Today’s book is the first non-fiction one I read till the end and it’s another for The Classics Club. It’s called The Second Sex, by Simone de Beauvoir.
This book is consisted in two volumes (volume two is the only one pictured because when I read the first one, I had no idea that I would be starting a blog): Facts and Myths and Lived Experience. They both concentrate in the topic of feminism. Simone de Beauvoir is one of the most earnest feminist from the 20th century. She had a major roll in the theory of feminism. She was not only a great essayist but she also wrote some very acclaimed novels, like The Mandarins (which is also in my to-read list).
The Second Sex (pt. O Segundo Sexo) talks about the oppression of women of various social extracts, professions and ages. It covers history, biological facts, myths, growth, marriage and several other topics. Mostly, this book tries to find the reason why, since the dawn of days, women are considered inferior than men. It’s full of testimonies of different types of women, some told to the author directly and some from other books on some relatable topic.
I don’t like non-fiction books. I mean, it’s not that I’ve read a lot of them but I don’t see their appeal. I like a good story with a beginning and an end. Books with just the intension of explaining something to the reader aren’t really my thing. When I heard about this book, I had a big inner debate. While doing a quick research on feminist books, this one appeared as number one in most of the lists! I decided to read it because I’m starting to get really serious about what I believe. Equality for women is one of my major believes and I want to help as much as I can to see that happen as sooner as possible.
This book was written in 1949 but some of the topics are still very present in today’s women. A lot has changed though but probably not as much as you may think. Women that dress in less feminine ways are perceived as trying to become man, sex workers are still brutalised and women that try to achieve great things in their careers are looked down. There was a lot of things I didn’t know, like how some animals reproduce and the role of females in the continuation of their species. I definitely learned A LOT! I felt so unaware of some issues but I am so enlightened now.
I took a lot of time to read this one, especially the second volume. I found the first one to be a lot more informative. Lived Experience is also informative but I felt that it was a bit repetitive and dragging. Nevertheless, I love this work. It’s great to get you aware of how difficult life used and still is for women. It also makes very clear that even though the work is not done, we are on the right path. Women are more independent and free than ever! I loved the way that in the chapter “Toward Liberation”, the author tried to explain how it’s possible to still be a woman and an individual at the same time. That meant a lot to me because I actually love being a girl! It takes a lot of work and it’s not easy but it’s who I am. I want to still be the individual that I am, with all my interests and imperfections. My gender shouldn’t define what I want and can achieve in life. I truly believe that women and men can be equal one day. I hope that’s not an utopia.
Even though this wasn’t the most easy breezy read of my life, I truly enjoyed it. If you’re into feminist or equality I recommend this one. It’s amazingly written and it has tons of references to other books on similar topics in case you’re interested in reading more about it. My relationship with non-fiction books it’s still a complicated one but expanding my horizons is always a great thing to work on. If you read this one, another book from the author or even another feminist book, please let me know in the comments!
Here’s one of many great quotes from the book:
Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with absolute truth.
As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read or just check my posts.