The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
The abridged version.

Released in 1949, the Second Sex was one of those feminist things which further propagated feminism.

Written by genius Simone de Beauvoir, its influence still rages on to this day, although the full 800 pages may be a bit time-consuming for some readers, which is why there’s an abridged version (like our edition). This is, essentially, a Very Best of Feminism album.

The Second Sex is a full-on assault for the egalitarian cause with some of the most insightful and intelligent comments about feminism we’ve ever read.

It’s prescient, too, highlighting the good and bad elements of feminism, which we can see in action today, especially since the advent of the internet.

So! This is a momentous work way ahead of its time and one which challenged the social status of women back in the late ’40s, when the war had provided many with a new lease of independence and responsibility. Huzzah!

The Essential Feminist Message of The Second Sex

What makes the Second Sex such a stunning piece of writing is the objectivity and intelligence behind it.

In the introduction, Simone de Beauvoir establishes the prevalent issues of her era – men viewing themselves as generally superior to women:

“He is the Subject; he is the Absolute. She is the Other.”

You can also see this explored in her other works, such as The Woman Destroyed. She elaborates on the issues millions of women faced for a very bloody long time:

“When an individual or a group of individuals is kept in a situation of inferiority, the fact is that he or they are inferior. But the scope of the verb to be must be understood … Yes, women 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.”

Things have certainly moved on a great deal and, in most civilized nations, your average dame gets as many opportunities as your average hairy, foul-smelling bloke.

Of course, not everyone is particularly chuffed about this shift towards autonomous women:

“The conservative bourgeoisie continues to view women’s liberation as a danger threatening their morality and their interests. Some men feel threatened by women’s competition … One of the benefits oppression secures for the oppressor is that the humblest among them feels superior: in the United States, a ‘poor white’ from the South can console himself for not being a ‘dirty nigger’; and more prosperous whites cleverly exploit this pride.”

She concludes by stating:

“[Men] do not posit woman as inferior: they are too imbued today with the democratic ideal not to recognise all human beings as equals.”

This is only the introduction, too, with her other chapters going on to challenge women’s rights in the workplace.

That’s before offering a liberal, humble, and perfectly achievable goal we think we’ve made some progress towards:

“To emancipate woman is to refuse to enclose her in the relations she sustains with man, but not to deny them; while she posits herself for herself, she will nonetheless continue to exist for him as well: recognising each other as subject.”

This is groovy, although the far right manosphere has still convinced itself feminism is bringing about the total destruction of Western civilization.

However, if you want a reminder of what feminism is really about, and what one brilliant lady can achieve, then the Second Sex is one book to turn to.

The Case of Feminism Online

Feminism has a mainstream appeal about it which seems to have led to some confusion about what it is (i.e. gender equality).

In the wake of the essential #MeToo movement and its horrible revelations, there’s also a bit of a weird side to what’s happening.

Popular sites such as BuzzFeed champion the cause with content schedules including body positivity articles for women and “shutting down” identified instances of sexism.

That is before going well out of its way to objectify men with regular articles such as Guess The Male Athlete’s Crotch.

These are tongue in cheek, naturally, but provide easy cannon fodder to the right-wing manosphere, who can grunt modern “feminazis” are hypocrites and get away with it.

Also, it seems a lot of women are just furious with men and go online to vent their pent up anger.

Social media platforms lend an eager ear and everyone sits around angrily smashing their keyboards in the name of how horrible geezers are, cursing the existence of reply guys and softbois.

Sometimes this involves a raging argument with a manosphere member who has entered the fray. And furious arguments can drag on for days, weeks, months, and years (flame wars).

In The Second Sex, de Beauvoir highlights these slanging matches were an issue in her era, too, and dismisses them as counterproductive.

And we’ve met plenty of genuinely lovely guys over the years, it’s important to remember not all of us are total tossers.

Interestingly, feminism briefly cropped up in conversation at Mr. Wapojif’s real job on Friday morning, during which time several female staff members expressed their surprise over men being able to class themselves as feminists.

They believed instead it to be a club available only to women.

Thusly, with our moronic brains, we can’t help but think there’s some confusion with what feminism is, with many people classifying themselves as feminists without much of an understanding of its principles.

The solution? Turn to geniuses such as de Beauvoir or Virginia Woolf (A Room of One’s Own) to balance out your mind, find some harmony, and head out into the world ready to beat up bigots.

The paradox of tolerance in action there, get out of here! This blog post is over!


  1. I read a conservative author who said liberalism was a death cult because of its support for abortion and doctor-assisted suicide. He also said Lucifer was the first liberal. So it’s not just the end of civilization they believe is coming if people are treated as equals but the end of life and the End Times!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that sums it all up rather well! If you look online, your average right winger can’t get through a sentence without hurling juvenile abuse at lefties etc. They don’t seem to realise how intelligent debate works.


      • When I was in high school debate, I knew plenty of conservatives who could make coherent arguments, but that was longer ago than I’d like to admit and conservativism wasn’t as radically wacky so they had easier positions to defend.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, the internet gets the worst out of some people – deindividuation, as it’s known. Seeing right wing comments on sites such as the Daily Mail has made me sceptical of right wing ideologies, helped along by a disastrous Tory government, but it’s not all bad. I do just generally find right wingers blame all the world’s problems on left wingers and leave that specious reasoning to it. Politics, eh? Funny old game.

          Liked by 1 person

Dispense with some gibberish!

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