Existentialism In Simone De Beauvoir's The Second Sex

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In Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, her existentialist view point is heavily felt throughout this historical study of women. Often viewed as a radical, Beauvoir sets out to explore the many beliefs or definitions in regards to femininity. She proposes that women are oppressed by men through men’s depiction of women as the “other” or the object. Man is the subject, the self, the one, the absolute, the positive, the creator and the possessor of transcendence. Women are demoted as particular, dependent, negative, inessential, and the prisoners to immanence. That is to say that they are only seen as objects for sexual reproduction and desire, not as individuals with their own rights and beliefs, thus leading to a cloud in judgment by man …show more content…
This, however, does not excuse man’s blatant disregard for the woman’s humanity and perceived inferiority. Judith Butler argues that sex is a matter of interpretation and contrary to Beauvoir, it is not natural. Perhaps the most or one of the most famous quotes in Beauvoir’s the Second Sex, “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman” further dives into the stance that femininity is not biological, psychological or intellectual. One becomes a woman from social and cultural constructs, learned femininity through socialization keeps men dominant. Society makes sure to gradually build up the role of a woman and where she stands, what her place is. Women are not born as inessential, objects, “others”, or incomplete. Because of their situation, women’s characters are jeopardized and their subjectivity taken from them. Beauvoir’s example of the doll shows that early on little girls are seen as objects. The doll is completely at mercy to the outside forces that want to dress her, change her hair, and make her pretty (pretty in whatever sense society believes). The doll is robbed of her identity, her agency and begins to objectify herself, her role is established as caretaker and companion. This scenario, then translates onto the owner of the doll, she will eventually have to attract a husband to marry and will then become his care take, guardian of secrets, companion, etc. She will not possess her own identity but rather live for her husband. The same can be said for those who will not marry because institutions, men, society will all make sure to specify that she must wear makeup, get the latest fashion or maintain a certain weight. Women are brought up thinking they are less capable or smarter than men shrinking their drive to be successful or to even attempt

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