Simone de Beauvoir: the Woman in Love

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Beauvoir discusses love in relation to sexual difference. She also discusses the difference between authentic and inauthentic love. What differences between women and men's experiences of love does she discuss? How does she think the problems of love can be rectified?

Simone de Beauvoir's text "The Woman in Love", taken from her book "The Second Sex" (1988) describes her theories on men and women in love. This essay will explore her propositions about the differences men and women experience in love, look at her ideas of authentic and inauthentic love, and how she proposes for the differences and problems of love to be dealt with. De Beauvoir published her work in 1988, and with this context in mind we can understand the way she exemplifies women as the weaker sex and dependent on men. In today's context there is less inequality however there is still a difference in power between men and women, this essay will also examine whether de Beauvoir's theories could still be relevant in society today.

De Beauvoir suggests that love is a totally different experience for men as it is for women and claims this is not to do with a biological difference between the sexes but rather a social construct. Women experience love as a total devotion, a gift of herself to the man she loves, whilst men experience love as a less intense desire for this gift, as "no more than a passing crisis" (p. 673). Men experience love in this way as they are portrayed as independent beings of power, subjects who are capable of controlling their own lives and achieving transcendence without assistance; women are seen as dependent creatures and incapable of transcending alone, they have been led to believe this their entire life and so are encouraged to align themselves with a male so as to achieve some form of transcendence through him. De Beauvoir writes mainly about the love that women experience, with only several references to the experiences of men, perhaps to exemplify her point that...
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