Le deuxième sexe, II — Simone de Beauvoir

There’s nothing so festive as smashing the patriarchy. I’m so happy to have got round to this (having read part one last year). An absolutely life-changing read.

I was struck by how much has changed since de Beauvoir published this, 71 years ago — thanks, of course, in no small part to her work.

But I despair at how much of the oppression she describes continues to ring true: women still are told that there are ‘girl jobs’ and ‘boy jobs’, still have yet to achieve economic equality with men, still die from male violence — the list goes on. What’s more, patriarchy continues to find new ways to entrench itself — be it through ever greater pressures to look a certain way to the rolling back of reproductive rights.

Nevertheless, I am so grateful to live here, now (even in 2020!) rather than at any other time in history. The hopeful message from the book is that nothing about women’s oppression is inevitable or eternal — we set ourselves free by imagining something different and fighting for it. Thank you, Simone.

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