The Second Sex By Simone De Beauvoir

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Women are objectified Others. The Second Sex written by Simone de Beauvoir explores the oppression of women forced into the role of an object, while men are the subject. In the second chapter “The Girl”, de Beauvoir studies the idea of this oppression during the transition from a girl to a woman. She coins the term of the Other to explain the phenomenon of female inessentiality and persecution. The Other is an opponent of a female’s sovereignty and limits freedoms. Simone De Beauvoir expounds a girl’s transition into an inessential object to men through the motif of the Other to demonstrates women’s role during first wave feminism.
The idea of the Other is used to solidify women’s position as inessential beings. According to de Beauvoir,
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On the other hand, women and “inessential”; they are disposable and are merely an object in the eyes of men and society. The transition from a girl into an inessential object is marked by adolescence.
Adolescence triggers the impending transition to the Other. The looming evolution from a free innocent child is marked by puberty. During adolescence, she must denounce her past freedoms and accept her role a second-rate individual. De Beauvoir denotes the transition;
This is why adolescence is such a difficult and decisive moment for women. Until then, she was an autonomous individual: she now has to renounce her sovereignty. Not only is she torn like her brothers, and more acutely, between her past and future, but in addition a conflict breaks put between her ordinary claim to be subject, activity, and freedom, on the other, her erotic tendencies and the social pressure to assume herself as a passive object. (348)
Women must reject basic human desires to fit the model of the Other. Women suppress their freedoms, sexual desires and basic human tendencies to adhere to social pressures. De Beauvoir comments on how women must give up their “claim to be subject” and subsequently adopt the role of the object. Men are the only true subjects and therefore to reach womanhood a girl must “renounce sovereignty” to become an object. Objects require complete submission to the subject and consequently give up freedoms the had access to previously.
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