjection is present in all relationships. "The category of the Other is as primordial as consciousness itself." It derives from the duality of the Self and the Other.

De Beauvoir argues that subjection would be incomprehensible, "if in fact human society were simply a Mitsein or fellowship based on solidarity and friendliness." However, according to Hegel, we find in consciousness, the ego, itself "a fundamental hostility toward every other consciousness; the subject can be posed only in being opposed."

Thus, there is subjection, but it is not simply in one direction. The Subject opposes the Object. It defines itself as the essential as opposed to the inessential. However, the other consciousness, the other ego, makes a reciprocal claim.

In its (the second consciousness’) perception, it is the Subject and the first consciousness is the Object. Each Subject is the Master and each Other is the Slave. "Willy-nilly, individuals and groups are forced to realise the reciprocity of their relations."

De Beauvoir asks the killer question, "How is it, then, that this reciprocity has not been recognised between the sexes, that one of the contrasting terms [the Male] is set up as the sole essential, denying any relativity in regard to its correlative [the Female] and defining the latter as pure Otherness? Why is it that Women do not dispute Male sovereignty?

No Subject will readily volunteer to become the Object, the inessential; it is not the Other who, in defining [itself] as the Other, establishes the One.

The Other is posed as such by the One in defining [itself] as the One. But
if the Other is not to regain the status of being the One, [she] must be submissive enough to accept this alien point of view."

What, then, is the origin of Woman’s submission? What is the origin of Man’s domination of Woman? Why does Man "stabilize" Woman as Object and doom her to be "overshadowed and forever transcended by another ego (conscience) which is essential and sovereign?

The drama of Woman lies in this conflict between the fundamental aspirations of every Subject (ego) – who always regards the Self as the essential – and the compulsions of a situation in which she is the inessential?

What circumstances limit Woman’s liberty and how can they be overcome?"

Although built on a philosophical foundation, "The Second Sex" seeks concrete answers to these questions.
Profile Image for Vartika.
399 reviews631 followers
April 21, 2020
Most people consider The Second Sex to be the Feminist 'Bible'. While Beauvoir's text is certainly a seminal text in feminism — both in terms of feminist theory and the larger movement for emancipation — it has some of the same flaws as its theological counterpart(s).

Beauvoir starts her nearly-800-pages-long existential project for the woman's condition with a hugely impressive Introduction highlighting some of the principal arguments of the feminist movement and why it exists. Going forth, she divides The Second Sex into two books, the first of which, entitled 'Facts and Myths', undertakes meticulous research in looking at and seeking to counter male arguments about women through biology; psychology; historical materialism; history; mythology; and literature. Book II, 'Woman's Life Today', traces the various phases and conditions of women throughout their development, debunking the myth of the "eternal feminine" and arguing about the development of this feminine through various factors in lived reality and conditioning that thwart women into alterity instead of transcendence. She looks at the various roles the adult bourgeois woman performs, studies some ways in which they reinforce their own dependency, and looks at the barriers to real equality the independent woman in the 1940s continues to face.

Much of Beauvoir's arguments hold currency today in that they deal with issues that are as yet prevalent. Her ideas about education/upbringing and feminine narcissism as well as those regarding birth control and marriage are those that we still discuss in terms of feminist perspective today. Particularly striking are her statements about some fundamentals of women's oppression — that as victims of class and other male institutions they are unable to form a coherent group of their very own and representing their own interests, despite comprising roughly half of all human population.

However, just like many revered theological texts such as the Bible, a good chunk of The Second Sex emerges through the test of time as horribly dated; some of it may even be considered sexist when looked at from the lens of our times. One obvious limitation lies in the sources available for the author to refer to and infer from: in the fields of biology and psychology; and especially psychoanalysis; most of the studies Beauvoir interacts with in writing this book have since then been disproven and discarded, and moreover also suffer from the subjective biases of the men who conducted and recorded them. Moreover, while Beauvoir often refutes and counters the affirmations of these studies, she also bases some of her own suppositions on them. Thus, many of her arguments — particularly those about women's pain and 'imagined' diseases and women's behaviours in marriage and old age — end up perpetuating the same masculinist assumptions and attitudes they collectively seek to fight against. Similarly, while she lays ground for the performativity of gender that Judith Butler later explores in her own work on queer theory; Beauvoir takes a rather ambiguous stance on homosexuality, asserting lesbianism as a matter of choice but not quite, a confused and confusing conundrum.

