Simone De Beauvoir
Simone De Beauvoir – EssayPd. 6/7
Throughout history, women have been portrayed as the passive, subdued creatures whose opinions, thoughts, and goals were never as equal as those of her male counterparts. Although women have ascended the ladder of equality to some degree, today it is evident that total equalization has not been achieved. Simone De Beauvoir, feminist and existential theorist, recognized and discussed the role of women in society today. To Beauvoir, women react and behave through the scrutiny of male opinion, not able to differentiate between their true character and that which is imposed upon them. In this dangerous cycle women continue to live up to the hackneyed images society has created, and in doing so women feel it is necessary to reshape their ideas to meet the expectations of men. Women are still compelled to please men in order to acquire a higher place in society – however, in doing this they fall further behind in the pursuit of equality.
All people are forced to see themselves as society has shaped them, both male and female. Although progress for gender impartiality has been made, it can still be said that societal maxims enforce the incorrect notion that women are inferior to men. In matters of economics, women are offered far fewer employment opportunities, and I believe that this can be validated by the fact that many women have been conditioned to “marry well and let him take care of you”. Unfortunately, this is often times a tempting choice, and as a trade-off women are content to settle for a less rewarding profession, leading to a downward spiral. As Beauvoir states, “Parents still raise their daughters with a view toward marriage rather than to furthering her personal developmentin this way she dooms herself to remain in lower levels, to be inferior”. The stigma of needing a man to fulfill a woman’s life is inaccurate and narrow – it is a tremendously dangerous example to propagate to young girls.
Male influences shape women’s appearance, behavior, and overall place in society. Women are taught how they are expected to look, think, and act, which leads her to be seen as an object in men’s eyes. Her archetype is difficult to fulfill wholly, but still, I feel that women want to please men so that they can feel acceptance. Women need power and respect, and in her hapless quest for equity she often succumbs to the discrimination of male opinion, if only to gain some standing within society. Because she knows that when she cracks the shell and climbs inside the world, it is then that she can become domineering, even manipulative, to obtain what she wants. The “good graces” and approval of men will ensure financial, social, even emotional security (in business, marriage, and various other social settings). Women are in a position where they can apply intellectual charisma as well as feminine charms to secure their standing in all areas applicable.
Not that I support or agree with sexism – quite the contrary – yet it remains that in order for injustice to end women must present themselves as equals, acting as equals in all areas possible, and expecting nothing more or less than the parallel treatment to which men have been long accustomed. Women must work and provide for themselves, as their own “breadwinners”, so that the “gold-digger” stereotype can fade and disappear. The expectations of women must also be eliminated, as the propagation of these unfair ideals (to which no woman could possibly fulfill) is a degrading societal clich. Changes within society must alter the feminine standard – only then will it be possible to create stronger, more industrious and commanding women.
Will sexism ever be completely abolished? The answer lies within our culture as a whole. I believe that no one person can change the entire world, however, together, men and women can reflect upon the female situation and put an end to gender discrimination. The notion of male superiority and female inferiority must be erased – in its place should be a manifestation of acceptance, tolerance, and acknowledgement of the strengths and weaknesses of each gender.
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