The second sex by Simon de Beauvoir:

The Second Sex

Simon de Beauvoir was a French philosopher and feminist. She is an intellectual ad famous for his work novels, short stories, and journal articles. One of the most popular and best-known books is “The Second Sex”. She is known for provoking socialist feminism because she described its various perspectives in which she basically emphasized on Patriarchal mindset. She believes that patriarchy is the root cause of all gender-based discrimination in society.

The Second Sex
The Second Sex

 If need for equality then it should be eradicated for prevailing justice. In her context, Simun is having existentialists believe in individual freedom is important. The authority should be decentralized which springs from an individual rather than from any external authority. Simun’s every writing and service is considered remarkable but in this article, we will discuss that what was the concept of “The Second Sex”. In this patriarchal society, there is a dire need to understand the concept to know the root cause of the discrimination.


Simon de Beauvoir wrote, “The Second Sex” in 1949. She gave a concept in her book which started the second wave of feminism. It consists of two volumes.

Simon de Beauvoir
Simon de Beauvoir

Main idea:

The main idea is, male are holding a dominant position in society, and female is treated as others. The core concept or subject is linked with the male and woman exists like an object. The leading actor in society is male and woman is only a supporting character.

She criticized the system:

She believes that the whole system or tradition is wrong. For analyzing why women were always subjugated in society she goes back to past events. The main target was to know the root cause, whether it exists because of the women or men. She analyzed various disciplines such as biology, psychoanalysis, history, etc. to know why a woman is given an inferior role in society.

Subjective and objective roles:

Man is considered as a subject and a woman is an object. Man is restricted to the public sphere while the female is restricted to the private sphere. The one who is going out is considered as an inventor, creator, rational, etc. Women were always put to inwardness so it is considered that man will protect her and there is no individual identity of a female which is regarded for her own.

Historical perspective:

Simun was finding reasoning for this subjugation where she viewed the historical service of the female. There was a curiosity that whether females have done something wrong in history which put her in danger at the moment. She explored hunting society where women were playing the same role. Man used to go out hunting and women were protecting and caring for his home and children.

During the French revolution, women were sitting behind and men were playing leading roles. Even in her contemporary time, women were holding the same position. So she concluded that whatever she analyzed she found that there were some of the key differences that were described. Some of the key roles and characters were linked to the female and some to the male. But she did not find the main fault of a female who made her exist in a way, how she is existing?

Analyzed various roles of women:

For getting to know in further detail, she analyzed various life roles of a woman. She was curious to know what type of roles are given to the women and are role worthy. All leading roles were given to the male and oppressive roles were designed for the female. She is working as a caretaker such as a nurse, teacher, housemaid, prostitute, etc. All of these roles are serving males. The active role is given to the male such as breadwinner of the family, engineer, pilot, inventor, businessman, etc. and the passive role is given to women.

Key roles for women:

When a woman grows up in a society, she is given three key roles. These are wife, mother, and entertainer. Even if a family is financially strong enough to bear the expenses, still women are given these key roles. She was never allowed to go beyond or even think.

Some myths about women:

There are some of the myths that are purely associated with women. It is believed that she speaks a lot, does shopping, thinks of making homes, loves luxuries, etc. She says that all of these roles are linked with the characters that we have assigned her. We have oppressed her repeatedly and now this concept is engraved enough which does not allow her to think beyond the cade.

She never thinks of creativity. A thought will accompany her that she is a woman so she has to act in a certain way. The repeated practice has made these roles normal and she will only think in a certain way. Ideas like exploring the world, making business successful, inventing new stuff, will never prove her to work but it is assigned to the dominant gender. So she says that there is no fault of the woman but the situation was created in a way where she had to hold that position.

Liberation of women:

After careful analysis of every perspective, she moves to the solution. She says that if a woman wants liberation that she has to grow financially or economically. She has to be independent. If she is earning enough to bear her expenses on her own that it can shatter the patriarchal cage.

 It is not compulsory to get married and your husband should bear the expenses. Rather she should be independent of her husband, father, brother, or any other entity. It will pave a way for her freedom. She is not emphasizing a matriarchal society but it is all about equality. She is constricted to giving birth to the child and taking care of the home cores. But there is much more to explore beyond it for women too.

Criticizing women:

Simon de Beauvoir also blamed women for the existing system. She says that women never tried to think beyond the boundaries. It is true that the situation was made worst for her but thinking critically is not restricted to the men. Even if she gets married, she marries with a belief that now her husband will lead her and she has to support him backstage.

If she had to think about the change and question the existing system then perhaps such a messy environment has not formed. We need to work collectively for developing a healthy environment where people should not be deprived of basic human rights which is freedom. And it does not apply to a specific gender to hold.


Simon de Beauvoir was a French novelist who is known for her remarkable work. She is a feminist and you will find her criticizing patriarchy everywhere. One of his remarkable works is “The Second Sex” book. In this book, she is curious to know the cause of women’s subjugation. For this purpose, she analyzed various historical events and disciplines.

 She concludes that it is described that there are specific key roles assigned to males or females but there is no logical reasoning to unwrap and justify the patriarchy. The woman is also at fault for accepting and moving with the injustice. She needs to be financially independent.

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