How or intellect. Femininity is a reflectionHow or intellect. Femininity is a reflection

How one classifies a woman as a woman is an interesting subject. Femininity, biology, mentality and even beauty are all factors that can contribute to if society would classify one as a man or as the “Other”. Feminist, Simone de Beauvoir would say that biology is not what necessarily determines what makes a woman a woman. According to de Beauvoir,  society itself has the power to tell a woman if she is in fact a woman and society has the power to tell women what their value is in society. Once a woman realizes that they are being treated differently than a man, they will understand that the differences between them are what makes a woman. Femininity, or womanhood does not come from differences in biology, psychology, or intellect. Femininity is a reflection not on the constitutional differences in men and women, but rather the differences in their situation. When considering women and femininity it is important to remember that situation determines character and not the other way around, meaning that women are not born in their final form but they are gradually shaped into who they are destined to be by their upbringing and by society. Society has a lot of power on how women regard themselves. Society has the power to create a mould that all women must fit into.  From a young age, girls are taught how to dress and how to act to please society. From birth women and men are labeled and taught how to act. Women are taught to be passive, submissive to men, feminine and docile while men are taught to be strong, focused and masculine. Women are taught that they are less important, unnecessary and secondary to men. Men will always be seen as the dominate sex and women will always be seen as smaller, more insignificant sex. In the novel The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir, she analyzes the Western definition of “woman,” with an innovative examination of inequality and otherness. Women have been seen as the second sex to man throughout history. It is a narrative that is constantly repeated in media, society and history. Men are constantly seen as dominant, strong and heroic while women are known to be lesser than men, which leaves women at a disadvantage at almost every point of their lives compared to men. Woman being seen as the second sex to man is continuously being shown through history that is constantly being repeated, the major distinction between male and female sexual liberation and through the fact that women and men are never raised the sameway.        Simone de Beauvoir is one of the leading and most influential feminist, existentialist philosopher and writer. De Beauvoir worked alongside many existentialists such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Maurice Merleau-Pontyde, to construct some of her most famous writings including work on ethics, fiction, feminism and politics. While working in the field of ethics, Simone wrote a book called The Ethics of Ambiguity, where she developed a thesis that convicted the “spirit of seriousness.” That people are too eager to identify with certain abstractions or concepts at the expense of their individual freedoms and responsibilities. Simone de Beauvoir’s most famous and contributive work is The Second Sex. The novel addresses the fact that throughout history, women has been objectified and labelled as an “Other”. In the novel, de Beauvoir notes that “humanity is male and man defines woman not herself but as relative to him.” Man will always come first and woman will always be second and considered as the “Other”in comparison to them.  According to de Beauvoir “The whole of feminine history has been man-made. Just as in America there is no Negro problem, but rather a white problem; just as anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem, it is our problem; so the woman problem has always been a man problem.” Sexism is not women’s fault. While the issue of sexism affects women daily, men are to blame for it. It is an issue invented and executed by their oppressors. In the bible there is a passage in Genesis about the first man and women created by God named Adam and Eve, who resided in the garden of Eden. In this garden Eve was easily persuaded by the devil, embodied by a serpent, to eat the forbidden fruit and to persuade Adam to eat the fruit as well. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden of Eden and Eve was heavily punished by God. This implies not only that women easily influenced by men, but also that they are evil since Eve ate the fruit knowing that it was forbidden. As a result of Eve’s faults God said, “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” There is an argument that Eve was weak and that she was easily tempted by the devil serpent. The stereotype that women are unable to make proper decisions stemmed from this. If Adam were to be tempted by the serpent, he would have made the right decision and have been smart enough to refuse. The stereotype that women are evil temptresses was also bred from this story since Eve was able to get Adam to eat the forbidden fruit as well. The story of Adam and Eve is an iconic story known to those outside of the Christian faith. The story was the beginning of many stereotypes that still show women in a negative light. Eve and all women are known to make bad decisions, are known to be temptresses and they are known to be easily influenced by man. While Eve’s mistakes are often remembered, the fact that Adam also ate the forbidden fruit is often forgotten. Although Adam tried to reason with God and place all blame on Eve, he too was punished. God told Adam, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.” This is an unfair punishment and shows the favouritism towards Adam — the man. Eve’s punishment was much harsher. Not only does this punish Adam but in the long run it also punished Eve as well since during that time men were the primary breadwinners of the family. The story of Adam and Eve was the beginning of many negative stereotypes for women. While stereotypes seem meaningless, they have consequences that affect women to this day. In comparison to men, women are told that their ideas and plans are secondary and not as good. Men are also able to escape blame while women are more likely to be punished for their mistakes. Adam was given a light consequence for his actions while Eve was given harsher punishments and she is known as the reason why woman and man were cast out of the garden of Eden.          Simone de Beauvoir’s initial thesis was that man fundamentally oppress women by characterizing them on every level as the other, defined entirely in the opposition to man. According to Simone, man owns the role of “the self” or “the subject,” women own the role of the “object” the “other.” Subjects are essential, absolute, free and transcendent. Objects are codependent since no object can survive without someone or something controlling it. Women are to fit into this cast that men have created and during de Beauvoir’s era, the role a woman was forced into was to be an innocent and obedient housewife and mother. Simone de Beauvoir did not fit into this role. She rejected the role society projected upon her and instead paved her own path. