“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”
Simone de Beauvoir, French Feminist writer, would have turned 109 years old today. Born in 1908, Simone de Beauvoir is one of the greatest feminist writers this world has seen. Known as an existentialist, de Beauvoir refused to agree with the norms set for her by society.
She wrote countless books during her lifetime, but some of them stand out even today and are relevant in every sense. One of her most celebrated works, ‘The Second Sex’, critiques patriarchy and the second rate treatment women have been subjected to. The nearly 1000-page book, ‘The Second Sex’ is considered to be one of the earliest feminist works and the starting point of the second-wave feminism. The book faced major controversies in its lifetime as it was characterised as pornography and the Vatican placed the book on their forbidden list.
Here are some badass and brutally honest quotes from the book itself which you should know:
“Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with absolute truth.”
“All oppression creates a state of war. And this is no exception.”
“One is not born a genius, one becomes a genius; and the feminine situation has up to the present rendered this becoming practically impossible.”
“Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.”
“…her wings are cut and then she is blamed for not knowing how to fly.”
“The body is not a thing, it is a situation: it is our grasp on the world and our sketch of our project”
“No one is more arrogant toward women, more aggressive or scornful, than the man who is anxious about his virility.”
“The whole of feminine history has been man-made. Just as in America there is no Negro problem, but rather a white problem; just as anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem, it is our problem; so the woman problem has always been a man problem.”
“If the feminine issue is so absurd, is because the male’s arrogance made it “a discussion”
“What would Prince Charming have for occupation if he had not to awaken the Sleeping beauty?”
“But women do not say ‘We’, except at some congress of feminists or similar formal demonstration; men say ‘women’, and women use the same word in referring to themselves.”
“If her functioning as a female is not enough to define woman, if we decline also to explain her through “the eternal feminine,” and if nevertheless, we admit, provisionally, that women do exist, then we must face the question: what is a woman? . . . The fact that I ask it is in itself significant. A man would never get the notion of writing a book on the peculiar situation of the human male. But if I wish to define myself, I must first of all say, ”I am a woman”; on this truth must be based all further discussion.”
The Second Sex has now made it to the list of books we are going to read in 2017, what about you?