The Feminist Movement (also known as The Women’s Liberation movement) is a social movement organized around the belief that both men and women are equal in every way. The role of feminism in the 20th century changed the lives of many women, opening new doors to greater opportunities such has: jobs, education, and empowerment. Many achievements and organizations were a success in bringing a new role into society for women all over. However, the battle that seems to keep reappearing over time is the constant struggle between man and women and the fundamental question that still is left unanswered, who is inferior?In her novel, The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir discusses the role of women as being oppressed in the views of men who characterize women as “the other,” a very dehumanizing theory. For ever subject, there must be an object, “[A]t the moment when man asserts himself as subject and free being, the idea of the Other arises,” de Beauvoir states. She also says, “that while it is natural for humans to understand themselves in opposition to others, this process is flawed when applied to the genders.
In defining woman exclusively as Other, man is effectively denying her humanity. Beauvoir’s analysis of sexism is perhaps her most powerful theoretical contribution to feminism. In a society that is sexist, Beauvoir argues, “Man is the universal and woman is the particular; he is the One, she is the Other. ” Women only then find themselves to choose between the imprisonment of their femininity and the role of a genderless subject. Beauvoir states, “Man oc...
cupies the role of the self, or subject; woman is the object, the other. He is essential, absolute, and transcendent.
She is inessential, incomplete, and mutilated.He extends out into the world to impose his will on it, whereas woman is doomed to immanence, or inwardness. He creates, acts, invents; she waits for him to save her. With that being said, Beauvoir vainly writes against the attempts at ruling how women ought to be and live in society.
Some even consider the novel to be controversial. When Beauvoir died in April 1986, one French differentialist, Antoinette Fouque, a founder of the des femmes bookstore on the Left Bank, declared that the author of The Second Sex had been pushing an “intolerant, assimilating, sterilising universalism, full of hatred and reductive of otherness”.The most controversial argument seen in the novel is taken place in Beauvoir’s analysis of myths (volume 1). In it, she explores the concepts of the myth known as “Eternal Feminine” (containing various other myths such as: mother earth, the virgin, the motherland, mother nature etc. ) In it, Beauvoir centralizes idea of how women were brought to this social theory of being less than of man by turning to biology, history (materialistic), and psychoanalysis.
These type of justifications proved the kind of essential differences between man and women, but failed to prove that a woman is inferior to that of a man.Beauvoir emphasizes that the type of myths being portrayed of women are but a mere attempt to trap women into the impossible belief of denying individuality of
all women. The kind of myths that were abusing the role women played in society arose from the dismay of discomforted men, birthing its own way into society. One controversial example she addresses seems to be the issue of motherhood being seen as the guardian of life to one, but the blame of death to another.
The belief that man feels at having to be born from their mothers wound, and later on casted onto death only results in the mother being put at blame for both. Thus, the idea that women as mothers are being contradicted in these myths for this ideal situation which results in women being unfairly seen in society because of their blame for existence. This kind of contradictory leaves women to be the kind of symbol of “life” while at the same time, being ridiculed and robbed of their individuality.In her second volume of The Second Sex, she addresses the idea that women are not born feminine, but rather consume their femininity as they grow throughout the sexist society, taking on the ideas that women are unequal to men; therefore, they should act upon the injustice idea.
Beauvoir notes in her second volume, “When I wrote that one is not born, but rather becomes a woman I meant just this that women become feminine through the process of social ‘brainwashing and stereotyping. She states key points of womanhood that are notably unseen or foreign in man: pregnancy, lactation, and menstruation.Thus, this type of phenomena contributes to the marked difference in women all together. Furthermore, what society seems to overlook when they take these types of differences are the existential importance’s that each carry on.
Thus, woman may fail to lay claim to the status of subject because she lacks definite resources, because she feels the necessary bond that ties her to man regardless of reciprocity, and because she is often very well pleased with her role as the Other. Women overall are raised believe that the only way to achieve happiness and gain uccess is through the acceptance of denying her true identity. Women all over are being deprived of their possibilities for fulfillment and opportunity because they are shaped based on their childhood where they learn to accept the dissatisfying life of work around the house, nurturing and raising children, and the sexual slavishness. While living the kind of adulthood, Beauvoir addresses the certain roles women live in a sexist society: wife, mother, and sexual entertainment.
De Beauvoir also views the old age of women and where they “take place” in society.When a woman reaches her capacity to reproduce, she is said to have lost her overall purpose in life, thus her overall identity is lost. In the last chapter of the section, “Woman’s Situation and Character,” de Beauvoir reiterates the controversial idea that woman’s situation is not a result of her character; rather, her character is a result of her situation. Her mediocrity, complacency, lack of accomplishment, laziness, passivity—all these qualities are the consequences of her subordination, not the cause.The difficulty of breaking free from “femininity”—of sacrificing security and comfort for some ill-conceived notion
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