Simone De Beauvoir

by Arunima Chhimwal from Irving , Texas in United States

Philosophy is an artform which studies the fundamental truths of the universe, which is why all philosophers have their own unique perspectives on life. While Plato believed in thoughts and reasoning, Aristotle believed in observation and experiment. These diverging thoughts are what makes life captivating and open to discussions. Simone De Beauvoir was one such philosopher. 

I was introduced to Beauvoir’s philosophies during my freshman year in high school, a time when one is finding their identity or trying to fit into someone else's. When I was clouded by the fear of judgement and loneliness, filled with insecurities, and was pushing my feet into shoes that would never fit me, I discovered Simone De Beauvoir. Beauvoir was a woman with no fear of judgement. She was a French writer, philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist. Beauvoir grew up to become one of the most predominant French existentialist philosophers and writers, by incorporating ethical and political aspects into her philosophies. Her work mostly focused on gender equality, the belief that all men and women should be given the same opportunities. 

Simone De Beauvoir was ahead of her time in many aspects. Regardless of belonging to the 1900s, a time when women had few rights, she chose to live her life on her own conditions. She met Jean-Paul Sartre at the age of 21, with whom her romance bloomed; however, they chose to never get married and continued their romance till death did them apart. Despite the societal norms about the institution of marriage, Beauvoir chose to listen to her heart and ignored the outside noise. I hope to one day achieve the amount of self-confidence that Beauvoir possessed, when one does not feel obliged to bend according to what the society feels is deemable, but instead creates her own rules and paths. 

Beauvoir changed my perspective through her book “The Second Sex.” In “The Second Sex,” considered by some as the Feminism Bible, Beauvoir questions the societal norms placed on women regarding their body and choices. Beauvoir mentions how “a woman is not born a woman, rather she becomes one,” conveying that there is no particular way a woman should act; instead, it is society's prompts which compel a woman to be a certain way. Throughout the years women have been programmed to prioritize beauty, standards of which have been set by men. This made me realize how deep patriarchy goes, embedded not just socially but also mentally into our heads. The whole idea of beauty is subjective, yet we have objectified it due to the preferences of most men.

An example of this phenomenon is body hair. Beauvoir explained how women have to “disguise more animal aspects of their body” to please a man’s eyes. And this is relevant in today's world as well, when women go through painful procedures like waxing, shaving and tweezing to remove something as natural and harmless as body hair. Though some may argue that these procedures make them feel more confident, the fact of the matter is that we have been made to feel such a way through years of conditioning, that we believe we look more attractive by looking more socially appropriate (feminine). 

Simone De Beauvoir has had a huge hand in making me the person I am today, through her writings. She has made me believe in the power of self-confidence and self-love, which in its truest form is when one does not give in to the society’s expectations, but instead listens to her heart. I believe women have been underutilized for far too long; it is now time for women to stand up and take the crown. Change has started with many strong women leading the way, but there is still a long way to go. The most a woman can do now is believe in the power she possesses and not worry about societal norms. In the end, “Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” 


Page created on 7/22/2020 4:37:05 AM

Last edited 4/27/2021 10:49:19 PM

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