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Analysis Of The Second Sex, By Simone De Beauvoir

733 words - 3 pages

Why is a woman “the other” of a man? The term “the other” describes the female’s secondary position, to a man, in her own mind and in society’s standards. In The Second Sex, by Simone de Beauvoir, the understanding of reality is made up of interaction between opposing forces. For an individual to define oneself and have a true understanding, s/he must also define something in opposition. “[A]t the moment when man asserts himself as subject and free being, the idea of the Other arises,” says de Beauvoir. Throughout history, men claim themselves to be the subject or the superior to women. A man sees a woman as the object to his success. She is essential in sexual pleasure and in producing children, but as an independent she has no substantial value. A woman completes her partner when she, herself, isn’t complete. This idea leads women to hesitate in following their own dreams and asserting their freedom. Even though this imbalance is closer in modern times, the situation is still present. Society accepts “roles” a man and a woman should play, when in reality everyone should have the same opportunities and no one should accept anything less.
The Second Sex further explores the reasoning to this imbalance, through the idea of immanence versus transcendence. Immanence refers to something inherent within oneself. Transcendence means to go beyond ordinary limits or to be superior. De Beauvoir uses “immanence” to describe the domain set on women; the limits of the domain are the boundaries of themselves. “Transcendence” expresses the opposing force, men. Men are thought to be powerful in the external universe, while women are more passive. Throughout history, men claim themselves to be more productive than women. For example, in times of war only men were able to fight while women were to stay home and perform household work. This suggests that a woman isn’t capable of doing the work of a man, and sets a domain to what a woman believes her role is in life. Even though...

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