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir challenged the way society viewed commitments and relationships, they did not desire to have the conventional relationship dependant on gender roles and therefore did not. Early into their relationship they agreed to a “transparency pact,” meaning they would allow the other to be free and be with other lovers and live wherever they chose to as long as they told one another everything. Simone was and still is criticized very heavily for having an open relationship and choosing to never get married to Jean-Paul. In a piece for the New Yorker in 2015, an American critic and essayist by the name of Louis Menand, argued that de Beauvoir was a “classic enabler” in her relationship with Sartre. Menand even suggested that she faked bisexuality to please Sartre, and that parts of The Second Sex were written as a plea to him. There are countless articles that accuse de Beauvoir of either not wanting to be in an open relationship, of being promiscuous rather than bisexual and of faking her bisexuality to please Sartre. Jean-Paul Sartre was just as famous as Simone de Beauvoir was and yet the articles written about him championed his ability to have a healthy relationship with a high profile woman while also having many lovers at the same time. There is a big difference between how a sexually liberated man is treated versus how a sexually liberated woman is treated. A woman is unable to be sexually liberated since that is against the label that society has given her. According to society women are supposed to be sexual only for procreation or for their husbands satisfaction. A sexually liberated woman is a slut. A queer sexually liberated woman is a slut and an attention seeker since women are only ever sexual with other women for male enjoyment.  As the ‘subject’ men are able to choose their own destiny without any questions asked but since a women are the secondary ‘objects’ she must shape and mould herself to be the type of women society accepts.         The nature versus nurture debate is mentioned often in The Second Sex, with de Beauvoir arguing that women’s mistreatment in society is not from a result of natural differences between man and woman but the differences in upbringing. The male dominance is not genetic, but it is something that is conditioned at every stage of development. De Beauvoir said that, “Man learns his power,” and woman learns she has none. Women are not born passive, mediocre, or second-rate. Rather, she is brought up and raised to believe that a proper woman must embody these characteristics while simultaneously being conditioned to believe that denying her true self and not embracing individualism, is the only way to achieve happiness and gain acceptance. All women and men are born equal and the possibility exists of them being equal in adulthood as well as in childhood, but because of the way society has created a clear cut difference in the way women and men should be treated, that possibility has crumbled. De Beauvoir’s answer as to why women are raised so differently to men is the fact that women are used simply as a reproductive tool. Throughout history, it is always seen that women are slaves to their reproductive system. Back in de Beauvoir’s time, with women having such difficulty joining the workforce, their only job was to have an uninterrupted cycles of pregnancies to help grow the population. Therefore woman’s only contribution was to growing the population and remaining restricted to their womb. Women still have a hard time joining the workforce at the same rate and speed that men do. When women do join the workforce they are also still expected to do most of the housework. Women are expected to work twice as hard as men in the workforce to earn close to what they make while also being the primary parent. Men are not forced to choose between family and work but women are. Many women choose to not having children to focus more on their careers. Woman is neither entirely a worker nor entirely a womb.                One may argue that women chose to keep themselves stuck in the role that society has placed upon them. Many believe that women should have stood up for themselves and created their own individual roles in society. In terms of the Bible, the first copy was written 3500 years ago. Many would argue that the Bible is no longer significant in playing a big role in today’s society therefore the argument is invalid. Many things have happened since the first version of the Bible was published, therefore it is not fair to bring up an argument that has been dealt with. In terms of Simone de Beauvoir’s open relationship and the argument that men and women are not treated equally, one may protest that it is for the wellbeing of the women. The question of whether or not men and women should be treated equally has been asked for years and many would say they should not be because women are actually more important than men. The fight for equality is also a fight almost won since men and women are both in the workforce, men and women can both take paternity/maternity leave, and the wage gap is smaller now than ever and in countries such Iceland making equal pay mandatory. Women should also be treated with more care and should be better protected than men since they are able to carry children. It is said that with one hundred men and one women the population would take ages to grow while with one hundred women and one man the population would boom. Another argument that could be made is that not all men and women are uncomfortable with their roles in society, meaning that there are some women who find joy in being housewives, and would prefer to be the primary parent in terms of their children.         The Second Sex was written in 1949 and although there has been considerable change in the world, the way women are viewed still needs work. Although today’s society claims that the division between men and women no longer exists, women still have a long fight to be considered equal to man. In the present there is a hierarchy with man on top and with woman below them. As Simone de Beauvoir once said, “every individual self, regardless of gender, is entitled to subjectivity, ” women just lose this entitlement because of outside forces that plot against them whether that be man himself or society as a whole. For women to be seen as man’s true equal, the way that society views women will have to change. The media for one are a big influence on how women are viewed. The words used in associated with women, such as weak need to be changed as well since words like focused, smart and powerful are only synonymous with men. Women are not tools for growing the population, nor are women supposed to be seen and not heard. Women are not secondary to men. Women are just as smart, powerful and athletic as men. For many years women have been pushed down below men, forced to be secondary. From birth women are taught to think of themselves as “not as good” as men. Women are brought up to be wives and mothers, not to be engineers, doctors and astronauts. From birth women should be taught that they are stronger than men since they have had to endure so much oppression. Women have had to fight for rights that were given to men. Women have had to sacrifice to achieve goals that are easily achievable to men. The way women are raised has to be changed, women should be raised not just to be mothers and wives but to be independent, strong women who can shatter the glass ceilings put in place by men. Women are not, and will never be the second sex.