Simone de Beauvoir

Life of Simone de Beauvoir:

Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir was born in Paris on January 9, 1908. De Beauvoir was a very "intellectually curious" child (Musset, IEP Para. 2). Her father always encouraged her to read and would often bring her new novels home to explore (Para. 2). De Beauvoir knew at a young age she wanted to be a writer and teacher opposed to a mother and wife. She was an excellent student. "Beauvoir began her education in the private Catholic school for girls, the Institut Adeline Désir" (Para. 3). She grew up strictly Catholic and at the age of 14 when she began questioning her own faith, she became an Atheist. "In 1926, De Beauvoir left home to attend the prestigious Sorbonne, where she studied philosophy and rose to the top of her class" ( editors, Simone de Beauvoir Biography Para. 3). In 1929 while furthering her studies of philosophy she met "budding existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre" who she formed a bond with that would "profoundly influence both of their personal and professional lives" (Para. 4). De Beauvoir died in Paris on April 14, 1986.

Simone De Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre - Famous De Beauvoir Quote

Important Ideas:

De Beauvoir taught philosophy and literature until WWII when she was forced to stop while Germany occupied Paris in 1940. She would eventually be apart of the French resistance, it was then that she began her literary career (Para. 8). De Beauvoir`s first book was published in 1943 and was titled She Came to Stay. This book focused on her "investigation of existence" and uses her personal love triangle to "examine existential ideals, specifically the complexity of relationships and the issue of a person's conscience" (Para. 9). Her next major writing truly showed De Beauvoir`s ability to be the founder of the modern feminist. She wrote The Second Sex which was published in 1949 which is a "nearly 1000-page critique of patriarchy and the second-rate status granted to women throughout history" (Para. 11). This book initially caused much controversy. The Vatican placed the book on the church`s forbidden texts list and was seen as pornography to many of its critics. However, this book is seen as one of the earliest and most important works of feminism. De Beauvoir was considered one of the most important figures of the feminism movement of her time and one of the greatest modern feminist thinkers. De Beavoir used her fame to raise awareness to many other issues as well. These included "support of Algeria's and Hungary’s struggles for independence during the 1950s and the student movement in France in the late 1960s" (Para. 14). She also had strong opposition to "American foreign policy during the Vietnam War. During the 1970s, De Beauvoir’s work brought her to the forefront of the feminist movement, to which she shared her intellect through lectures and essays as well as by participating in demonstrations for abortion rights and women's equality" (Para. 14).

De Beauvoir and the Rest of the World:

De Beauvoir mainly was able to communicate to the rest of the world through her writing. Whether it be her more philosophical pieces such as She Came to Stay or The Second Sex, her many essays on political topics, or her various fictional pieces, she connected with people through her written work. Many had seen De Beauvoir as a controversial figure at the time of her initiating the modern feminist movement. Most people were not accustomed to what De Beauvoir was trying to bring awareness to or accomplish. However, to many she was also seen as a voice and an inspiration. She helped move women even further than those who initiated the women`s movement thirty or so years before her birth.

Importance Then and Now:

What De Beauvoir was able to accomplish during her lifetime is remarkable. She was able to not only further and expand the idea of feminism, but evolve it to the point of becoming a whole new form; The modern feminist. In a time of new thinking and ideas, many challenging basic concepts of life, De Beauvoir was able to question why women were the second sex to men in the world and change the way many thought about the role of women. She is a feminist icon. Her work can be seen and felt every time a women is able to feel the freedom and independence of being themselves and not having to feel constant disapproval or feel like she is being run by her male counter-part.


Mussett, Shannon. "Simone De Beauvoir (1908—1986)." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2017. <>.

"Simone De Beauvoir." A&E Networks Television, 29 Apr. 2016. Web. 26 Mar. 2017. <>.

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