Simone De Beauvoir Research Paper

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Mercedes Wong PHIL 2306 Dr. Cimpean 21 April 2015 Research Essay: Simone de Beauvoir The intellectual capacity of woman has been looked down upon for ages. According to French existentialist philosopher, Simone de Beauvoir, the reality of gender oppression stems from the power men have, “History has shown that men have always held concrete powers, from patriarchy’s earliest times they have deemed it useful to keep woman in a state of dependence… Their codes were set against her…she was thus concretely established as the other” (Beauvoir p.156). From Beauvoir’s statement one can only question why would men want to oppress women to access the same rights, as they possess? What are the differences between men and women, if…show more content…
“There is also the truth of our freedom and this truth, as detailed in The Ethics of Ambiguity, entails a logic of reciprocity and responsibility that contests the terrors of a world ruled only by the authority of power,” (Bergoffen). Beauvoir states that our freedom is developed over time, although as children we are still considered moral because our values are given to us, such as religious values. “In order for us to live ethically then, we must assume this ambiguity rather than try to flee it,” (Mussett). There are three different categories of inauthentic attitudes according to Beauvoir, the “Sub-Man”, a character who is described as bored and lazy most of their life, and denies their freedom altogether. There is also the “serious man” where freedom is left out of the picture, subordinated, and treated as an external value. For example, power for the politician, fame for the actor. And there is the “Nihilist” who believes that everything is meaningless. In some instances Beauvoir also recognizes that there are some occasions where freedom couldn’t be an option for some. “For example, she tells us that there are oppressed peoples such as slaves and many women who exist in a childlike world in which values, customs, gods, and laws are given to them without being freely chosen. Their…show more content…
Beauvoir simply puts an analogy of woman as the “other” and man as “self”. “(Woman) is the incidental, the inessential, as opposed to the essential. He is the subject, he is the absolute—She is the other,” (Mussett). In her lengthy three-part essay Beauvoir goes through the history of struggle and oppression women have endured over the ages of civilization, and how through the development of woman, “One is not born a woman, one becomes one” (Beauvoir). Beauvoir notes that part of the biological development that women experience is foreign to men, such as menstrual cycles, child bearing, and secretion of milk. She also touches on the awkward stages of female adolescence and how it differs from a male, “her strange and bothersome breast are a burden…the imbalance of her hormones creates nervous and vasomotor instability. Menstruation is painful: headaches, over fatigue, abdominal pains, make normal activities distressing or impossible,”

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