I am so ecstatic about this text that I can come up with neither a good title nor a good opening. This woman is seriously amazing, and I think I like this mostly because it’s not aggressive feminism but instead a push for equality. Her tone is readable and her language isn’t too flowery, and she refers to other philosophers we’ve read (and hated), particularly Freud. In fact, she dismisses Freud’s Electra complex as ‘nonsense’ on page 43, so she must know what she’s talking about.
“Some say that, having been created after Adam, she is evidently a secondary being; others say on the contrary that Adam was only a rough draft and that God succeeded in producing the human being in perfection when He created Eve.” (lvi-lvii) This is a nice way to put the creation dilemma, and she goes on to say that we must get rid of the concepts of superiority and inferiority. Great.
“It is not the lack of the penis that causes this complex, but rather woman’s total situation; if the little girl feels penis envy it is only as the symbol of privileges enjoyed by boys. The place the father holds in the family, the universal predominance of males, her own education – everything confirms her in her belief in masculine superiority.” (44) I like this way of justifying her disbelief in penis envy. I think penis envy is just a simplified way of explaining that because men have traditionally held power, some women wish that they were men (or at least more like men, so they could have power as well). This makes a lot of sense and it’s completely true.
“All psychoanalysts systematically reject the idea of choice and the correlated concept of value, and therein lies the intrinsic weakness of the system.” (46) This dismisses traditional psychoanalysis in an educational way and points out the fatal flaw with a system that is widely believed to explain many of life’s phenomena.
To conclude, I just really love this, and I feel like it’s more of an ‘everyone is equal and all superiority/inferiority should be thrown out the window. As Simone de Beauvoir says, “The fact is that every concrete human being is always a singular, separate individual.” (And we shouldn’t just be part of some complex or some phenomenon or some idea; we should just be people.)
I like that what de Beauvoir says about the creation of Adam and Eve echoes what Rabbi Daum said in our Genesis lecture about them too – that Eve may be the first differentiated human being, and Adam could just be the leftovers.