JCCC Honors Journal


Simone De Beauvoir considered The Second Sex to be more of a “reflection,” rather than a war-cry or how-to book for women to follow. The existentialism it contained is there simply because Beauvoir herself identified with the approach of experience being the common core of self-discovery. In truth, existentialism is quite possibly the only school of philosophical thought that adequately allows for an in-depth examination of what being a woman means. The language of existentialism is, in fact, the only approach that proves useful in approaching a discussion of feminism. While Beauvoir’s influences and interests tended toward an existential view, it is doubtful that she forced or bent the struggle for equality for women into that particular mold. Instead, she rightfully sees the connection between the feminine experience and the necessity of taking responsibility. Beauvoir’s sole point is not that woman should ask to be equal; instead, she advocates a woman approaching her life as if she simply is – something Beauvoir evinced for herself, proving the possibility. In The Second Sex, noted philosopher and feminist Simone De Beauvoir used the Hegelian term “other” to cut to the heart of the feminine psyche, and Beauvoir’s existentialist purview has been adopted by modern feminists in part because the language of existentialism perfectly conveys the female struggle for equality.