In fact, many errenous assertions in The Second Sex, such as its stance on lesbianism, result from the restrictions of her theoretical framework (namely that of Existentialism). Beauvoir is also guilty, as many women of her time, of overlooking intersectionality: her work is modelled on women of her own kind, and yet she generalises these specific behaviours onto all of womankind. While she does include examples from the Orient, she only does so to fit her own thesis and does not situate them in a proper context. Thus, perspectives from women belonging to the working class and women of colour are absent in her work, and the actualities and values of the women she constructs throughout the text difficult to ascribe. It is also true that Beauvoir's writing here is prone to taking to the inaccessible flourishes of the ivory towers of academese, and one often finds her work difficult to engage with and to sustain interest in. I found myself skimming over at least some of her ideas — perhaps only because my position in time means that I know better, but also out of the sheer tedium of reading through some things. I guess that as a woman writing at her time, Beauvoir had to really justify her assertions, but at some points she seems to have done it at the cost of lucidity.

Nevertheless, The Second Sex raises some of the most important and undeniably cogent points regarding the subjection and emancipation of women, as well as about human nature itself. The book lays essential groundwork for what we learn and build on as feminists today, and even its mistakes allow us the space for greater assertion and amendment. It remains, despite its flaws, an essential read.
Profile Image for حسن صنوبری.
268 reviews100 followers
February 4, 2019
اگر خانم «سیمون دوبوآر» اندیشمند فمینیست اگزیستانسیالیست به همان زیبایی که «جنس دوم» را می نوشت، به همان زیبایی هم زندگی می کرد، این کتاب مهم او خیلی بیشتر و دقیق تر فهمیده می شد و مثمر ثمر. انتشار حواشی و اشتباهات فراوان زندگی او کاری کرد تا موافق و مخالفش، زندگی اش را نتیجه قطعی اندیشه و نوشته هایش بدانند. بلایی که سر خیلی از متفکران دیگر هم آمده
من قصد تقدیس این کتاب و دفاع از اشتباهاتش را ندارم. اصلا در دوره پست فمینیسم و موج سوم خیلی از فمینیستها و متفکران غربی هم به خیلی از اندیشه های این کتاب می خندند. نکته اینجاست که این کتاب با همه زمینه ها و تلقی های اشتباهش، یک حرکت جدی فکری و فلسفی بود و باعث شد فراتر از نگاههای سطحی سیاسی، احساسی و ژورنالیستی به موضوع زنان فکر شود. این مشق اول بود، اگر درست ادامه پیدا می کرد، سرمشق مشق های بهتر و دقیق تر می شد، اما آیا شد؟ در جهان شاید اتفاقاتی افتاده باشد، اما هنوز هم وقتی صفحات روشنفکرنگاشته ایرانی را می خوانم می بینم تکرار مکررات است و عموما هم نه از منبع اصلی و علمی. هیچ دیکته ای بی غلط نیست، این متن برای یک شروع فلسفی خوب است، به شرطی که خواننده ذهن فلسفی داشته باشد و بتواند درک کند شرایط و زمینه های فکری فرهنگی نویسنده را. این متن، در بهترین حالت، اگر هیچ عیبی هم نداشت، متنی برآمده از فرهنگ غرب و مناسب پژوهش در فهم زن غربی است، اما حتی اگر نه از نتیجه پژوهش، از روش او که می توان درس گرفت. با همین دقت و قوت، و بی تکرار اشتباهات قبلی، زن ایرانی و زن مسلمانش را چه کسی نوشته و یا می نویسد؟ آیا کسی تاکنون با اندیشه فلسفی به چیستی و هستیِ زن مسلمان، زن ایرانی و زن شرقی فکر کرده است ؟
دو اشتباه عمده دوبوار و فمینیست ه��ی کلاسیک یکی این بود که هیچ درکی از خلقت، فطرت و طبیعت زن نداشتند و به قول خود دوبوآر «زن، زن به دنیا نمی آید، زن می شود» درحالیکه این یکی را نمی شود کاریش کرد، اگر بپذیریم ذهنیت زن بودن را مردان ساخته اند، جسمیتش که دیگر کار مردان نبوده! دیگر اینکه با پافشاری های بیش از حد بر «زن بودن»، مفهومِ «انسان بودن» را به حاشیه بردند، درحالیکه هر مرد و هر زنی ابتدا باید انسان باشد و در انتها هم، مشترکات زنان و مردان است که به وجودآورنده حقیقت انسانی، وجود، فردیت و شخصیت او هستند. زن بودن و مردبودن فرع بر اصل مسئله است. این نگاه انسانی چیزی است که به نظرم در همه ادیان تحریف نشده مورد توجه است.
بخشی از کتاب
«در مجموع عقیده مردان قرون وسطی نسبت به زنها به راستی خیلی مساعد نیست. درست است که شاعران آداب شناس به ستایش عشق پرداخته اند، درست است که «هنر عشق ورزیدن»های متعددی ... که در آن جوانان را ملزم به آن می دارد که خود را وقف خدمت به بانوان کنند خلق می شود؛ اما دربرابر این ادبیات تاثیرپذیرفته از خنیاگران شاعر، نوشته هایی که قرار می گیرد که تحت تأثیربورژوازی است و در آن ها با بدجنسی به زن ها حمله می شود: انواع شعرها و نمایشنامه های خنده دار، زن ها را به سبب تنبلی، عشوه گری و تجملشان مورد انتقاد قرار می دهد. کلیسا ازدواج را تقدیس کرده ولی طبقه برگزیده مذهبی را از آن بازداشته ... وقتی بین ازدواج و موقعیت کشیشی سازشی وجود ندارد، چرا خداوند زن ها را آفریده است؟ در ازدواج صلح و آرامشی نمی تواند وجود داشته باشد: ازدواج باید کاری شیطانی باشد!...»
Profile Image for Natalie.
483 reviews109 followers
March 21, 2010
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 some very inarguable points about the over-generalizations and untestable hypotheses that are offered throughout the text, most of the ideas proffered are fascinating and recognizable to probably any woman who reads it.

