Monday, July 30, 2007

Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)

Sierra Club


It is old age, rather than death, that is to be contrasted with life. Old age is life's parody, whereas death transforms life into a destiny: in a way it preserves it by giving it the absolute dimension. Death does away with time.


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Lecture: Second Sex
Lecture: Men's Liberation
COPAC UK: Simone de Beauvoir
Library of Canada: Simone de Beauvoir
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Simone de Beauvoir (January 9, 1908 - April 14, 1986) was a French author, philosopher, and feminist. She was born Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir on January 9, 1908 in Paris, France, she eventually studied at the elite Ecole Normale Superieure where, in 1929, she met Jean Paul Sartre. In 1981 she wrote La Ceremonie Des Adieux (A Farewell to Sartre), a painful account of Jean Paul Sartre's last years.

Beauvoir has come to be seen as the mother of post-1968 feminism, with philosophical writings linked to, though independent of, Sartrian existentialism. She is best known for her work Le Deuxieme Sexe (The Second Sex), 1949) which contained detailed analysis of women's oppression. Simone de Beauvoir died of pneumonia on April 14, 1986 and was buried alongside Jean Paul Sartre at the Cimetiere du Montparnasse in Paris, France.

In The Second Sex, she ascribes women's oppression mainly to the essential sexual differences between men and women, and how they experience gender; how the eye of the other (l'autre) falls. However in the existentialist school of thought 'essence does not precede existence', hence '[o]ne is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.'

One of her most interesting arguments is that, throughout history, women have been considered the deviation, the abnormality. Even Mary Wollstonecraft considers men to be the ideal which women should aspire to be. Simone de Beauvoir says this has held back women. It has maintained the perception that women are a deviation from the normal, that they are outsiders attempting to emulate normality. She says that, for feminism to move forward, they need to break out of this assumption.

Although the work receives little attention, Pour Une Morale de L'ambiguite (The Ethics of Ambiguity, 1947) is perhaps the single best point of entry into French existentialism. The simplicity of the work is a marvel in and of itself, as de Beauvoir reduces the gnashing of teeth that many associate with reading Sartre's overly-analytical Being and Nothingness to a few pages of light reading.

Other major works: L'Invitee (She Came to Stay, 1943); Memoires d'une jeune fille rangee (Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, 1958). [This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Simone de Beauvoir.]

Lecture: Second Sex
Russell McNeil, PhD (Copyright 2005)
[Logos Exclusive]

A funny thing happened on the way to the 21st century. The Enlightenment got in the way. When Galileo peered into the Florentine night skies in 1609 there was no looking back. The infinitude of stars, the scarred lunar surface, the moons of Jupiter proved that Copernicus was right: the earth was no longer at the hub of a great chain of being ascending from here to there.

The cosmological inversion triggered by Galileo's discoveries put an end not only to Aristotle and Ptolemy's universe but also to a universe of other analogously derived human ideas and constructions derived from that ancient cosmology. This shift that culminated in the work of Isaac Newton signaled the birth of enlightenment thinking and triggered a radical re-evaluation of relationships in jest about every field.

Over the next two centuries the enlightenment project seems to have produced less rather than more certainty about just about everything. The gods have left the scene, we've tossed aside our masks, and the cosmos feels a lot less friendly than it did in the good old days.

One of the narcotizing effects of pre-enlightenment religious thinking was the unquestioned acceptance of a patriarchy unopposed buy the church and pretty much endorsed by its greatest minds.

Drawing from Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas in his famous Summa Theologica has said this:

"For good order would have been wanting in the human family if some were not governed by others wiser than themselves. So by such a kind of subjection woman is naturally subject to man, because in man the discretion of reason predominates."

"Woman is naturally subject to man" To be subject to is to be object. Whether we agree or not that Aquinas, or Aristotle and responsible for inequalities between men and women, few of us would disagree that the situation of woman in the world is different from the situation of man.

This difference in situation cries for explanation. The theoretical explanations for the situation of woman in the world are called feminisms. It should come as no surprise that theories abound. Two of those theories are of interest to us: Marxist feminism and liberal feminism.

Different theories emerge because different people offer different reasons for the situation of women in the world.

