The Second Sex Simone De Beauvoir Analysis

1230 Words5 Pages
In the introduction of her book, The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir attempts to define the concept of “woman”, or “femininity” and arrives to the conclusion that woman has been defined as an “other” in relation to men. In this essay I will attempt to explain what de Beauvoir means by defining woman in terms of “other” and will provide some examples as to how this “otherness” is unique in the case of women. De Beauvoir begins her book by asking “what is a woman?” In page 1 she asserts that there exist some individuals who are biologically female (meaning that they have a uterus) who are not considered to be women. She arrives to the conclusion that being a woman is not necessarily tied to being biologically, or “functionally” female. She attempts to find a definition for womanhood, but finds that the term is “typically described in vague and shimmering terms borrowed from a clairvoyant’s vocabulary.” (page 1) She concludes that “women are, among human beings, merely those who are arbitrarily designated by the word ‘woman’”. Of course, this designation is not completely…show more content…
Firstly, she argues, there was not a historical development that marked the beginning of women’s otherness. On page 8 she says, “There have not always been proletariats: there have always been women; they are women by their physiological structure; as far as history can be traced, they have always been subordinate to men; their dependence is not the consequence of an event or becoming, it did not happen.” She seems to be implying through this quote that women have been considered “other” ever since there are women and they haven’t experienced a period in history where this is not the case. This situation is not true for other groups, such as racial and class minorities, as their “otherness” can be traced back to a certain period or

More about The Second Sex Simone De Beauvoir Analysis

Open Document