Bearing in mind that this book was published in 1949 and translated (poorly, according to many scholars) into English in 1953, it's worth noting that gender relations in Western society have advanced tremendously since this time; however, there remains enough insidious and institutionalized sexism for de Beauvoir's theories to still be relevant.
Profile Image for Ameera H.  Al-mousa.
70 reviews197 followers
October 11, 2011
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 نبات الخشخاش. الا ان هذا المذهب الفكري فقد من نفوذه لأن العلوم البيلوجية والأجتماعية لم تعد تقر بوجود جوهر ثابت يحدد نماذج معينة كالمرأة واليهودي والزنجي.

أن موقف التحدي الذي تقفه النساء الأمريكيات يثبت أن شعور الأنوثة يطغي عليهن , والحقيقة أنه يكفي إلقاء نظرة للتأكد من أن الإنسانية تنقسم الى فئتين تتمايزان باللباس والوجه والجسم والابتسامة والمشية والاهتمام والمشاغل تمايزا واضحا وقد تكون هذه الفوارق سطحية وسائرة إلى الزوال . أنما الأكيد أنها موجودة في الوقت الحالي بكل وضوح .

السؤال الذي يفرض نفسه هنا هو : كيف تمكن أحد الجنسين فقط من فرض نفسه كجوهر وحيد منكراً وجود كل نسبية تربطه بالجنس الآخر, معرفاً إياه بأنه الآخر الصرف .ومن أين اتى للمرأة هذا الرضوخ ؟!

هناك حالات اخرى ترينا تمكن فئة من التحكم بفئة أخرى خلال فترة من الزمن وكان هذا الامتياز ناجما في الغالب عن تمايز العدد فتفرض الأكثرية قانونها على الأقلية وتضطهدها إلا إن النساء لسن أقلية فضلاً عن أن هذا التسلط له
مهما أوغلنا في تتبع التاريخ , نرى النساء مُلحقات بالرجال وهذه التبعية نتيجة حادث تاريخي وليست الأمر الطارئ فقط الذي يجعل من المرأة الجنس الآخر بصورة مطلقة .

