Simone De Beauvoir is regarded to be rationalistic and Eurocentric. Furthermore, the contemporary feminist theorists think of her to be male-biased and opinions on Beauvoir’s works to be simply valued for historical reasons. It was also told that her ideas were generally outdated. These opinions had been spreading in the 1999 during the Fiftieth Anniversary of “The Second Sex” conference in Paris (Wyatt, 2007). Upon reading Simone De Beauvoir’s essays, it can be noted, though not obviously or greatly evident that Beauvoir’s philosophy includes a lot of very important insights for feminism, both contemporary and future feminism.
Simone de Beauvoir believes that the existence precedes essence (Blunden, 1997). In this sense, Beauvoir greatly believes that an individual was not born as a woman. As such, an individual only becomes a woman if she becomes one. Beauvoir also believes that women, as placed in the context of being the “other”, are in a situation wherein men put a certain “mystery” around them.
Men try to stereotype women in order to gain or have an excuse to create a society where men would dominate or thus obtain a patriarchy within the society.
Women’s roles are shrouded with this false “mystery” that men place unto them. As such, oppression of women is often present in a patriarchal society, where men tend to tell everything that they need to do. There is a certain hierarchy placed in the society, where men are above, and the women below or under them. This certain mystery also occurs on other things, which may include religion, class or even in races.
Regarding the slogan, “Come along way” (baby)? , in the point of view of Simone de Beauvoir, women may not have arrived because of men’s oppression or their “mysterious” state because of men.
For Beauvoir, if feminism is still not present up to this day, then it did not exist even before. Though, women did come along way or need to travel a long way in order to reach or arrive in a situation where the society is no longer patriarchal. Women can only be said to have arrived if there is equality among the sexes and that women is treated as a human being, not just as the other. On the other hand, if feminism is indeed present or achieved today, then we can say that women had already arrived. In the society, man dictates the definition of women.
She is characterized in relation to man; to him and not to herself. Furthermore, man can still think of himself even if woman is not present. Unlike the man, being the “other”, a woman is not able or cannot think of her self without the presence of man. Arriving at the end of woman’s journey would be difficult. In this sense, woman would need more effort for they lack the concrete means of organizing themselves. They do not have the enough capabilities to be united and stand against the other and they continue to be overshadowed by the other sex’s power.
According to Beauvoir, woman has no past, no religion of their own and has no history and that she is generally dependent on man (Blunden, 1997). Throughout the course of time, as society evolves, feminism continues to live in struggle in a patriarchal society. The classes, races, religion, science and even in economics, throughout the history of humans, women are always undermined by man, though her situation is changing from one point of time to the other.
They are some points in history where the battle of the sexes, the equality of men and women, had been going on and in some point, stops. But one thing is for sure, man dread feminine competition. This is probably why woman would have a hard time arriving at a place that they want to be. Estelle B. Freedman is a U. S. historian and she is well-versed in the field of feminist studies and is a co-founder of a program regarding feminist studies (Freedman, 2007). Her specialization is women’s history and social reform.
She had already been recognized for her works and exemplary essays. For Freedman, feminism does not fully exist, rather it is unwell and is still being reassessed and restored to its strength with great importance and vitality. Despite the fact that she also believes that feminism has a very good future and has exceptional and unparalleled history. Freedman also believes that it requires great effort and so much work to do for women to attain the true equality and obtain real power that is parallel to that of which men have.