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The Second Sex
by Simone de Beauvoir (1949)
Woman as Other
FOR a long time I have hesitated to write a
book on woman. The subject is irritating,
especially to women; and it is not new. Enough
ink has been spilled in quarrelling over feminism,
and perhaps we should say no more about it. It is
still talked about, however, for the voluminous
nonsense uttered during the last century seems to
have done little to illuminate the problem. After
all, is there a problem? And if so, what is it? Are
there women, really? Most assuredly the theory of
the eternal feminine still has its adherents who
will whisper in your ear: ‘Even in Russia women
still are women’; and other erudite persons –
sometimes the very same – say with a sigh:
‘Woman is losing her way, woman is lost.’ One
wonders if women still exist, if they will always
exist, whether or not it is desirable that they
should, what place they occupy in this world,