كما ترى سيمون أن نضال المرأة لم يكن قط إلا نضالاً رمزيا ولم تفز إلا بما أراد الرجل التنازل عنه ولم تأخذ شيئا أبدا بل تسلمت ما أعطي إليها
فلا تستطيع المرأة حتى في الحلم إزالة الذكور فالعلاقة التي تربطها بمضطهديها , لا مثيل لها ذلك أن انقسام الجنس هو في الواقع شيء عضوي محسوس وليس مرحلة من تاريخ البشر .


قد يخيل لنا إن هذه العلاقة المتبادلة قد ساعدت على تحرير المرأة والحقيقة أن الحاجة البيولوجية التي تجعل الذكر مقيداً بالأنثى لم تحرر المرأة اجتماعياً , وإذا كان إلحاح الحاجة متساويا عند الطرفين فانه يتدخل دائما في صالح المضطهدين ضد المضطهدين .

من المفهوم الشائع أن يتحول ازدواج الجنس" كأي ازدواج إلى نزاع
ومن المعروف انه إذا نجح احد الطرفين في فرض تفوقه فإن هذا التفوق يميل الى تأكيد نفسه تأكيداً مطلقاً ولكن ينبغى لنا أن نستفسر لماذا كان الرجل الرابح في البداية ؟ ولماذا كان هذا العالم دائماً تابعاً لرجال ولماذا لم تأخذ الأشياء في التبدل إلا في هذه الأيام فقط ؟ وهل هذا التبدل شيء حسن ؟ وهل سيقسم العالم تقسيماً عادلاً بين الرجال والنساء ؟

هذه الأسئلة ليست بالجديدة ولقد لقيت أجوبة عديدة , إلا أن مجرد اعتبار المرأة " الجنس الآخر" يخرج كل التبريرات التي يقدمها الرجال لأنها كانت مستوحاة من مصالحهم
فكل ما كتب عن المرأة من قبل الرجال يجب أن يثير الشبهات لأنهم خصوم وحكام في الوقت ذاته , وقد سخروا اللاهوت والفلسفة والقوانين لخدمة مصالحهم

ترى سيمون دي فورا :

أن الفئة المهيمنة تحاول أن تبقي المرأة في المكان التي تخصصه لها وتستقي الحجج من الوضع الذي خلقته هذه الفئة نفسها وهذا يذكرنا بقول برنارد شو , في الزنوج " إن الأمريكي الأبيض يهبط بالزنجي إلى مستوى ماسح الأحذية ليستنتج من ذلك أم الزنجي ليس صالحاً سوى لمسح الأحذية " نعم أن النساء هن غالباً في يومنا هذا أقل مكانة من الرجال بمعنى أن وضعهم لا يفسح لهن إلا مجالات أضيق والمسألة هي أن نعرف فيما إذا كانت هذه الحالة ستدوم ؟

بعض الرجال يخشون منافسة المرأة والمصالح الاقتصادية ليست وحدها في الميدان لإن من محاسن وضع المضطهدين إن أبسطهم يظن نفسه بطلا وهو يقارن نفسه مع نساء ( اختارهن هو نفسه ) من أن يقارن نفسه وهو يأخذ دوره كرجل .

وهاهو يكتب " كلود مورياك بخصوص النساء " نحن نصغي بلامبالاة مهذبة لأذكى النساء ونحن نعلم جيدا أن فكرها يعكس بصورة متمايزة الوضوح الأفكار التي تصدر عنا نحن معشر الرجال " على كل حال أن المرأة التي يتحدث عنها لا تعكس أفكاره لأنه معروف بنضوب فكره ولعله يحتاج الى أن يعكس هو نفسه أفكاره لأنه معروف بنضوب فكره ولعله يحتاج أن يعكس هو نفسه أكفار كبار الفلاسفة وهو يتحدث .!

