Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. Prof. Wen-chuan Chu Student: Mann-chun Shen 69312105 Hsiu-yu Kuo 69412101 Xin-yi Liu 69412111 Chi-fang Tseng 69412113 Li-hao You 69512111 March 8, 2007.
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Prof. Wen-chuan Chu
Student: Mann-chun Shen 69312105
Hsiu-yu Kuo 69412101
Xin-yi Liu 69412111
Chi-fang Tseng 69412113
Li-hao You 69512111
March 8, 2007
The Point of View of Historical Materialism
I. Woman could not be considered simply as a sexual organism, for among the biological traits, only those have importance that take on concrete value in action. Woman’s awareness of herself is not defined exclusively by her sexuality: it reflects a situation that depends upon the economic organization of society. (53)
IV. If the human consciousness had not included the original category of the Other and an original aspiration to dominate the Other, the invention of the bronze tool could not have caused the oppression of woman. (58)
I. Man’s superior strength must have been of tremendous importance in the age of the club and the wild beast. In any case, however strong the women were, the bondage of reproduction was a terrible handicap in the struggle against a hostile world. Pregnancy, childbirth, and menstruation reduced their capacity for work and made them at times wholly dependent upon the men for protection and food. (62)
III. Whereas woman is basically an existent who gives Life and does no risk her life; between her and the male there has been no combat. (64, italics original)
I. In setting down on a certain territory, men established ownership of it, and property appeared in a collectivized form. This property required that its possessors provide a posterity and maternity became a sacred function. (66)
I. He buys her as one buys a farm animal or a slave; he imposes his domestic divinities upon her; and the children born to her belong to the husband’s family. Because she owns nothing, woman does not enjoy the dignity of being a person; she herself forms a part of the patrimony of a man: first of her father, then of her husband. (82)
II. Her value compared to the male’s is like the slave’s compared with the free man’s. (83)
I. Tertullian writes: “Woman, you are the devil’s doorway. It is your fault that the Son of God had to die; you should always go in mourning and in rags.” (98)
II. Woman’s legal status remained almost unchanged from the beginning of the fifteenth century to the nineteenth, but in the privileged classes her actual situation did improve. (105)
IV. Virginia Woolf remarks, women writers have always aroused hostility. (107)
I. It was on the economic, not on the
sexual plane that she suffered oppression. (109)
II. Balzac: “The destiny of woman and her sole glory are to make beat the hearts of men . . . She is a chattel and properly speaking only a subsidiary to man.”(111)
IV. The evolution of woman’s condition is to be explained by two factors: sharing in productive labor and being freed from slavery to reproduction. (121)
Dreams, Fears, Idols
I. History has shown that men have kept all concrete powers; woman has been kept in a state of dependence; men’s codes of law have been set up against her; and thus she has been definitively established as the Other. (139)
II. Once the subject seeks to assert himself, the Other limits and denies him, is none the less a necessity to him. (139)
IV. Either she appears as an impersonal opposition, she is an obstacle and remains a stranger; or she submits to man’s will and permits assimilation, so that he can possess her through consuming her—that is, through destroying her.(139)
VI. Each individual freely recognizes the other, each regarding himself and the other as object and as subject in reciprocal manner. (140)
VIII. Eve was not fashioned at the same time as the man; She was taken from the flank of the first male. She was destined by Him for man. (141)
IX. The other, being regarded as the object in the eyes of the subject, is regarded as en soi; therefore as a being. (142)
XI. Menstrual blood represents the essence of femininity.(150)
XII. The virgin seems to represent the most consummate form of the feminine mystery. She is the most disturbing and fascinating aspect.(152)
A. The costumes are intended less to accentuate the curves of the feminine body than to augment its incapacity. (158)
B. In woman dressed and adorned, nature is present but under restraint, by human will remolded nearer to man’s desire. (159)
A. In the society where man worships these mysteries, woman is associated with religion and venerated as priestess.
B. When man struggles to make society triumph over nature, reason over life, and the will over the inert, then woman is regarded as a sorceress. (164)
XVI. Deprived of her magic weapons by the marriage rites and subordinated economically and socially to her husband, the “good wife” is man’s most precious treasure. [. . .] Through her he displays his power. (175)
XVIII. Since the appearance of Christianity the figure of woman has obviously been spiritualized to a considerable extent. [. . .] Woman incarnates at once their material core and their mystic mana. (177-78)
XIX. The ideal of the average Western man is a woman who freely accepts his domination, who does not accepts his ideas without discussion, but who yields to his arguments, who resists him intelligently and ends by being convinced. (184)
A. He must project himself into an object in order to reach himself. [. . .] Woman is the Other in whom the subject transcends himself without being limited.
B. She is so necessary to man’s happiness and to his triumph that it can be said that if she did not exist, men would have invented her. (186)
example: Oedipus complex—it is an inner conflict within the subject itself.
the infant for the mother’s breast→ the rejection by weaning→ realize himself as a subject→ shameful and avoid thinking of her body→ wish her to be beyond all possession→ transfigure her and assimilate her to the pure image of sacred womanhood. (195-96)
A. He holds that only epochs marked by weakness have exalted the Eternal Feminine and that the hero should rise in revolt against the Magna Mater. He undertakes to dethrone her. Woman-she is night, disorder, immanence.
B. It is first of all the mother who is the great enemy. (199)
D. The ideal woman is perfectly stupid and perfectly submissive; she is always ready to accept the male and never makes any demands upon him. (203)
E. Inferior, pitiful—he wishes woman to be contemptible. [. . .] It is not because they are contemptible that he disdains women, it is because he would disdain them that they seem to him so abject. (207-08)