Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir, often shortened to Simone de Beauvoir (French pronunciation: [simɔn də boˈvwaʁ]; 9 January 1908 – 14 April 1986), was a French existentialist philosopher, public intellectual, political activist, feminist theorist and social theorist.
Dreams, when collective and controlled--cliches--are so poor and monotonous compared to living reality: for the real dreamer, for the poet, living reality is a far more generous resource than a worn out fantasy.
Woman, also passing through a narcissistic phase, must make man the object of her libido; but the process will be far more complex as she must pass from clitoral to vaginal pleasure. There is but one genital step for man, while there are two for woman; she runs a greater risk of not completing her sexual development, and of remaining at the infantile stage, and consequently developing neuroses.
She is determined and differentiated in relation to man, while he is not in relation to her; she is the inessential in front of the essential. He is the Subject; he is the Absolute. She is the Other.
When an individual or a group of individuals is kept in a situation of inferiority, the fact is that he or they are inferior... Yes, woman in general are today inferior to men; that is, their situation provides them with fewer possibilities: the question is whether this state of affairs must be perpetuated
The perspective we have adopted is one of existentialist morality. Every subject posits itself as a transcendence concretely, though projects; it accomplishes its freedom only by perpetual surpassing toward other freedoms; there is no other justification for present existence than its expansion toward an indefinitely open future. Every time transcendence lapses into immanence, there is degradation of existence into "in-itself," of freedom into facticity; this fall is a moral fault if the subject consents to it; if this fall is inflicted on the subject, it takes the form of frustration and oppression; in both cases it is an absolute evil.
But the definition of man is that he is a being who is not given, who makes himself what he is. As Merleau-Ponty rightly said, man is not a natural species: he is a historical idea. Woman is not a fixed reality but a becoming; she has to be compared with man in her becoming; that is, her possibilities have to be defined...
A symbol does not emerge as an allegory worked out by a mysterious unconscious: it is the apprehension of a signification through an analogue of the signifying object; because of the identity of the existential situation cutting across all existents and the identity of the facticity they have to cope with, significations are revealed to many individuals in the same way...
It is impossible to account for this without starting from an existential fact: the subject's tendency toward alienation; the anxiety of his freedom leads the subject to search for himself in things, which is a way to flee from himself; it is so fundamental a tendency that as soon as he is weaned and separated from the Whole, the infant endeavors to grasp his alienated existence in the mirror in his parents' gaze. Primitive people alienate themselves in their mana, their totem; civilized people in their individual souls, their egos, their names, their possessions, and their work: here is the first temptation of inauthenticity.
Human society is an anti-physis: it does not passively submit to the presence of nature, but rather appropriates it.
Condemned to play the role of the Other, woman was thus condemned to possess no more than precarious power: slave or idol, she was never the one who chose her lot.
It is when woman is probably the most emancipated that the inferiority of her sex is proclaimed, a remarkable example of the male justification process already discussed: when her rights as girl, wife, or sister are no longer limited, she is refused equality with men because of her sex; the pretext for persecuting her becomes "imbecility and fragility of the sex."
It is always difficult to describe a myth; it does not lend itself to being grasped or defined... The object fluctuates so much and is so contradictory that its unity is not a first discerned... She is an idol, a servant, source of life, power of darkness; she is the elementary silence of truth, she is artifice, gossip, and lies; she is the medicine woman and witch; she is man's prey; she is his downfall, she is everything he is not and wants to have, his negation and his raison d'etre.
This embodied dream is precisely, woman; she is the perfect intermediary between nature that is foreign to man and the peer who is too identical to him. She pits neither the hostile silence of nature nor the hard demand of a reciprocal recognition against him; by a unique privilege she is a consciousness, and yet it seems possible to possess her in the flesh.
It is not women's inferiority that has determined their historical insignificance: it is their historical insignificance that has doomed them to inferiority.