The second sex analysis

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Within the first volume, de Beauvoir first focuses on biology, psychoanalysis, and historical materialism as three different, flawed theories for explaining the female condition. Biology cannot account for the ways in which society conditions people to treat one another. Psychoanalysis ignores the question of why people are driven by certain motivations to begin with. This first part allows de Beauvoir to establish what kinds of explanations she will be working against when she provides her own theories in the following sections. She begins by tracing the ways in which primitive societies already mistreated women and regarded them as inferior to men.

Simone de Beauvoir

The Second Sex | Issue 69 | Philosophy Now

Simone de Beauvoir is seldom recognized by critics as a political thinker. Of all her writings, however, Beauvoir is by far best known for The Second Sex. The intense focus on this one book ironically served to obscure the importance of her other work, and its organic links to her political ideas. Her work on situated freedom and the political meanings of embodiment push us to understand how freedom is always situated by context and the reality of social identities. First, while most political theorists claim authority by attempting to deny, or at least transcend, their embodiment, Beauvoir embraces hers: she studies her own situation as a woman alongside a multitude of differently situated women in order to claim authority.

Introduction to Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘The Second Sex’

Beauvoir researched and wrote the book in about 14 months between and Some chapters first appeared in Les Temps modernes. Beauvoir asks "What is woman? She describes women's subordination to the species in terms of reproduction, compares the physiology of men and women, concluding that values cannot be based on physiology and that the facts of biology must be viewed in light of the ontological, economic, social, and physiological context. Beauvoir argues that while Engels, in his The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State , maintained that "the great historical defeat of the female sex" is the result of the invention of bronze and the emergence of private property , his claims are unsupported.
Your complimentary articles. You can read four articles free per month. To have complete access to the thousands of philosophy articles on this site, please. Her book The Second Sex radically challenged political and existential theory, but its most enduring impact is on how women understand themselves, their relationships, their place in society, and the construction of gender.