The second sex

by Simone de Beauvoir

Paper Book, 2011


Newly translated and unabridged in English for the first time, Simone de Beauvoir's masterwork is a powerful analysis of the Western notion of "woman," and a groundbreaking exploration of inequality and otherness. This long-awaited new edition reinstates significant portions of the original French text that were cut in the first English translation. Vital and groundbreaking, Beauvoir's pioneering and impressive text remains as pertinent today as it was sixty years ago, and will continue to provoke and inspire generations of men and women to come.



Call number



New York : Vintage, 2011.

Media reviews

Many of the author’s complaints against masculine oppression are justified, her observation is often acute and subtle, and her style is elegant if also slightly pretentious and often marred by unnecessary existentialist terminology. But as one reads on and on in this Black Book of the Male
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Terror, one becomes at first irritated and finally wearied by the unremitting whine of her special pleading. The agony is piled on until the most wholehearted believer in the equality of the sexes—as, for instance, the present reviewer—comes to suspect that the author has written the whole enormous tract out of simple resentment that she is not a man.
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1 more
“What a curse to be a woman!” Beauvoir writes, quoting Kier­kegaard. “And yet the very worst curse when one is a woman is, in fact, not to understand that it is one.” No one has done more than Beauvoir to explain the conditions of that curse, and no one has more eloquently, irately
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challenged us to turn that curse into a blessing.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member catarinavclemente
"Le Deuxième Sexe" is a fundamental reading for all that urgently need to demystify women and study the philosophy of being the "other" gender on the 21st century.
I'm reading it for the second time.
LibraryThing member abruser
"The Second Sex" by Simone de Beauvoir examines gender as a social construct in society. She argues that one reason for the oppression of women is that they are seen as "other" or "alien" in the eyes on man and masculine institutions.
LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
A dense book in which de Beauvoir attempts to define a feminist view of the world, and to explain the differentiation of that view from the masculine. There is a lot of close reasoning, but a serious critique of her work will require a response by a philosopher of equal industry and intelligence.
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Originally published in French in 1952.
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LibraryThing member Jthierer
This book consists of three parts all jumbled-up together so that some of the still relevant gets missed in the "WTF did I just read."

One part is a solid historical look at what the life of women really was like before "women's lib." Those who would romanticize the good old days where the little
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lady happily stayed home and the man went to earn their daily bread would be well-served to read how miserable this arrangement made both men and women. It's a great reminder of why we don't want to go back there, but not terribly relevant to today.

Another part is a psychoanalytic nonsense that posits that women can cause their own miscarriages due to ambivalence about pregnancy or unresolved mommy issues. This is the "WTF" part of the book and I wish it was more easily skipped.

The last, and thankfully smallest part, are those paragraphs that could be written today in 2022 with very little changes. The ones that speak about men who want casual sex and shame women who give it to them, the ones that call out the hypocrisy of men who ban abortions while pressuring their mistresses to undergo the procedure. Those parts are the ones that make this worth reading still today; the ones that will stick with me.
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LibraryThing member Ghost_Boy
A low and long read, but worth it.

This has been on my reading list since college. I'm glad I didn't read this in college, it's way too long and I probably wouldn't have understood most of this at the time. The book makes me wish I took some kind of women's studies in college, since I'm very much
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interested in feminism.

Even though this is a philosophy book mainly, it does focus on female writers. She talks about a ton of writers I've read before like Virginia Woolf, Colette, George Eliot, and Dorothy Parker. There are some I've heard about, but haven't read yet. And there is a but of French writers I never heard of before. I find it helpful you know some of the people she is talking about before hand. It helps you get what her point is at time.

I like that she points out philosophy is pretty much a male dominated subject. While there are some notable female philosophers, there isn't a lot. She's not afraid to bluntly point out some sexist comments that were said by Aristotle, Plato, Freud, and Nietzsche. While I like them and wouldn't call them full on sexist, she makes a point. John Stuart Mill and Michel de Montaigne are two examples she uses as one who understood women a bit more.

While the introduction says she is Protestant, she isn't afraid to attack the Bible either. She points out several times how the Bible is wrong about women. While there are some examples or being a good women, women are always less than men. They get very little and very short chapters in the book. They usually are the Mary or the Eve character. God is a man even though women give birth, but that's all they do according to men at the time.

Besides the page numbers, the one thing I didn't like with this is when she uses numbers. She doesn't do much sourcing other than quoting works of fiction, but every now and then she quotes scientist and psychologist as well. Some of the numbers she uses seemed random to me. She didn't do a great job saying were she got them or it's unclear at times. She comes off as pseudo with science and psychology. Thankfully, the translator adds notes and a selected bibliography at the end. She even corrects her at some points.

Overall, this book is worth the read. More men should be interested in her works. Especially men into philosophy. This book might make you realize the voice of a women is just as important as the voice or a man in philosophy. It also makes you aware who is the voice in a philosophy work.
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LibraryThing member puabi
De Beauvoir is almost completely wrong, but this book is amazing. It is rich and very readable.



Original language


Original publication date

1953 (US)


030727778X / 9780307277787
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