15. “He is the Subject; he is the Absolute. She is the Other” (Beauvoir, The Second Sex, 6). Discuss.
Despite having a relatively conservative childhood in which she was raised a Catholic daughter to a bourgeois family, Simone de Beauvoir steered away from the traditional familial roles and became a pioneer for modern feminism. Perhaps to the distaste of her family, she attended university and always placed the autonomy of the intellectual life above the traditional values of the time, which would entail marriage and childbearing. It is perhaps this freedom from traditional roles that allowed Beauvoir to step back and take a look at the state of women in society; her separation from the norms was what let her see the injustices in everyday life for women. In her work The Second Sex, Beauvoir outlines the oppression of the patriarchy on female livelihood and attempts to discover the origins of, and the lasting effects of this oppression. According to Beauvoir, women are entrapped within a system of patriarchy from which they have not been able to escape due to underlying and enduring social and economic factors. Among the primary issues that contribute to the continuation of male oppression is the female fear of economic and social isolation. In terms of economic isolation, the female of Beauvoir’s day was generally not employed and was solely reliant on the income of the male for economic support. With this being said, it was not altogether impossible for a female to work and support herself, however the economic prospects of this woman would be dire at best. In many countries, the wages for women were lower than those of men, in Beauvoir’s time, and therefore a traditional family provided more economic prosperity for the women of the time, as the male would support the family with his higher earnings. It was also the case (and still to some degree is) that the women of the time would not be able to acquire a career with as...
Cited: Beauvoir, Simone De. The Second Sex. New York: Vintage, 2011. Print.
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