“Feminism” is a movement influenced by the ideas postulated, popularized, and precipitated by thinkers and authors like “Simone de Beauvoir”, ‘Alice Walker’, ‘Elaine Showalter’, ‘Simone de Beauvoir and Kate Millett, and others. It is a modern movement expressing protest against male domination and involves sociological and political theories concerning gender difference issues. The term ‘Feminism’ was first used with regard to the issues of equality and the Women’s Rights Movement.
Wave Of Feminism
Jawaharlal Nehru once said, “You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women.”
Women of any nation are the mirror of its civilization. Feminism has experienced two waves. The First Wave also called liberal feminism, usually refers to the social movement in that women fought for their legal vote rights and basic civil rights in America and Britain from 1820 to 1920.
The second wave is also known as the women’s liberation moment, which focused on the differences between females and males and discussed the origin and operation of gender discrimination in ideology, culture, and society. It was a period of feminist activity that began in the early 1960s and lasted roughly two decades.
The modern feminist movement origins from “The Second Sex” by Simone de Beauvoir,
“One is not born, but rather
Becomes a woman. No
Biological psychological or
Economic fate determines
that the human female
presents in society, it is
civilization as a whole. That
produces this creature,
intermediate between male
and eunuch, which is
describes as feminine”.
The Second Sex Feminism
“The Second Sex” is one of the best-known works of the French existentialist “Simone de Beauvoir”. It is a work on the treatment of women throughout history and is often regarded as a significant work of feminist philosophy. Beauvoir researched and wrote the book in about 14 months. She published the book in two volumes – “Fact and Myths” and “Lived Experience.”
Part one is “Destiny” in which she first describes “Biological Data”, the relationship of the ovum to sperm in all kinds of creatures fish, insects mammals. Then Beauvoir proceeds to the human being, comparing the physiology of men and women and saying that women are weaker than men for example, in muscular strength, with fewer red blood cells and a lesser respiratory capacity.
Part two is “History” in which Beauvoir describes two factors explaining the evolution of women’s condition participation in production and freedom from reproductive slavery. She describes man’s gradual domination of women and eventually the opinion of ancient Greeks like Pythagoras who wrote: –
“There is a good principle
that created order, light
and man, and a bad
principal that created
chaos darkness and
She also examines the spread of birth control methods and the history of abortion.
Part Three is “Myths” Simone also writes about women’s menstruation, virginity, and female sexuality including copulation, marriage, motherhood, and prostitution. In mythological literature “women are considered as Goddess”. Still, women have to fight with this society for their rights to which only they have the right. Arthur Rimbaud writes hopefully “One day, women can become fully human beings when a man gives her freedom.” Simone also quoted:
“Her wings are cut and
then she is blamed for
not knowing how to fly.”
In the second volume “Lived Experience”, Beauvoir analyses how girls are typically treated throughout their childhood. She contrasts a girl’s upbringing with a boy who at age 3 or 4 is told she is a “little girl”. A girl is taught to be a woman and “Feminine”. Simone described that females only get dignity in only two works 1st is in household work and 2nd one is to provide bed service to their husbands according to their mood.
Women are always expected to be passive and submissive while men are encouraged to be active. The day when it will be possible for the woman to love in her strength and not love in her strength and not in her weakness, not to escape from herself but to find herself, not out of resignation but to affirm herself, love will become for her as for man the source of life and not a mortal danger.”
Thus, in the early 20th century, women’s political, social, and economic choices in France were limited due to patriarchal dominance, in almost all aspects of life and business, including the publishing industry. Despite these challenges, de Beauvoir’ were able to break through these challenges, especially with a book such as “The Second Sex”.
Although the book “The Second Sex” received much criticism from notable literary figures, the book also praises and supports many others and most importantly women within the feminist movement. Beauvoir’s book played an important role in the second wave of the “Feminist Movement”, especially after being published in the United States.