Simone de Beauvoir is one of the great personalities of the twentieth century. outstanding philosopher, political activist before and after World War II, is already an icon of culture and thought. Their contributions are included within the atheism, existentialism, ethics and Communist militancy. He was also a great novelist of fiction that won the Goncourt Prize, the most prestigious of French letters, ‘mandarins’, 1954.
But over time, the most outstanding contribution of French philosopher is his analysis of the status of women, which marked the beginning of the second wave. Following the publication of the essay ‘The Second Sex’, feminism never again be the same. This treaty charted the way forward in the struggle for true equality to explain, step by step, the various sciences, history, culture and structures of political and economic power trying to turn the woman into a passive being that accepts roles that have been awarded. It’s what she calls an otherness, a social construction from another man.
Since then, in an interdisciplinary way, feminism will work on finding the “new woman”.
“I do not believe in the eternal feminine, an essence of woman, something mystical. The woman is not born, but made. There is no eternal feminine from the origin, are roles. And that very well appreciated when sociology is studied. The role men and women is not determined absolutely in all civilizations, there are big changes. ” (Interview with Simone de Beauvoir in Spanish Television. Weekly Report. File RTVE.)
Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir was born in Paris (France), January 9, 1908. Several events mark his childhood and youth
“Stop believing in God is assumed full responsibility for their own decisions.”
He has written extensively on the relationship of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, a key figure of existentialist philosophy. They never married or had children or daughters, lived in different houses but were united until Sartre’s death in 1980.
Loving “covenant” with Jean-Paul Sartre begins at the University of the Sorbonne in Paris. A brilliant Simone graduated in Philosophy with only 21 years.
Sartre introduced into his circle of friends, who nicknamed “Castor” and both become inseparable. They shared intellectual struggles, political positions and a romantic notion of eroticism based on freedom.
They professed a “necessary love” or “essential” compatible with other “contingent loves”. Simone de Beauvoir advocated free love and, along with several stable couples, had lovers of both sexes and participated in loving trios, some with their students as a school teacher of Philosophy in Marseille (1931). On the complaint of one of them, he was banned for two years of their place (between 1943 and 1945).
As a teacher, he taught literature and philosophy at a school in Rouen (from 1932-1941), until the Nazi occupation, was deprived of the post.
One of the love triangles, with Olga Kosakievicz, served as an argument for his novel ‘The Guest’ ( ‘L’invitée), written between 1935 and 1937 (published in 1943) with which he won public recognition.
More recently, ‘Misunderstanding in Moscow’, a biographical account of old age and his last years of life together, questions the ‘free love’ between them.
Before writing ‘The Second Sex’, Simone de Beauvoir had published several papers and the status of women was present in almost all of them with their usual themes: freedom, individual responsibility and action.
His debut, the collection of stories ‘Quand prime le spirituel’, was not published until 1979. Always with the political and social criticism background, wrote titles as ‘The Blood of Others “(” Le sang des autres’, 1943 ), ‘All men are mortal’ ( ‘Tous les hommes sont mortels’, 1943-1946) or his only play, ‘useless mouths’ ( ‘Les bouches useless’, 1944).
He was 41 years old and had already published ‘Mandarins’ most awarded his novel, when he decided to reflect deeply on the feminine condition and lay the foundations of what later “gender theory” would be named in his two-volume work “The second sex ‘(‘ Le deuxième sexe ‘, 1949).
This work, transit between the second and third wave feminism is the most important of the current equality feminism and advocates a transformation laws, constumbres and education so that women can access the same projects and activities that man, but always from the existentialist dogma of freedom from taking individual responsibility.
“The mythology has not changed because it is a superstructure, has not changed because the economic base and policy has not changed. As the man in power myths of women as you think invented. Of course, if the real situation of women changed, mythology fall more or less. “(Interview with Simone de Beauvoir in Spanish Television. Weekly Report. File RTVE.)
The myth of the ‘eternal feminine’, the concept of ‘otherness’, the passive role of women in society, the obstacles of motherhood and marriage for the freedom of women, the weight of religion, the right to abortion .. Many of the contributions from Simone de Beauvoir to feminism, and universal thought remain.
Since the publication of ‘The Second Sex’, he never left feminism and was one of the promoters of the Manifesto of the 343, a public statement of 343 French intellectuals in favor of free abortion in 1971.
“Feminism is a way of life individually and collectively fight.”
As an activist, he was also involved in reporting and draw attention to the torture suffered by women during the Algerian war.
He alternated his social activism with the preparation of his autobiography and several works dedicated to Sartre, old age, or hypocrisy of Parisian society.
His death on April 14, 1986, left a huge void in French culture. He died surrounded by his adopted daughter, her partner in the last decade Sylvie Le Bon, and filmmaker Claude Lanzmann, who continues the direction of the magazine founded by her and Sartre in 1975, Les Temps Modernes.
(Sources: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Special 50 years of ‘The Second Sex’, Ciudaddemujeres.com and ‘The Second Sex’ Simone de Beauvoir Chair Collection Editions Feminism Translation of Alicia Martorell….).