Blog: dedicated to Simone de Beauvoir birthday
Simone de Beauvoir birthday blog post written by co-chief of the Research and Study Group – Valeriya Utkina
Today, 9th of January, Simone de Beauvoir was born 111 years ago. She was a brilliant French writer or philosopher and genderist speaking modern language. Her name entered in feminism history forever. De Beauvoir impacted next generations of women not only by her works but her lifestyle and mindset. She wrote about women and for women of XX th century, today she is read all around the world.
Exactly Simone de Beauvoir made a research in book “The Second sex” (1949) that comprehensive and relevant to this day. It is still cult. Name of de Beauvoir often associates with the Second wave of feminism, because her works were discussed in activated women movement. Above all, cultural patterns of patriarch society, in which women are “other”, “the second sex”.
“But if I wish to define myself, I must first of all say: 'I am a woman'; on this truth must be based all further discussion. A man never begins by presenting himself as an individual of a certain sex; it goes without saying that he is a man.”
Simone de Beauvoir advocated updating of professional and political women career, which will be followed by gender difference disappearance. This conclusion causes heated debates: for example, L. Irigaray points out the need for women to acquire their own language and subjectivity, rather than normalizing the “male” model into which women should be embedded.
The famous phrase “The being a woman is not a way in which one is born, but rather something one becomes”, often taken out of context and has a continuation: “No biological, psychological or economic fate determines the figure that the human female presents in society; it is civilization as a whole that produces this creature, intermediate between male and eunuch, which is described as feminine”. Only in its entirety, the whole phrase is very clearly conveys on of the key attitudes of de Beauvoir: ideas about men and women do not originate “from nature to things”, but are culturally determined. J. Butler pointed out that this quote helped her separate the concepts of “gender” and “sex”
Ahead of her time, the amazing Simone de Beauvoir stood for an active, energetic, independent woman who can act, work, create under the same conditions as men. In his story “Les Belles Images” (1966), de Beauvoir puts into the mouth of one of the heroes the prophetic words: “In our eyes, women mastered professions that a priori seemed inaccessible to them <...>“Personally, I believe the future belongs to women,”, but in response he hears such words of his opponent: “Maybe. But only on condition that they don’t ape the men” and masterfully in the spirit of Simone de Beauvoir retorts: “Feminism: at present everybody was talking about it all the time” .
The XXI century has come, today women not only can, but also do, previously considered “male” affairs - for example, there are 24 women in the world - heads of state: queens, presidents, prime ministers and governors-general. And this is just the beginning. And the books of Simone de Beauvoir are still motivating and inspiring.