What is Woman? (Simone de Beauvoir) [3:44]


Simone de Beauvoir sought to define what a woman is in her classic book The Second Sex.  In it she determined that woman is ‘other’, since men have historically defined what it means to be human and have defined it in their own image.  De Beauvoir prominently exposed some of the most egregious ways in which social patriarchies have limited the freedom and power of women.

Discussion Questions

  • What does de Beauvoir mean by defining woman as “other”?  How are they the ‘second’ sex?
  • What is meant by becoming a woman, instead of being born one?  What is the difference between sex and gender?
  • Is Samus less of a woman in a suit of armor fighting space pirates?  Would she be more of one if she wore  a bikini?

Keywords: feminism, gender, identity, women’s rights, patriarchy,


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