أن المسألة النسائية استحالت إلى نزاع وخصام نتيجة لوقاحة الرجال والإنسان حين يتخاصم يفقد ملكة المحاكمة وإذا أردنا حقاً أن نسلط النور على المسألة فينبغي لنا أن نطرح كل المفاهيم المبهمة كالتفوق والمساواة والنقص وأن تنطلق من جديد .

لكن كيف تطرح المسألة إذن ؟ بل من نحن حتى نطرحها ؟ فالرجال هم خصوم ��حكام فأين نجد ملاكا يقوم بمهمة القضاء على التفوق والمساواة والعدالة؟ إنني أظن مع ذلك إن بعض النساء هن أحسن من يستطيع توضيح وضع المرأة فلقد حظيت نساء كثيرات في يؤمن هذا بالتمتع بمزايا الكائن الإنساني مما يجعلهن غير مغرضات والواقع إن عدم التحيز هذا يشكل حاجة بالنسبة إلى النساء ونحن النساء نعرف خيرا من الرجال عالم المرأة لأننا مرتبطات الجذور به , ونحن اقدر على إدراك كمعنى أن يكون الكائن الإنساني : امرأة"

ما يلفت النظر أن مجموعة الكتابات النسويات مفعمة في هذه الأيام بجهد للتوضيح أكثر من الرغبة في المطالبة وهكذا يجب أن يعتبر هذا الكتاب محاوله .

ليس بوسع البيولوجيا الإجابة على السؤال الذي يشغل بالنا : لماذا تكون المرأة " الجنس الآخر " ؟

ينبغي لنا أن نعرف ما فعلته الإنسانية بالأنثى البشرية .

تقسيم العمل بين الجنسين .

أما لدى المرأة فيتخذ مركب النقص شكل الرفض المخجل لأنوثتها : قد تكون المرأة عاجزة عن تحريك أداة ثقيلة فيبدو عجزها واضحا بالنسبة إلى الرجل إلا أن التطور الفني قد يلغى الفارق العضلي الذي يميز الرجل عن المرأة وتصبح معادلة له في العمل .

انجر يسرد تاريخ المرأة في كتابه " أصل الأسرة " ويظهر أن تاريخ المرأة مرتبط إرتباط اساسي بتاريخ التكنيك : أي إنها في عصر الزراعيين , لما كانت الأرض مشاعا بين أفراد القبيلة كانت قوة المرأة كافية للعمل في البساتين وكان هناك تقسيم متساو للأعمال بين الرجل والمرأة , الرجل يصطاد والمرأة تقوم بأعمال الإنتاجية كالنسيج والبستنة وبالتالي كان لها دور كبير في الحياة الاقتصادية .

فلما اكتشفت المعادن واخترع المحراث واتسع نطاق الاستثمار الزراعي ازدادت صعوبته ظهرت الملكية الفرية فصار بإمكان الرجل إن يصبح سيداً للعبيد والأرض وأصبح أيضا مالكا للمرأة .

والإنكسار التاريخي الكبير للجنس النسائي يفسر بالثورة التي طرأت على تقسيم العمل نتيجة لاختراع وسائل جديدة في الإنتاج والاستغناء عن مشاركة المرأة في الوضع الاقتصادي وبالتالي سيطرة واستعباد ها من قبل الرجل

فكرة التملك الفردي لا تكتسب معنى إلا اعتبارا من الوضع الأصلي للكائن وكيفما تظهر يجب أن يكون في الشخص ميل إلى فرض نفسه في فرديته الجذرية ونزعة إلى تأكيد وجوده المستقبل المنفصل .

أن عظمة العمل لم يتلقفها شخص سلبي بل أن الإنسان بنى نفسه بسيطرتة على الأرض , وأن تأكيد الذات لا يكفي لتفسير الملكية ففي التحدي والنضال والمعركة يحاول اكتساب شعور الارتقاء إلى السيادة .

