Are women more than just a reproductive organ?

Yay for more feminist readings!

I feel a lot of these books are sparking heated debates, but I’m glad we’re exploring this genre. The bane of my existence is how English classes tend to focus on white male european writers. It’s old and it’s tiring.

Often I find myself picking up a book for an English class and just assuming that is who the author is. I even did it with this piece of a novel before I researched the author. You just get in a bad habit of assuming that, and it makes me really sad that even I have succumbed to that.

I found even just the author’s introduction a breath of fresh air.

When de Beauvoir opens with speaking about how feminism is “practically over” I almost burst out laughing. Because at the time, they thought it was. She sparked the second-wave of the feminist movement, and we have made great strides since then. To think that people believed it was done back in the 1950’s is shocking. Even today we have still not reached absolute equality.

The sarcastic, tongue and cheek way she writes is refreshing. Her repeated question of “Are there women?” could confuse people, but I see the humour. For de Beauvoir is aware of the inequality still occurring, and must question the view of society on women.

Another part where she speaks of “woman is a womb” was startling. Often I find that is still an issue today, where people can only see women as mothers, caregivers. Yes, one may have a job and career, but in the end it is expected she settle down and start popping out some little ones.

de Beauvoir tacles many issues such as femininity, dominance, and psychoanalysis. I quite enjoyed reading her work and have a lot of ideas, and I’m excited to see what the group brings forth in discussion.

2 thoughts on “Are women more than just a reproductive organ?

  1. Glad you liked the reading! I enjoy reading de Beauvoir too. I would have thought that English classes would have more women authors in them. I’m used to having few in philosophy when I teach courses about the history of philosophy (Greeks & Romans, middle ages, 17th-19th centuries), because there just are so darn many more male philosophers than female ones during those times. But there were quite a few female fiction writers, so I would have thought the gender balance would be better there. But I haven’t taken a lit class in a long time!

    I want to talk tomorrow (in part) about what she means by asking are there women, really. It’s a strange question, and it can be interpreted in more than one way, I think. Curious to hear how you interpret it!

    • I think English classes have become a lot better about including female authors, but honestly I can only remember reading two books written by female authors off the top of my head, “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “A Bird in the House”. Everything else was Shakespeare, Conrad, Knowles, Hawthorne, Coleridge, etc. which are all the classic male authors.

      I definitely see a lot of interpretations of her question! From something like “is there femininity”, to “is there really something like a woman? A fixed entity? Or all we all just people?”

      It’ll be interesting to see what others think!

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