Women And Jews By Simone De Beauvoir And Jean-Paul Sartre

Better Essays

From the continental European perspective shared by Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, two groups would have stood out as the most historically marginalized; women and Jews. For much of European history, both Jewish people and women were denied the rights and privileges afforded to even the least privileged Christian men. They could not hold their own lands, were barred from all but a select few professions, and lived with the constant threat of organized violence ready to be turned against them if they ever stepped out of line. In a sense, both woman and Jew are used as an other for their outgroups, male and Gentile respectively, to define themselves apart from. Accordingly de Beauvoir and Sartre manage to illustrate substantial similarities between the two groups in their respective analyses that greatly affect their ultimate treatment, even as through their limited scope and personal biases. Chiefly among these similarities is how both the idea of “woman” and “Jew” are created classes, social constructs made in bad faith. While there will obviously be female humans and Jewish people, the identities of woman and Jew exist only because those who were not female and Jewish have labeled them as such. “If the Jew did not exist,” writes Sartre in Anti-Semite and Jew, “the anti-Semite would invent him.” (8) However, one key difference exists between the two: Jews present a hidden and existential threat to their foes that women never will. Even the most strident opponent

Get Access