De Beauvoir's “Woman as Other”

Topics: Gender, Human rights, Feminism Pages: 4 (1407 words) Published: November 27, 2010
“Woman as Other”

De Beauvoir’s “Woman as Other” lays out an elaborate argument on gender inequality; using the term “other” to establish woman’s alternate, lesser important role throughout her work, the author dissects and examines from its origin the female’s secondary position in society in contrast to man. Indeed, from the beginning of recorded history, the duality of man, by definition, positions woman at the opposing end of the spectrum in relation to her male counterpart. Even by today’s modern and accepting standards, the female suffers under the brand of being the sub-standard half of the duality equation; compared to her male opponent, women are paid lower wages, have fewer and limited expression of rights, achieve lower educations, have greatly reduced access to opportunities and resources and lead a diminished role in decision making responsibilities. Only in the last century woman gained the right to vote in this country, thus marking the beginning of her liberation, but one hundred years later woman’s plight for equal status with man has improved only marginally. Discrimination against the female gender in the form of gender-based violence, economic discrimination, and the continued practice of harmful traditional customs remains the most omnipresent and invasive type of inequality.

Often called the most pervasive yet least recognized human rights abuse in the world, gender-based violence is the most potentially damaging form of discrimination. In our male-dominated world where man is king of his castle and woman his willing dependent, gender-based violence offers an effective method to maintain supreme authority; because violence produces submission and submission imitates authority. Left unchallenged, man as the absolute master is capable of loosing unspeakable abuses on his female dependents. Worldwide, as many as one in three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some other way, most often by someone she knows, including by...
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