(Simone de Beauvoir)
Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir was a French writer, feminist, and existentialist philosopher (I will not get into the essence of her philosophy tonight- partly because it’s late, partly because my roommate is better at explaining it than me). She wrote many works of fiction and nonfiction, but one of her best known books is what is most commonly thought of as a catalyst for the second-wave feminist movement: The Second Sex.
In Sex, de Beauvoir states that women have become the “other” sex (thereby classifying men as the “normal” sex) and that men have given this classification to women by throwing everything they do under the shroud of “mystery” (which sounds like just plain laziness to me).
The Second Sex was also one of the first books that attempted to discern what it means to be a woman by establishing the difference between sex and gender. We are born with a sex, but gender is a part of identity that we gradually acquire through experience, other people, and (hopefully) our own empowerment.
It gets a bit more complex and due to the aforementioned lateness of this post I’m gonna stop it there for now and remind you that you should go to SlutWalk NYC on October 1st.