The liberal feminist tradition, one of which Simone de Beauvoir is very much a part, is one in which the situation of women is explained variously as a consequence of biology (as discussed in Chapter 1 of Second Sex), or family structure (Plato's Republic), or mothering (I refer to Adrianne Rich's Of Woman Born), or marriage law (John Stuart Mill's Subjection of Women), or patriarchy (as mentioned above),

Marxist feminism argues that the situation at root is more fundamental. The situation is a consequence of sexuality. Catherine MacKinnon - a noted exponent of this brand of feminism uses sexuality - heterosexuality in particular - in the same fashion as Marxism uses the notion of work. The situation as MacKinnon argues it, is a product of the organized expropriation of the sexuality of some for the use of others. The prime moment of politics, as MacKinnon so eloquently puts it in her essay, Feminism, Marxism, Method and State, is one in which, I quote, some fuck and others get fucked. For MacKinnon Marxism and Feminism are basically theories of power and its unequal distribution.

While Simone de Beauvoir would agree with the facts of the situation, she sees cause and effect in different ways. For de Beauvoir men and women are both disadvantaged by the situation whatever the cause. When women and men recognize each other as peers, the "quarrel" as de Beauvoir describes it, will be over. Men and women will then be in a position to affirm what she calls their universal "brotherhood." Simon de Beauvoir's presentation of the subject-object dichotomy, the problem this presents, and the solutions she offers have had far reaching influences in what has come to called liberal feminist discourse for nearly 5 decades.

The rise of the modern feminism is linked closely to the enlightenment project and tied closely to the obvious second class status accorded to women in all spheres of society. Interestingly the Protestant Reformation contributed to the pressure for change in non-Catholic countries where women who choose not to marry no longer had opportunities for self fulfillment within the church -- as did Hildegaard von Bingen, for example.

The first liberal feminist response of significance, Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women, argued that since there really there is no essential moral difference between men and women, the appropriate thing was equal treatment. Since Wollstonecraft, the aim of Liberal Feminism has been the execution of that agenda: the elimination of social oppression, equal rights in education and work, and so on. Simone de Beauvoir's demand for authenticity, one that can be assumed by both men and women, is certainly in keeping with the Liberal agenda by providing a meaningful philosophical underpinning. Simon de Beauvoir's demand for authenticity requires access to what is needed in order to live authentically: reproductive choice, economic fairness, day care, affirmative action, gender neutral language, parental leave, harassment free workplaces, and so on. For anyone married to the liberal agenda, and the enlightenment project, none of these sorts of adjustments is seen as particularly radical.

Of course this liberal agenda has its critics. Perhaps the more compelling criticism is that the so-called liberal agenda serves the interest of the middle class, while ignoring the interests of the working class women and the poor. And as that gap between rich and poor widens -- in Canada the top ten percent earn 300 times more than the bottom 10 % (when I was in graduate school the ratio was 20 to 1) - those good old liberal arguments lose much force.

Those disparities bring new interest to alternate feminist views. Marxist feminists see liberals as more interested in the protection of property. For Marxists, the key to the understanding of the women question is to see it as part of a larger class struggle. Women should identify the struggle for their liberation with the liberation of all the working class. Perhaps the strongest point offered by Marxist theory, and one that de Beauvoir also notes, is that the emancipation of woman is no emancipation at all if all we end up doing is freeing woman from an oppressive family and throwing them into an oppressive workplace. In this light the liberal feminist agenda is seen by Marxists as serving oppressive capitalism by delivering employers a large number of cheap workers. This is incidentally a major theme of Naomi Wolf's Beauty Myth. Wolf, a liberal feminist like de Beauvoir draws on Marxist analysis but does not advocate Marxist solutions.

Interestingly the heaviest criticism of the Marxist position comes not so much from liberals (most liberals generally buy much of the Marxist argument), but from a third more radical position, which identifies the real problem as men. Men are a problem not because of their dominance of the market, but because they oppress women sexually.

In this radical view, and it is shared by some men, you do not have to be a woman to be a feminist of any stripe. Gender is the issue. And gender is something imposed on women and men by male dominated society.

Simone de Beauvoir's solutions fall squarely within the liberal tradition. Her argument, as I noted earlier, is one in which men and women both are equally responsible for their situations in but have equally as much to gain in a solution in which men and women become peers.

On p. 581 she says: "The dialectic of master and slave here finds its most concrete application: in oppressing, one becomes oppressed. Men are enchained by reason of their sovereignty. . .the truth is that males and females together undergo the oppression of an institution they did not create. . ."

