The Notion of the Body and Sex in Simone de Beauvoir's Philosophy
Languages of publication
In her masterpiece The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir depicts the atrocities of a typical patriarchal society. The author assumes that every human being should have the opportunity to experience feelings of a conquest and of being conquered to fully appreciate freedom. The body, the essential condition of human existence, is equally an object and a subject. Unfortunately, as Beauvoir reveals, this ontological rule is not respected in a society dominated by men. Patriarchy juxtaposes a male body, the subject, with a female body, the object. The main purpose of the present article is to answer the question, which many interpreters of Beauvoir's text have posed themselves: does Beauvoir really blame only patriarchy for such an injustice or is she rather willing to admit that female biology also contributes to such a biased situation. Researchers have never been unanimous on this issue. However, deeper analysis of The Second Sex as presented in this article finds that Beauvoir does not explain the social situation of women as a result of their biology at any point. According to Beauvoir, the discrimination of women in society is totally undeserved. This article also illustrates the originality of Beauvoir's thoughts in relations to Jean-Paul Sartre's philosophy. In her times, Beauvoir was mainly known as a novelist and the publication of The Second Sex was, misleadingly, not regarded by critics as a philosophical work. In The Second Sex, Beauvoir presents her own theory of interpersonal relationship, different from the one created in Sartre's Being and Nothingness.
1 - 3 - 2012
3 - 4 - 2012
- Chirpaz F., Body [in Polish]. IFiS PAN, Warszawa 1998.
- Plato, Phaedo. In: Cooper J. M., Hutchison D. S. (eds.), Plato, Complete Works. Hackett Publishing, Indianapolis 1997, 49-100.
- Kail M., Simone de Beauvoir, philosopher [in French]. Presses Universitaires de France, Paris 2006.
- Aphéceix L., An Ambiguous Approach to the Female Body and Consciousness. In: Delphy Ch., Chaperon S. (eds.), The Fiftieth Anniversary of The Second Sex [in French]. Editions Syllepse, Paris 2002, 40-47.
- Beauvoir de S., The Second Sex. Vintage Books, New York 1989.
- Gothlin E., Sex and existence. Philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir [in French]. Editions Michalon, Paris 2001.
- Scarth F., The Other Within. Ethics, Politics and the Body in Simone de Beauvoir. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham 2004.
- Bair D., Simone de Beauvoir. Touchstone, New York 1990.
- Murzyn A., Simone de Beauvoir. Relations between Philosophy and Sex [in Polish]. Impuls, Kraków 1999.
- Putnam Tong R., Feminist Thought. A More Comprehensive Introduction [in Polish]. PWN, Warszawa 2002.
- Arp K., The Bonds of Freedom. Simone de Beauvoir's Existentialist Ethics. Open Court, Illinois 2001.
- Fisher L., Feminist phenomenology of Simone de Beauvoir. In: Delphy Ch., Chaperon S. (eds.), The Fiftieth Anniversary of The Second Sex [in French]. Editions Syllepse, Paris 2002, 130-138.
Publication order reference