De Beauvoir argues that the act of defining oneself is different for women and men. What is the difference? Where must a woman's definition start? Why? Why doesn't a man have to begin defining himself in this way?
In The Second Sex, feminist author Simone de Beauvoir argues that a woman's definition of herself starts with the fact that she is defined in relationship to men. Men are able, de Beauvoir argues, to define themselves without having to be in relation to a definition or status of women. Women, however, are positioned and defined as a second-class citizen in relation to men. Therefore, a woman's definition of herself and who she is includes how her life and body are defined by men, who exercise power and control over her life to varying degrees. Simone de Beauvoir recognizes the ways in which women are positioned within a patriarchal society and how that society impacts the ways that women see themselves.
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