How does that work?

For de Beauvoir the status quo is a no win situation for men and women both. Woman's emancipation is in the interest of men. Men's role--as subject--is as inauthentic as woman's role as object, although quite different. Neither role is freely chosen. Both roles are imposed by a long tradition which has no meaning or usefulness in the modern world.

Can we argue that men need to be liberated from their roles as masters in order to be free? The subject/master role is a blueprint designed to prepare men for a social role which itself is inauthentic and dehumanizing. This is how society imposes control oven men and women both.

De Beauvoir intends authenticity as a two way street. In the general economy of things men's so called master role can be seen as externally imposed on men to make them suitable for and expendable in the workplace. If we borrow the tools of Marx, as de Beauvoir does- but apply them to men, it is possible to argue that men are needed primarily for their capacity to produce. It is conditioning that seduces men into believing otherwise. A perfectly good Marxist approach could describe men as expendable resources to be used for profit. Men are made to identify with their work. Ask a man to identify himself. Invariable he will begin by naming his "job." Men learn to assume that this is what is really important about them, as men. Men "are" what they "do." This means that without a job, a man may feel he is nothing at all. Man may indeed be "subject" in the patriarchal construct. And woman may be "object" or "other" in her relationship to man. But in the workplace, men are also familiar with the experience of being treated as objects, tools, machines and weapons.

This horrible workplace insecurity makes men extremely vulnerable to being taken advantage of. Men know full well that without work they can rapidly lose everything they have. At times of high unemployment they are told that there is always someone else to take their place.

De Beauvoir state on p. 729 that, "the fact that we are human beings is infinitely more important than all the peculiarities that distinguish human beings from one another." She is no biological determinist.

If de Beauvoir is right, the liberty that men and women both stand to gain from their mutual emancipation is the freedom to be subjects of their own destinies...including the right to make authentic and sovereign choices in all facets of their lives.
- 30 -

Lecture: Men's Liberation
Russell McNeil, PhD (Copyright 2005)
[Logos Exclusive]

I'm focusing my talk on men for two reasons. One, because I'm one. Two, Second Sex references men. Men are the subject in this subject-object relationship. Men are important here because the project of emancipation, proposed by Simon de Beauvoir requires mens participation. I also want to reflect on del Beauvoir's argument that emancipation is in the interest of men. My take on this is pretty simple.

The "subject" role de Beauvoir assigns to men is an inauthentic role. By inauthentic I mean that those roles as are not "freely chosen." They are imposed on men and inherited from a long tradition of role playing which is no longer meaningful.

I am not talking about "men's liberation" this morning in a "me too" sense--an attempt to stifle, or devalue the legitimacy of the claims made by feminist ideologies by deflecting the argument away from women and back onto men--who are the source of the "problem" in the first place. That's a legitimate criticism. And no doubt that for every flavour of "feminist" ideology there will emerge an equal and opposite "male derived" ideology designed to neutralize the playing field. Newton's third law is a powerful force:

The ideas on "liberation" here follow those developed by an emerging consciousness that male roles in the modern world require a contemporary "reevaluation." And that this reevaluation is absolutely critical to the success of the emancipation of woman.

Come again, you'll say. Let's get this right. Women are objects--slaves. Men are subjects--masters. How would men be liberated -- be free -- in abandoning the role of master? This subject role--this master role-- insofar as it still has currency--and I think it does in much of the world--is a blueprint designed to prepare men for a social role which is neither desirable nor desired. Furthermore, the blueprint many men are conditioned to follow is inauthentic and dehumanizing. Liberation for me means birth right: the right to be human, the right to be authentically human.

Simon de Beauvoir says that, "to emancipate woman is to refuse to confine her to the relations she bears to man, not to deny them to her; ...., when we abolish the slavery of half of humanity, together with the whole system of slavery that it implies, then the "division" of humanity will reveal its genuine significance and the human couple will find its true form."

"It is for man, de Beauvoir goes on, "to establish the reign of liberty in the midst of the world of the given. To gain the supreme victory, it is necessary, for one thing, that by and through their natural differentiation, men and women unequivocally affirm their brotherhood." Brotherhood!

This is an interesting closure on this book. It represents a call away from otherness to both sides; a mutual recognition of the importance of personal sovereignty; and a call for the abolishing of the slavery that object status confers on half of the human race.

Earlier Simon de Beauvoir describes how this slavery results from oppressive attitudes and actions of men.

"What time and strength he squanders in liquidating, sublimating, transferring complexes, in talking about women, in seducing them, in fearing them! He would be liberated himself in their liberation. But this is precisely what he dreads. And so he obstinately persists in the mystifications intended to keep women in her chains (SS p.720)."

In releasing woman from her chains, man would be liberated also. But, curiously, this is what he dreads. Man, dreads his own liberation!

Why? What is it that man--men--fear? If woman is slave -- object -- and man is master -- subject -- what have men to gain by becoming allies in the struggle for liberation? What forces are at work that prevent men from freely choosing another course? Is there a way of seeing this male role -- sole subject -- as having been imposed as much on men as the object role has been imposed on women? How do men move away from these expectations and what do men need to do to widen their choices, achieve their own emancipation, and lessen the "dread."

These comments on "liberation" from a mens perspective are necessarily generalizations. If they need to be "labeled," I suppose they may be viewed as "liberal."

I have distilled and paraphrased here an exposition of liberation thinking summarized by American John Irwin who has written on liberation themes. The comments will not apply to all men. Nor are
these comments meant to exclude women. Much of what I say will apply to women too, but in most cases in a different way and for different reasons. I believe that these remarks are reflective on the male condition. They are an attempt to provide some understanding of what it is in men that makes it so difficult for them to be allies in the struggle for woman's emancipation. A brief aside. From here in I will use Irwin's first person style and the active voice. Thats intentional. I think this style conveys Irwin's message more directly--better helps us assess his position. So, while I may sympathize with much of what Irwin conveys; it is Irwin and not I who speaks. So, rather than: "What must be done by men..." I'll say, " What must we as men do..."

Overview on men

To men as men. We work too hard! What does this mean? When we assume the role of sole or primary bread winner, which many of our fathers did and many of us may still be expected to do, we are taken advantage of, because we need our jobs. We become defined by our jobs. That may be fine for many of us, but this may not be what we as men might always choose.

Because of this, because we see little choice, we often feel lonely, competitive, and angry. When as men we assume these roles we often hurt ourselves with addictive substances, from cigarettes, to drugs to alcohol. Men's work, which is essential for the survival of us and our families often limits the closeness of our relationships with other people. For example, we are often not as involved in our
children's lives as we would like to be. This anger, and competitiveness forced on us by our work, spills over into other parts of our lives and we sometimes hurt people we love and we regret it afterwards.

We have other problems in our lives as men and in our relationships to others because many of us have been hurt as boys--hurt because we are male, and in ways most of us as men do not even remember. By the time we are adults, we are hardened to getting hurt, and many of us are no longer able to pay attention to our feelings. In fact, a long ago we discovered that not paying attention to our feelings seems to be an effective strategy in dealing with hurt.

These experiences now influence how we act, feel and think. They affect how we handle our relationships, pressure, competition, and criticism at work. They affect how we take care of ourselves: our diet, exercise, our need for rest, our need for affection and love. They affect the choices we make: our lifestyle, job, relationships, hopes, dreams, and attitudes toward life in general.

John Irwin argues that males are often treated as different in nature from females. From nursery rhymes to politics, we are portrayed as made of different stuff and even Irwin suggests "not quite as human." This "different stuff" treatment expresses itself in various ways. I have distilled from these three, which I call a "trilogy of mythologies" about men and what these social myths mean: the mythology of pain; the mythology of inherent aggression; and the mythology of compulsive sexuality.

1. The Mythology of Pain

Let's take these one at a time and see what these attitudes might mean in our relationships as men to the rest of the world. Let's look first at the mythology of pain. Many people believe that males do not feel pain as acutely as females. It is not as "bad" for a boy to get
hit as for a girl. This is of course an attitude. Intellectually each of us here knows this. Biologically there isn't much support for the case. But as males there is a tremendous social pressure for us to conform to this myth.

This attitude, the myth around pain, is acted out on boys and men in interesting ways. Boys, as they mature, tend to be left alone, physically and emotionally. Boys are cuddled less than girls and physical attention stops at an earlier age with boys. This reduction in physical attention is a form of abandonment, which can later be harmful to a man's sense of place and importance in the world.

There is tremendous cultural pressure on boys to dismiss hurt and injury when working or playing a game. Boys are expected to shrug it off and go on as if nothing has happened. Boys who don't conform to this expectation are labeled as "cry babies." It is unacceptable to acknowledge that males feel as deeply as females, so our feelings are seen as a sign of weakness and not being "male."

The message boys get here is that the work or the game is more important than our feelings. This is an example of early preparation for our adult male roles. As adults in work men are expected to function as though feelings were unimportant. Is this true?

Adults are embarrassed by males who show they are "hurting." They know that this is not the way "a man" should act. This has peculiar consequences. Men are not expected to act as though they
care deeply. We are not to act "too" affectionately towards anyone, and certainly not towards other males.

2. Aggression and Violence

The flip side of our attitude to pain is the mythology of aggression. We tend to endorse and encourage aggression as a more appropriate response to pain. Boys playing war or playing with
guns are assumed to be acting out their natural aggressive inclinations rather than trying to prepare for and resolve their feelings.

Many men have had fighting as a regular part of their daily existence. Others have refused to fight and experienced isolation for not playing this game. This mythology has had a purpose historically. Killing or risking of life and limb are jobs expected of men. We are expendable, and because our "feelings" are numbed, we are immune to being bothered by killing or risk taking.

3. Sexual Compulsiveness

Men and adolescents are viewed as insatiably driven towards sex. The mythology of sexual compulsion presents itself as the assumption that we will do anything to manipulate a female into
having sex. This is seen in society as an inherent characteristic of all males. We are expected to be sexually aggressive. In the world at large, males who have not conformed to this expectation are seen as suspect. They aren't real men, or they are labeled as "gay."

The irony here is that when men conform to this expectation of sexual Compulsiveness they are regarded as slaves to sexual desire. Men are "pigs" if they do, and "unmanly" if they don't. These attitudes produce enormous tensions in men around their sexuality. None of
them are part of our nature as males, but the result of external forces on us.

There has been a long cultural tradition -- although this may be changing -- that males should initiate relations and that females should resist. Part of the conditioning rituals played out by parents in many families has included a "talk" from a mother or father that sets girls up for this.

Females are "supposed" to not want sex and to use it as a bargaining chip. This of course denies the reality that both males and females sometimes want sex and sometimes don't. Of course many males do act compulsively around sex, as do many females, but this is not inherent.

We may want to consider the possibility that sexual compulsiveness itself may result from a series of mixed messages and experiences that make it difficult for men to be relaxed sexually.
Part of this lack of relaxation and sexual tension in men is the social message that sexual activity alone is supposed to fill all our needs for intimacy, affection, and touch. Traditionally many men in our culture have no other "approved" sources or ways to express very natural needs for closeness and intimacy.

Men in our culture tend to be judged by the "attractiveness" of the women around us. Presumably -- and this is a very old message we get as adolescents -- the more "man" we are, the more "attractive" the women in our lives must be. This is part of Naomi Wolf's "beauty
myth." The advertising media cultivate and exploit male tensions around sex for profit. Products are sold with the implication that "beautiful" women will be attracted to you if you have them. The message also implies that only "beautiful" women are desirable. This devalues our relationships with the vast majority of women who do not look like beauty models.

Many men as boys were pressured to prove their manhood to other males through sexual "conquest." These conquests were represented as ways of establishing "manhood." Loving relationships
were not the point. Acceptance as a sexual male by a female was often seen as a "right of passage" for teenage boys. Has this changed?

In recent years it has been recognized that many more boys than previously thought have been sexually abused. The failure to understand or recognize that this has been the case is part of the general invisibility of boy's pain. Many people who have been mistreated sexually have to suppress the memories. This explains part of the difficulty many males have with relating sexually in a relaxed, thoughtful way.

4. Pressures to act like a "man"

This trilogy of mythologies around pain, aggression and sexuality described by Irwin works on our psyches from childhood in order to prepare us for a particular role. That role in harshest terms is one in which we are prepared, at least metaphorically, and sometimes literally to "kill" or "be killed."

In cultural terms this preparation takes the form of assigning males roles as providers, protectors and producers, while excluding men from roles as nurturers and caregivers. Any divergence from these ways of acting challenges assumptions about males and the roles we must assume.

Gay oppression enters this discourse. On occasion when men refuse to comply with the pressure to conform to expected male roles, they are accused of being gay. The rejection and violence targeted towards anyone labeled as not being "a man" enforces compliance with the restrictions about how we should be as males. Most of the reasons boys are called gay have nothing to do with sex. Gay sexual practices are used as a pretext for the savagery of the violence against those who diverge from the rigid definition of what it is to "be a man."

5. Final Comments

Irwin argues that all of these attitudes towards men make us suitable for, and expendable in the workplace. In the general economy we are valued primarily for our capacity to produce.

We are an expendable resource to be used for profit. We are made to identify with our work.

Ask a man to identify himself. What is the usual response? He usually begins with his "job." As men we assume that this is what is really important about us, as men. We are what we do.

This means that without a job we feel that we are nothing at all. Man may indeed be subject in the patriarchal construct. And women may be object as "other" in her relationship to man. But in this one area, in the workplace, men know the experience of being treated as objects to use: as tools, machines, and as weapons.

This horrible insecurity makes men extremely vulnerable to being taken advantage of. We know full well that without work we can rapidly lose everything we have. At times of high unemployment we know that there is always someone to take our place, if we challenge the system too much. We need only to look at the example of the growing population of homeless people in the world to be reminded of how little society regards people who cannot get work. Men and women are both treated in this way, but many men are subject to extra pressure to submit because of our need to "feel like a man."

This all amounts to a form of oppression. Oppression means the systematic mistreatment of a group through institutions, cultural attitudes, the economy, and the political system. Male oppression shares characteristics of other forms of oppression: a devaluing of the
person, disrespect, blaming the victim of oppression, and a denial of the full humanness of the person because of his/her identity. Male oppression differs from the oppression of women. Male oppression does not come from women. Male oppression is enforced by society
as a whole.

The oppressive attitudes focus on our "abusiveness," "insensitivity, incompetence as parents," and "compulsiveness about sex." Yet, men are considered better producers, soldiers, business people. Women are considered more human: better friends, parents, care givers. The ideal of the "real man" is held up as a good thing, but no one is like this ideal. As a result, we see ourselves, as failures.

6. General result

Concomitant with the fact that male oppression exists, males often are oppressors themselves. The question is: are we inherently oppressive? Is it possible that men are pressured to take on this hurtful role as part of what is expected of them in order to be men. Please don't hear this as "excuse." Abuse is abuse is abuse. Men who oppress are responsible for their behaviour. Violence against women and children by men is not excusable. But if it is possible to lessen the likelihood of violence and abuse by looking more closely at our roles as men then it is critical that we do this.

7. What is inherently true about men?

As men -- as humans -- we want justice. We wants things to be right. We do not want to be, or seen to be oppressors. As men we feel the full range of human emotions: sadness, fear, fury, disappointment, love, joy, and pain. Disappointment, rejection or loss hurts us as much as these can hurt any human. We are forced to hide our feelings or express them as numbness but this does not mean that the feelings are any less painful. We are full of life. We love beauty. As men we have accomplished great things, developed great ideas.

We have a right to be proud. The dismissive characterization of some of our legitimate greatness as men as being the product of "dead white males," is a meanness attributable in part to the attitude that men are somehow less than human. But as men our presence in the world means far more than our "work." Our tears, our love, and our dreams are valuable assets in this world. We need to see ourselves as important in these ways. Understanding these realities
intellectually isn't enough. We need to know that these things are true about us.

8. What can men do to liberate themselves

As men we need to find ways to acknowledge each other as being fully human. We need to recognize that women and children are not to blame in any way for the lot we find ourselves in. Nor do they
benefit from it. Eliminating sexism is a necessary part of eliminating male oppression. The harmful limited expectations of females implies correspondingly harmful expectations of men. The range of choices men could have in their lives will not be available to them until women
are free to choose any kind of life.

If we as men allow gay males to be abused and mistreated for their choices, we have no basis for asking others to defend ours. Gay men have done much to break the ground for all males and deserve respect for their achievements.

Simon de Beauvoir states on p. 729 that, "the fact that we are human beings is infinitely more important than all the peculiarities that distinguish human beings from one another."

I believe it is true that man would be liberated himself in the liberation of women. The liberty that men and women both stand to gain from their mutual liberation is the freedom to be subjects of our own destinies... the right to make authentic and sovereign choices in our lives.

Books from Alibris: Simone de Beauvoir

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