Simone de Beauvoir

Main article: Simone de Beauvoir

The French author and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir wrote novels; monographs on philosophy, politics, and social issues; essays, biographies, and an autobiography. She is now best known for her metaphysical novels, including She Came to Stay and The Mandarins, and for her 1949 treatise The Second Sex, a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism. It sets out a feminist existentialism which prescribes a moral revolution. As an existentialist, de Beauvoir accepts Jean-Paul Sartre's precept that existence precedes essence; hence "one is not born a woman, but becomes one". Her analysis focuses on the concept of The Other; that is, is the social construction of Woman as the quintessential Other that Beauvoir identifies as fundamental to women's oppression.[19] She argues that women have historically been considered deviant and abnormal. She submits that even Mary Wollstonecraft considered men to be the ideal toward which women should aspire. Beauvoir says that this attitude has limited women's success by maintaining the perception that they are a deviation from the normal?outsiders attempting to emulate "normality". For feminism to move forward, this assumption must be set aside.[19]


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