The Second Sex Questions and Answers
by Simone de Beauvoir

Start Your Free Trial

Explain the concept of myth from the text The Second Sex as explained by Simone de Beauvoir. 

Expert Answers info

Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

calendarEducator since 2016

write7,369 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

It is this myth of "otherness" that the other Educator mentions that is the myth upon which all others are founded.  What this means is that women are only defined in relation to, and more specifically in opposition to, men.  According to this myth, man is the original, so to speak, and woman is a deviant.  Man is the subject, who possesses self, while woman is the object, who is only other.  He is complete while she is incomplete, a poor copy.  He creates and acts while she waits to be created and acted upon. 

While de Beauvoir acknowledges that it is normal to define one's individual self in relation or opposition to others, she argues that it is inaccurate to define the genders in this way.  As long as woman is defined only in relation to man, as his "other," she is denied humanity and agency.  The myth of woman as other allows the inception of the other myths she outlines, as women's identities are created, culturally, by men.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jason Lulos eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write3,307 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Science

In The Second Sex , Beauvior writes of how woman's...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 582 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial