Gender and Its Discontents

790 words | 3 page(s)

It oftentimes happens that feminist activists seek things which simply do not exist, and having not found them, they still continue to look for such. It seems to be the case with De Beauvoir. At least this is what comes to mind after reading her most widely known text . The existence of such things in their minds serves to them as a certain proof of their existence in reality. It would be quite a normal thing, since we, humans, oftentimes see the fruit of our imagination as proofs of something real. And sometimes it is OK to tilt at windmills; moreover, it is probably a human right to do so. The right which ought not to be taken away from feminist activists, as they may feel oppressed on gender basis because of it. But irony aside, in many respects it sometimes appears, that feminist activists contribute into the development of a huge gab between the genders, rather than equality of their rights and mutual understanding. The very idea of a woman, who is not born a woman, but needs to become one, is developing an image of femininity being something artificial, something non-existing in nature. A man, it turns out, is not meant to become a man, but a woman needs to become a woman, thus, it seems like, femininity stands for a set of artificially put together features, which are not even always characteristic of humans. Aren’t we bringing a woman to the best Victorian standards by just accepting this idea of having to become a woman? Isn’t there a discrimination in woman’s having to become one, while a man is a man by the law of nature and does not have to prove his masculinity and become a man? All this seems to have very little to do with the equality and non-discrimination, and has got much to do with an attempts of a person to find an excuse for having reached nothing in one’s life, except mere correspondence to the standard’s, established for one’s gender. I find the remark of Bauer to be very precise, when she states: “the individual problems of the writer herself may assume an exaggerated importance in her discussion of femininity” .

The author constantly brings about her offenses regarding the remarks made either a few hundred years ago or by entirely uneducated people, and enjoys discussing them from the modern, educated point of view, and trying to prove, that such remarks as the one, made by a medical association’s member in 1878 about the meat necessarily going bad due to being touched by a menstruating woman is a proof of the oppression of women by men. To my mind it is unacceptable to take such arguments seriously and at the same time to lead a thoughtful, nearly scientific discussion. We either accept the fact of the meat going bad as a serious scientific assumption, or we simply avoid mentioning this idle remark in a scientific discussion. If it is scientific at first place.

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Lastly, there is a serious circumstance: it takes two parties for a case of oppression to take place. The oppressed also need to participate. As long as they agree to be oppressed, no oppressor can set them free. This is the case with many modern feminists. Instead of achieving something in life, they prefer to dedicate it to finding reasons which made them lead the kind of life they lead, and the kind of life, with which they are not satisfied. No oppression kept Emily Bronte and a number of other women from becoming brilliant writers, musicians, scientists. If there is an ambitiously strong desire, it will find a way for self-realization regardless of the sex of the individual in whose heart it was born. And the author mentions numerous examples illustrating this. There are also those women who are happy with the role of good wives and mothers. Why should they be criticized for this? Why their family happiness is to be seen as in the light of oppression and inequality? It seems that the reason for this is that some of the women find the only sense in their lives in being women. This sometimes happens with extreme nationalists. They find no other sense in their lives except the belonging to a certain nation.

And through such belonging they excuse all the failures and things unachieved in their lives. Not in vain many critics have found, that Simone De Beauvoir writes as if separating herself from women, and some even remarked that she seemingly does not like women and regrets being a woman. To my mind, such texts only contribute into development of gab between genders, and not the other way around.

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