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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: September 2009

Introduction: Simone de Beauvoir's Conversions


We are adopting the perspective of existentialist ethics. [La perspective que nous adoptons, c'est celle de la morale existentialiste.]

Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex

We can clearly see Simone de Beauvoir's technique, her métis, her craftiness with and towards the doctrinal philosophy she has accepted. It is a technique of reintroduction which undermines the structure. [D'un point de vue méthodologique, on aperçoit bien ici la technique de Simone de Beauvoir, sa métis à l'égard de la philosophie doctrinale qu'elle a accepté de recevoir: c'est une technique de réintroduction qui bouleverse la structure.]

Michèle Le Doeuff, Hipparchia's Choice/L'étude et le rouet

Unexpectedly, after negligible interest in feminist thought and activism, Simone de Beauvoir wrote in the 1940s a far-reaching work on the condition of women. Two decades later it would prove vital in the upsurge of feminist movements. Though widely considered their watershed text, The Second Sex was likely conceived as a post-feminist work. In 1949 feminism seemed to Beauvoir to have accomplished its main aim of women's enfranchisement – granted in France five years previously – in addition to access to education and employment. If women were still “the other,” Beauvoir concluded that something more was needed: a new kind of analysis.

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