Women’s Freedom and Gender-Based Oppression Essay
Otherness is a fundamental category of human thought. Thus it is that no group ever sets up as the One without at once setting up the Other over against itself…. We find in consciousness itself a fundamental hostility towards every other consciousness; the subject can be posed only in being opposed – he sets himself up as the essential, as opposed to the other, the inessential, the object…. No subject will readily volunteer to become the object, the inessential; it is not the Other who, in defining himself as the Other, established the One. The Other is posed as such by the One in defining himself as the One. But if the Other is not to regain the status of being the One, he must be submissive enough to accept this alien point of view. Whence comes this submission in the case of woman?” (14).
Her description of women’s ontological status as “the Other” directly relates to the question she asks in the beginning of her essay, “What is a woman?” There is no real way to answer that because women are defined only in relation to men. Is it even possible to articulate women’s nature of being when men have been the ones for so long to giving meaning