A Brief History
Simone de Beauvoir was born in 1908 in Paris, France. At a young age, her father began to push her to read and write more which would become the motivation for her later in life. She was raised by her parents to be a devout Catholic but at the age of 14 began to question the faith and pronounced herself an Atheist. De Beauvoir studied mathematics at the Institut Catholique de Paris and also language/literature at the Institut Sainte-Marie. After this she then studied philosophy at Sorbonne, and in 1928 she became the ninth woman to receive a degree from the university. In the year 1929, she took the philosophy agrégation exam and placed second behind Jean-Paul Sarte. Jean-Paul Sarte and herself would remain lovers all their life until Sarte's death in 1980. She taught in a variety of different schools until 1943 when she was dismissed from teaching.
One is not born a woman, but becomes one. -Simone de Beauvoir
Simone de Beauvoir is mostly know for being an existentialist philosopher, writer, and feminist. Her views on feminism are best shown through her writings in The Second Sex. Through this work, de Beauvoir tells how the woman is seen as the Other to the man. She also begins to show the ideas of how one chooses their own freedom. This book plays a huge part in the world of feminism and ultimately is a huge reason that woman search for equality with men in society. Simone also begins to approach the reasoning behind why men treat women as the other and not the equal. When looking at the way women are treated by men, the constant idea that men cannot understand women comes up. This idea that women are confusing is just the beginning of oppression. Simone de Beauvoir also tells of how the woman who does not follow the societal norms is looked down upon by the people of society. This exact remark is also very prevalent even now in the 21st century. She also states that this view on women has caused many to fall behind and not be able to succeed the way that men have.
A man never begins by establishing himself as an individual of a certain sex: his being man poses no problem.
Notable Feminist Works by Simone de Beauvoir:
- She Came to Stay
- The Second Sex
- Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter
- Force of Circumstance
- All Men are Mortal
- The Ethics of Ambiguity