Vintage Feminism: classic feminist texts in short form WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY NATALIE HAYNES When this book was first published in 1949 it was to outrage and scandal. Never before had the case for female liberty been so forcefully and successfully argued. De Beauvoir’s belief that ‘One is not born, but rather becomes, woman’ switched on light bulbs in the heads of a generation of women and began a fight for greater equality and economic independence. These pages contain the key passages of the book that changed perceptions of women forever. TRANSLATED BY CONSTANCE BORDE AND SHEILA MALOVANY-CHEVALLIER ANNOTATED AND INTRODUCED BY MARTINE REID
Hailed by some feminists as the single most important theoretical work of this century, but ignored or reviled by others, Simone de Beauvoir's The second sex (1949) occupies an anomalous and even uneasy place in the feminist 'canon'. Yet it has had an undeniable impact not only on the development of critiques of sexual politics but on twentieth-century Western thinking about 'woman' in general.
Simone de Beauvoir's 1949 book The Second Sex is a masterpiece of feminist criticism and philosophy. An incendiary take on the place of women in post-war French society, it helped define major trends in feminist thought for the rest of the 20th century, and its influence is still felt today. The book's success owes much to Beauvoir's brilliant writing style and passion, but both are rooted in the clarity of her critical thinking skills. She builds a strong argument against the silent assumptions that continually demoted (and still demote) women to "second place" in a society dominated by men. Beauvoir also demonstrates the central skills of reasoning at their best: presenting a persuasive case, organising her thoughts, and supporting her conclusions. Above all, though, The Second Sex is a masterclass in analysis. Treating the structures of contemporary society and culture as a series of arguments that tend continuously to demote women, Beauvoir is able to isolate and describe the implicit assumptions that underpin male domination. Her demolition of these assumptions provides the crucial ammunition for her argument that women are in no way the "second" sex, but are in every way the equal of men.
To what extent is Simone de Beauvoir's study The Second Sex still relevant? From her work it emerges that patriarchy is a many-headed monster. Over the past decades, various heads of this monster have been slayed: important breakthroughs have been achieved by and for women in law, politics, and economics. Today, however, we witness movements in the opposite direction, such as a masculinist political revival in different parts of the world, the spread of the neoliberal myth of the Super Woman, the rise of transnational networks of trafficking in women and children, and a new international 'Jihadism'. This suggests that patriarchy is indeed a Hydra: a multi-headed monster that grows several new heads every time one head is cut off. Since different - often hybrid - heads of patriarchy dominate in different settings, feminism requires a variety of strategies. Women's movements all over the world today are critically creating new models of self and society in their own contexts. Drawing on notions of Beauvoir, as well as Michel Foucault, this book outlines a 'feminism in a new key' which consists of women's various freedom practices, each hunting the Hydra in their own key - but with mutual support.
This volume offers new insights into the role of women in ancient China, their important contributions to society, and their pursuit of personal growth and fulfillment. The position that Confucianism may actually foster gender equity is particularly interesting in discussions of whether the Confucian worldview is degrading or repressive toward women.
Of all the writing that emerged from the existentialist movement, Simone de Beauvoir's groundbreaking study of women will probably have the most extensive and enduring impact. It is at once a work of anthropology and sociology, of biology and psychoanalysis, from the pen of a writer and novelist of penetrating imaginative power. THE SECOND SEX stands, four decades after its first appearance, as the first landmark in the modern feminist upsurge that has transformed perceptions of the social relationship of man and womankind in our time.
Release on 2016-10-06 | by Carrie Tarr,Brigitte Rollet
Women's Filmmaking in France in the 1980s and 1990s
Author: Carrie Tarr,Brigitte Rollet
Pubpsher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Category: Performing Arts
Women's filmmaking in France has been a source of both delight and despair. On the one hand, the numbers are impressive – over 250 feature-length films were made by over 100 women directors in France in the 1980s and 1990s. On the other hand, despite the heritage of French feminism, French women directors characteristically disclaim their gender as a significant factor in their filmmaking. This incisive study provides an informative, critical guide to this major body of work, exploring the boundaries between personal films (intimate psychological dramas relating to key stages in life) and genre films (which demonstrate women's ability to appropriate and rework popular genres). It analyzes the effects of postfeminism, women's desire to enter the mainstream, and the impact of a new generation of filmmakers, enabling readers to take stock of the wealth and diversity of women's contribution to French cinema during the 1980s and 1990s.
“Like man, woman is a human being.” When The Second Sex was first published in Paris in 1949—groundbreaking, risqué, brilliantly written and strikingly modern—it provoked both outrage and inspiration. The Independent Woman contains three key chapters of Beauvoir’s masterwork, which illuminate the feminine condition and identify practical social reforms for gender equality. It captures the essence of the spirited manifesto that switched on light bulbs in the heads of a generation of women and continues to exert profound influence on feminists today.