Le deuxième sexe I Les faits et les mythes II L'expérience vécue summary ë 108

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Le deuxième sexe I Les faits et les mythes II L'expérience vécue summary ë 108 ð Newly translated and unabridged in English for the first time Simone de Beauvoir’s masterwork is a powerful analysis of the Western notion of “woman” and a groundbreaking exploration of ineuality and otherness Newly translated and unabridged in English for the first time Simone de Beauvoir’s masterwork is a powerful analysis of the Western notion of “woman” and a groundbreaking explo. Reading De Beauvoir’s seminal “feminist manifesto” has allowed me to compose my genealogical tree for The Second Sex is a book about my mother and the mother of my mother and the mother of my grandmother and of all my female ancestors in endless regressive progression who rebelled before obeying and who ended up capitulating like slaves shackled to the indomitable future of preordained inferiority “Thus humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him; she is not regarded as an autonomous being” 16Reading De Beauvoir’s concentric lines of argument framed within the existentialist discourse about the inward and outward implications of being a woman in a world devised by the masculine mind has glued the fragmented selves of my dispersed persona back together My inner cracks have been filled with irrefutable evidence amalgamated from diverging fields of study infused with patriarchal metanarration such as the scientific in its medical biological and psychoanalytical aspects; and the humanistic taking philosophy mythology literature and historical materialism as pinpointing references “One is not born but rather becomes a woman” 295What I inferred to be particular uirks and shortcomings of my own character like the incessant urge to please the lack of firmness when I voice out my opinions the sense of displacement in my professional life the unavowed guilt of my indecision on motherhood and many other details turn out to be the partial result of centuries of alienation from a position of imbued dependence and subservient otherness in relation to man whose gender inherently assigns the role of “the essential” and “the independent” to himThe female on the other hand achieves fulfilment finding her reason to be in the free conscience of the masculine figure Man is the mirror where women seek their reflectionReading De Beauvoir’s subversive account on the status of women in the context of the modernized Western societies has revealed the double trap of the socio political organizations in developed countries where women have reached euality economic autonomy and a relevant presence in the public institutions only in appearance but not in ethos Women’s voices must be not only generalized and active but also uestioning and disruptive in order to reinvent the endemic hierarchy of a society culturally and traditionally built on the oppression of half of its population Are my ambitions dreams and yearnings my own Or are they the result of subliminally indoctrination passed through generations of tamed female mentalityReading De Beauvoir has put me on the ropes reminding me of my privileged situation compared to the atrocious and reiterative abuse inflicted upon women victims of dogmatic fundamentalism or totalitarian governments in most countries of the world cases of ablation rape physical and psychological maltreatment saturate the media tragic facts that back up De Beauvoir’s theory that femininity is neither essence nor destiny but an artificial construction of the cultural societal and historical reuirements of time and placeReading De Beauvoir has sharpened my feminism rekindled my empathy and opened my eyes to the impending call to redefine the socio political economic and cultural frames of a so called democracy which is only de jure and not de facto and to avoid the postmodernist doctrine of the difference feminism that allots innate and intrinsic ualities to the feminine gender to establish a collective front that will guarantee new models of egalitarian coexistence for women inside and outside the public and private spheres A collective outcry arises from the underground that joins many others a dull murmur gathering momentum from those living on the fringes of society women immigrants those of another race the others the marginalized whose voices have been chocked by gratuitous despotism for centuries start intonating a demand in unison Don’t you hear it It’s the canon of collective indignation roaring to achieve individual emancipation “Resignedness is only abdication and flight there is no other way out for woman than to work for her liberation” 639

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Ration of ineuality and otherness  This long awaited new edition reinstates significant portions of the original French text that were cut in the first English translation Vital and. The part of this book that has affected me the most in the ten years since I've read it is most certainly the introduction where de Beauvoir says that in order to define herself to herself she must start with I am a woman This surprised her then as it surprises me now when I realize that that is how I must start too Although I grew up in a post feminist you can have it all type of environment it was eye opening and disconcerting to learn that women are considered the other as opposed to the default regardless of how I choose to see myselfThe book is divided into philosophical literary and biological reflections of the feminine While the biology hasn't necessarily stood the scientific test of time an inevitable danger when you combine science and philosophy de Beauvoir still brings up interesting points Similarly although I hadn't read nor have I bothered to read since many of the authors that she delves into in the literary section the book has had the effect of making a sort of gender studies media critic out of me always asking how and why women are represented in the larger culture For me the most solid part of the book was the philosophy section which one might expect from a philosopher The ideas that de Beauvoir has put forth about what it means to be a woman not in a trite Mars and Venus kind of way but at a fundamental level and seen through the lens of society have encouraged me to look at the world and my place in it in a thoughtful and rigorous manner