من المستحيل أيضا أن نستنتج اضطهاد المرأة هو وليد الملكية الفردية للرجل اقتصادياً , الاستعباد هو نتيجة لجبروت الشعور الإنساني الذي يبحث عن تحقيق سيادته بصورة فعلية ولو لم يكن في المرأة صفة الجنس الثانوي الآخر

انجلر حاول أن يعزو التعارض بين الجنسين إلى خلاف طبقي , وصحيح أن تقسيم العمل على إساس الجنس والاضطهاد ينجم عنه ما ذكر بتقسيم العمل!! لكن لا يوجد أي أساس بيلوجي في التقسيم الطبقي ذلك لأن العبد يشعر أثناء العمل بالعداء للسيد والبروليتاريا الشاعرة بوضعها تشكل تهيديا لمستشعريها وتهدف الى القضاء هلى نفسها كطبقة

أن وضع المراة لايمكننا اعتبار المرأة كعاملة فقط دون أن نكون مغر
أن وظيفتنا في التوالد مهمة مثل طاقتها الانتاجية سواء في الاقتصاد الاجتماعي أو في الحياة الفردية وهناك فترات يجدي اكثار الذرية أكثر من العم�� بالمحراث

فالمرأة لاتحشر في العلمية الجنسية وفي الأمومة زمنا وقوة بل قيماً جوهرية
القانون والأعراف تجبرها على الزواج ويمكن منع الوسائل المستعملة ضد الحمل كما يمكن منع الطلاق

في احد الخطب في الإتحاد السوفيتي طُلب من المرأة أن تعنى بزينتها لتستهوي زوجها . ويرى من ذلك أن من المستحيل اعتبار المرأة قوة مولدة فقط أنها بالنسبة إلى الرجل شريكة ومولودة ومتاع للشهوة أنها الطرف الجنسي الآخر ومن خلالها يبحث الرجل عن ذاته .

العلاقة الجنسية التي تربط المرأة بالرجل ليست مثل العلاقة التي تربط الرجل بالمرأة والعلاقةالتى تربط المرأة بالطفل ليس لها أي شبيه

طبيعي أن يكون للرجل إرادة التحكم في المرأة ولكن ما الإمتياز الذي أتاح له تحقيق هذه الإرادة ؟

لم تكن هناك نُظم تؤكد عدم التساوي بين الجنسين لان الملكية والوراثة والحقوق كانت مجهولة أما الدين فكان محايدا والإله المعبود لا جنس لهُ

ملخص للكتاب الذي أصبح أنطلاقة للفكر النسوي .

Profile Image for Helynne.
Author 3 books45 followers
January 24, 2021
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 valid reason for the age-old phenomenon of a male-dominated world. "But what privilege has permitted [men] to dominate women?" she asks. She notes that it was men who created values, mores, and religions. Therefore, male prejudices rather than any inborn defects in women, have resulted in the debased position of females in society. Beauvoir is equally adamant about the need for women to rise above the traditionally inferior education with which men have limited their influence.
Beauvoir also criticizes the fact that married women under French law were treated for centuries as minors; that is, more as daughters of their husbands than as spouses. The law that allowed such subjugation—and even demanded that a wife obey her husband— continued in France until 1942, just four years before the publication of Le Deuxième Sexe.
And here is a fact that I complain about to my French students all the time: American women did not receive the right to vote until 1920, which is bad enough, but French women did not get to vote until 1946 (coincidentally, the same year The Second Sex was published)!
But lest I am giving the impression that Beauvoir is a man-hater, I hasten to add that she is not. She is simply urging equality of the sexes and the chance (and desire) for women everywhere to reach a higher potential and to function mentally, emotionally, and creatively on the same level that formerly has been reserved just for men. Also, although Beauvoir opted not to marry or have children (in fact, she was one of the first women to request and receive a tubal ligation), she had a long live-in relationship with fellow existential writer Jean-Paul Sartre. Theirs was a true meeting of the minds.
There are many, many more interesting points Beauvoir makes about feminism as she urges women of her time and in the future to rise to their full intellectual and creative potential.
This is a fairly long and dense read, so plunge in, take it slowly, mark up the text, and take a billion notes. I plugged away gamely at the French version for a while, then relented and read the rest of the work in English with my French version nearby for highlighting and note-taking. It was well worth the time in both languages!
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