I am sitting here now contemplating the great and controversial figure of Simone de Beauvoir. If we all had the time and energy to read The Second Sex I believe women would be altogether more evolved, empowered and emancipated. I was reading from the great oeuvre today and am compelled to share parts of it with you all now.
She draws on Aristotle’s quote that “the female is a female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities”, that “we should regard the female nature as afflicted with a natural defectiveness”. She also brings in St Thomas’ statement that woman is to be considered an “imperfect man”, an “incidental being”. De Beauvoir goes on to say:
“Thus humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him; she is not regarded as an autonomous being. Michelet writes: “Woman, the relative being…” And Benda is most positive in his Rapport d’Uriel: “The body of man makes sense in itself quite apart from that of woman, whereas the latter seems wanting in significance by itself… Man can think of himself without woman. She cannot think of herself without man.” And she is simply what man decrees; thus she is called “the sex”, by which is meant that she appears essentially to the male as a sexual being. For him she is sex – absolute sex, no less. She is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her; she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. He is the Subject, he is the Absolute – she is the Other. “