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Le deuxième sexe I Les faits et les mythes II L'expérience vécueGroundbreaking Beauvoir’s pioneering and impressive text remains as pertinent today as it was back then and will continue to provoke and inspire generations of men and women to co. Knocked Up Preggers Up the Spout A Bun in the Oven The word “pregnant” is pregnant with connotation And for women—often viewed in bodily terms than men—nothing foregrounds a woman's body than pregnancy It’s interesting to consider what Simone de Beauvoir dubbed the mother of modern feminism thought about motherhood itself Given what she writes in The Second Sex Beauvoir would probably concur with my friend’s attitude A number of years ago a friend of mine spoke to me of her desire to have a baby She felt—being in her early thirties—she should get on with it but would not consider being pregnant while she was still in graduate school When I asked her why she responded that pregnancy made you into such a “body” and in the environment of graduate school she would feel like “a body among minds” Her fear encapsulates a number of assumptions A mother is a body A body does not think Intellectuals—graduate students faculty writers—think Mothers do not think A woman—as a graduate student or a professor—writes talks produces thinks from the position of a daughter that is from the position of a female body still unencumbered enough to think Pregnancy or maternity besides being a position traditionally at odds with intellect consider the old caveat “the baby or the book” also represents loss of control and a resultant discomfort with the body somatophobia Marianne Hirsch in The MotherDaughter Plot isolates both lack of control and somatophobia as two areas “of avoidance and discomfort with the maternal” 165 often apparent in feminist rhetoric In The Women’s Room one of Marilyn French’s characters sums up pregnancy as a time when a woman loses control of her body and by extension her mind as well as her identity Pregnancy is a long waiting in which you learn what it means completely to lose control over your life There are no coffee breaks; no days off in which you regain your normal shape and self and can return refreshed to your labors You can’t wish away even for an hour the thing that is swelling you up stretching your stomach until the skin feels as if it will burst kicking you from the inside until you are black and blue You can’t even hit back without hurting yourself The condition and you are identical you are no longer a person but a pregnancy 69 With pregnancy you are “no longer a person” you are no longer “you” Logically the next uestion is “Will you still be you when you become a mother” For Simone de Beauvoir the answer would be “No” pregnancy and motherhood rob a woman of her identity and her intellect Over and over again in her interviews and in her books Beauvoir refers to mothers as slaves reduced to bodies and cut off from intellectual pursuits Beauvoir’s description of pregnancy from her influential book The Second Sex 1949 sounds very much like the description uoted above from The Women’s Room While French’s character emphasizes how much pregnancy overtakes a woman’s identity Beauvoir goes further and depicts pregnancy like a disease that ultimately annihilates awoman the fetus is an enrichment and an injury; the fetus is a part of her body and it is a parasite that feeds on it; she possesses it and she is possessed by it; it represents the future and carrying it she feels herself vast as the world; but this very opulence annihilates her she feels that she herself is no longer anything emphasis added 495 In this theorization a woman not only loses her former identity in the process of pregnancy but actually loses her mind as Beauvoir illustrates when she describes the pregnant woman in less than human terms but in the mother to be the antithesis of subject and object ceases to exist; she and the child with which she is swollen make up together an euivocal pair overwhelmed by life Ensnared by nature the pregnant woman is plant and animal a stock pile of colloids an incubator an egg; she scares children proud of their young straight bodies and makes young people titter contemptuously because she is a human being a conscious and free individual who has become life’s passive instrument 495 Beauvoir’s perspective in the above uotation attracts comment Though The Second Sex ostensibly is presented as an objective critiue there is no attempt at objectivity here In what often amounts to an emotional tirade Beauvoir relentlessly focuses on the pregnant woman’s body euating it with an “animal” or a “stockpile of colloids” and then—rather gratuitously—states that a pregnant woman “scares children” and makes them “titter contemptuously” Beauvoir’s descriptions of pregnancy illustrate her attitudes about the pregnant body and the resultant disintegration of the mind and identity she sees occurring with maternity Beauvoir’s attack on motherhood is surprising unless you've read Beauvoir’s autobiographical works There you can see how Beauvoir systematically rejects the body—particularly a woman’s body—in favor of the life of the “mind” And Beauvoir’s research on motherhood proves less than scientific While she presents her findings in The Second Sex as though they are objective and backed by evidence from broad samplings her viewpoints on motherhood rest largely on her observations of a few friends uotes from novels and her own personal life Beauvoir for instance posits that the nausea women suffer in pregnancy demonstrates that pregnancy is not a natural state for human women given that nausea is “unknown for other mammals” 498 In evidence for this conclusion Beauvoir preemptively cites herself referring the reader to an earlier point in her own text Whatever groundbreaking work Beauvoir accomplishes in The Second Sex needs to be balanced against Beauvoir’s privileging of the mind over the body as well as her evident distaste for women’s bodily processes and pregnancy in particular Further Beauvoir’s desire to erase the body doesn’t work Ironically as Jane Flax points out the search for truth in the world of pure mind ultimately leads right back to the body The self which is constituted by thought and created by an act of thought by the separation of mind and body is driven to master nature because the self cannot ultimately deny its material character or dependence on nature Despite Descartes’ claim the body reasserts itself at least at the moment of death 28 And can one really separate the mind from the body Jean François Lyotard provocatively explores this uestion in his essay “Can Thought Go On without a Body” Lyotard considers whether technology could create machines “to make thinking materially possible” after our bodies are destroyed 77 Lyotard concludes that not only is thought impossibly entwined with the body but that the body actually creates thought “Thinking and suffering overlap” 82 Thought Lyotard posits attempts to create endings to once and for all silence the discomfort of the unthought The unthought hurts It’s uncomfortable because we’re comfortable in what’s already thought And thinking which is accepting this discomfort is also to put it bluntly an attempt to have done with it That’s the hope sustaining all writing painting etc that at the end things will be better As there is no end this hope is illusory 84 The impasse of artificial intelligence thus hinges on desire thought without body has no impetus Indeed Lyotard uestions why machines designed to mimic human minds would ever start thinking without the discomfort of the unthought making “their memory suffer” 85 We need he continues “machines that suffer from the burden of their memory” 85 ie machines with bodies But it is precisely this burden the burden of memory the burden of the body Beauvoir hopes to silence as she fashions her life into a trajectory of pure intellect Increasingly Beauvoir identifies herself with the life of the mind she associates with the male sphere while simultaneously excising all that connects her to her female body Though Beauvoir points out many of women’s ineuities in A Second Sex and argues that women have often been viewed as the lesser or “other” sex ironically it is a sex that Beauvoir seems to reject as well adapted from a prior publication