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(3) The Second Sex - Simone de Beauvoir

Hello, everyone. I am Polina from We Read to Share - We Learn to Share's new department. This is the last part of the book review of The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.

Please leave comments to share your thoughts about the book with me. Hope you enjoy!

In Part 3, Beauvoir examines famous writers such as Montherlant, D H Lawrence, Claudel, Breton and Stendhal. She credits Stendhal as actually seeing women as human beings. All of these novelists believe women are perfect when they are the Other and expect women to be selfless and sacrificial for men, if not they are portrayed as evil. Beauvoir speculates on how these believes affect everyday life, and reiterates that women cannot be encompassed by a single idea. This leads to men trying and failing to understand them and settling for writing vague untrue things posited as universal truth and meaning of women. And the connection of women to nature leads to men seeing the suffering and inferior position as natural. Beauvoir points out that taking away these myths in favour of truth would not reduce men’s experience, and celebrates that women who occupy professional positions are now increasingly seen as desirable too, and hopes that perhaps this will pave the way forward to new beliefs.

My thoughts

Simone de Beauvoir makes use of stimulating questions that prompt the reader to think, and uses we a lot, as a way to make it personal for the reader. Her tone is quite humorous, it makes it easy to understand her point, but there are quite long sentences which made it difficult for me sometimes to follow. Part 2 is much more assertive and filled with historical examples, than other parts, but I would say Part 1 addresses the most anti feminist crticisms. Overall it’s clear how much work was put into this, and I am honestly in shock that Beauvoir published this so quickly. Her choices of words and case studies are nuanced, and this really shows why this book was so revolutionary. Everything is very smooth flowing, and it’s brilliantly written. I got a sense of incompletion a little, but this is perhaps because it’s only the first volume.

Future reading Recommendations similar to this book

Hood Feminism

A brief history of misogyny

Not That Bad


Feminists don’t wear pink and other lies

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