The Second Sex - Introduction (Simone de Beauvoir)

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A well-known writer thanks to her novels but also thanks to her relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir is one of the most famous novelist and feminist of the last century. Most of her novels, among whom She Came To Stay (1943) and Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter (1958) treated the main subject of finding one's place in the world, more precisely in society. Yet, the novel which, until today, creates debates and provokes reactions is The Second Sex which she wrote in 1949 and which is still considered as "a profound analysis of women's role in society". What are the different points she develops in order to make her readers understand that society should change? Why, 46 years after the publication of the novel, can we say that she was right or wrong?

One of the Simone de Beauvoir's first thought about feminism is to say out loud that "a historical event has resulted in the subjugation of the weaker by the stronger" (page XXIV). I definitely agree with this statement because otherwise, why men aren't called the "weaker sex"? Further in the introduction, she adds that "The division of the sexes is a biological fact, not an event in human history" (page XXV) but still, it is in man's ability to "choose" the sex of the child as the woman brings the "X" part while the man can bring either another "X" or a "Y". She also says in page XXV, after explaining that fanatical people would like to exterminate a race or two, that "woman cannot even dream of exterminating the males". Why not? For the one and only reason that our two sexes are complementary, one cannot live without the other. Later on, Beauvoir explains that "In the economic sphere men and women can almost be said to make up two castes; […] the former hold the better jobs, get higher wages, and have more opportunity for success than their new competitors" (page XXVI). It is well known that in our modern world women who have the same job as men are not paid the same salary. Beauvoir also brings up...
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