The Woman in Love
Simone de Beauvoir, the author of the novel The Second Sex, was a writer and a philosopher as well as a political activist and feminist. She was born in 1908 in Paris, France to an upper-middle class family. Although as a child Beauvoir was extremely religious, mostly due to training from her mother as well as from her education, at the age of fourteen she decided that there was no God, and remained an atheist until she died. While attending her postgraduate school she met Jean Paul Sartre who encouraged her to write a book. In 1949 she wrote her most popular book, The Second Sex. This book would become a powerful guide for modern feminism. Before writing this book de Beauvoir did not believe herself to be a feminist. Originally she believed that “women were largely responsible for much of their own situation”. Eventually her views changed and she began to believe that people were in fact products of their upbringing. Simone de Beauvoir died in Paris in 1986 at the age of 78.
The Woman in Love, a section taken from Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, describes her theories on men and women in love and the vast differences and purposes they think love is for. This book was published in 1949, and with this in mind we can understand the way she describes women as the weaker sex and how dependent women are on men. In the beginning of the text she states that “The word ‘love’ has not all the same meaning for both sexes, and this is a source of the grave misunderstandings that separate them...love is merely an occupation in the life of the man, while it is life itself for the woman(683).” This first quote from this chapter is important because it really outlines what she is about to get at throughout the entire chapter. She goes very in depth on the perception of the woman, because love to a woman means way more than it does for a man. She does include the points that love means for men, but not nearly as in depth.
Because de Beauvoir was a feminist, she portrayed the male as an independent being of power, which in some instances today they may still be seen as such. She claimed that the different experiences and purposes for love between the genders had nothing to do with biological differences but rather social construct. Women devote their entire lives to love and to the person that they love and see it as a gift, while men desires for this gift are less intense. de Beauvoir even goes deeper to say that men see love as “no more than a passing crisis (??).”
According to de Beauvoir, [Men] never abandon themselves completely; even if they fall on their knees before their mistresses...the women they love is merely one value among others; they want to integrate her into their existence, not submerge their entire existence in her (683).” While these men see women simply as a value along with other values in their life, women dedicate everything they are to these men. From their earliest memories, they dream about finding...