Simone de Beauvoir: the Woman in Love Essay

1457 Words Oct 4th, 2007 6 Pages
Beauvoir discusses love in relation to sexual difference. She also discusses the difference between authentic and inauthentic love. What differences between women and men's experiences of love does she discuss? How does she think the problems of love can be rectified?

Simone de Beauvoir's text "The Woman in Love", taken from her book "The Second Sex" (1988) describes her theories on men and women in love. This essay will explore her propositions about the differences men and women experience in love, look at her ideas of authentic and inauthentic love, and how she proposes for the differences and problems of love to be dealt with. De Beauvoir published her work in 1988, and with this context in mind we can understand the way she
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Women's quest for love begins at a young age "the adolescent girl wishes at first to identify herself with males; when she gives that up she then seeks to share in their masculinity by having one of them in love with her" (pp 653-654). Love becomes a vessel for her own self-idolisation, if a man is in love with her she is worthy of this love and an important being, "through love… everything she is, all that belongs to her, escape contingency and become essential" (p. 657).

Physical love also becomes a form that is very different for men and women. Women may view physical love as a debasement and in contradiction to their feelings of self-worth and dignity. De Beauvoir writes of how some will resort to frigidity, but many of the rest will relent to their carnal instincts but that they must be re-assured of their lovers love for them to be able to revel in the act "in giving her pleasure, the man increases her attachment, he does not liberate her" (p.659). On the contrary, for men, once the deed is over "he no longer desires her" (p.659).

De Beauvoir also discusses the themes of jealousy and infidelity with relation to the sexes. She describes that for men "a lover who has confidence in his mistress feels no displeasure if she absents herself… sure that she is his, he prefers to possess a free being than to own a thing" (p. 667). He feels that his lover is united with him and only suspect's infidelity if other aspects of