Posts Tagged ‘Simone de Beauvoir’

This is the second post in two days written by me. Why? Because I am supposed to be writing a paper on not being born a woman and another on linguistics, and read two Raymond Chandler-novels. And as you may know by know: I am the queen of procrastination.

Right now I’m in the library with a friend, and I must say: I love Tromsø! This is the best library I’ve ever been in, and the view is amazing. But do you know what isn’t amazing? Writing essays.

I wish I could write this paper in a more humoristic way. Seeing as it is a paper on philosophy, and I am supposed to show my own opinions and views in the writing of it, I guess I could write it like that, but it is supposed to be in preparation for my exam, and I most certainly can’t do that when writing my exam, so I guess I should just get used to it right away.

My last post did actually get comments, so I guess I should write about radical faminism more often. So now I will write about it some more.

The Simone de Beauvoir quote that I ended last blog-post with is the quote I am writing an essay on. And it is found in her most famous book: The Second Sex. This is actually two books, published as one, with many parts and chapter. It’s huge!

I haven’t read all of it yet, and maybe I never will, but I am reading the chapters on gender vs. sex, and how girls are treated differently than boys, this resulting in the different qualities that are associated with the different genders. It is an evil circle of girls being made submissive by the society, and therefore the society continues to expect girls to be submissive.

I was never brought up to be like that. My mother, being the strong and wonderful woman that she is, thought me to stand up for what I believe in, and she allowed me to dress in the way I wanted to and play with the toys I liked. There was no question of forcing me to wear dresses and pink, I got Legos and toy-cars when that was what I wanted, and I climbed trees and had playfights without anyone telling me that it wasn’t “suitable for a girl”. For this I am thankfull.

This doesn’t seem like a very radical up-bringing, I am sure, but I am also sure that my mother and fathers liberal gender-views were important for me to become the woman I have become. No-one ever told me I couldn’t do something just because of my sex, and so I never believed it to be impossible for me to do anything. And yet many girls and women react to my way of being, and even become biased towards me because of it. Do I view myself as any less of a woman for it? No. I know that I’m a woman, I even want to be a mother someday, I just don’t believe that women are naturally more “soft and fuzzy” than what men are. Men are just as capable of love, wimsiness and care-giving as women, and women are just as capable of entrepeneurship, intelligence and sexuality as men. And yet these qualities are still by many linked to one gender alone.

I say to hell with genders, we are all humans. The only thing different between women and men are reproductive organs, hormone-levels and muscle strength. Doesn’t seem quite as important as the human qualities of feelings, intelligence and sexuality, does it?

-Frida

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There are two significant causes leading to me writing this particular entry on this particular evening:
1) In less then two weeks it will be the 8th of March, also known as the International [Working] Women’s Day.
2) I am currently writing my first essay in Feminist Philosophy.

The past years I have been active in the planning and celebration of the International Women’s Day in Bodø, so it felt natural for me to be active in the group planning the celebration “Ladyfest” in Tromsø. (That’s right: Tromsø have enough people to actually have an entire festival… In Bodø we had a march for women’s rights and hardly anything else…) I’m glad that I joined the group to plan it, especially because the other women in the group are incredibly nice and supportive.

So, why do we demonstrate for women’s rights? A lot of people ask me about it, and especially in Norway where women are supposedly equal to men. And yet they make lower wages, work more part-time, are the victims of nearly all sexual assaults, have higher rates of eating disorders, and the list goes on. These are some of the reasons why I feel it’s important to keep working for women’s rights, and what’s more: It isn’t all about the norwegian women. It’s called the International Women’s Day.

Let’s face it: This is a man’s world. The dictators in Egypt, Libya and the rest of the world are men. The people who will get the power when these dictators are gone are also men. And they will decide the faith of women in their countries.
In South-American lands such as Nicaragua and Venezuela women are denied abortions. Even if they were raped, or victims of incest. In U.S.America Justin Bieber says to Rolling Stones-magazine that abortion is murder, while rape happens for a reason. Chavez [Venezuela] and Ortega [Nicaragua] are men. Justin Bieber is supposedly male. And they still get the right to speak about and rule over women’s bodies, rights and reproduction, when the women themselves aren’t granted the same chance.

Simone de Beauvoir, one of the best known feminist philosophers, critiqued psychoanalytics (such as Freud), scientists and biologists for using the male as the rule and the women as the exception. Freud even went as far as to say that all women at some point in their life feels like a mutilated man, and that something is missing about them. This is the well-known theory of “penis envy”. [Oh my god, she said penis, right?]

One would think that more than 50 years later this will be better. That the woman is an equal, and not just seen as a secondary creature with a secondary nature, but no. Today, if a woman chooses not to give birth (like Simone de Beauvoir did herself) she is often spoken down to for it. And if a woman, or a girl, chooses to speak up for her beliefs she is automatically labeled a tomboy or a problem child.

The problem I see with the world, and that Simone de Beauvoir also saw, is that women are confined to a certain way of life and thought that people try explaining with science, but that really is nothing more than a social construct. And men uses this social construct to keep their power. This is gender, not sex, and women who don’t fit in are pushed out and away. No wonder it’s hard being a teen-age girl, right?

-“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”
-Simone de Beauvoir
And now I’ll return to my writing.

-Frida

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