Saturday, December 15, 2012

Five best literary counterblasts against misogyny

Belinda Jack is Tutorial Fellow in French, Christ Church, University of Oxford. She is the author of George Sand: A Woman's Life Writ Large and Beatrice's Spell.

Her latest book is The Woman Reader.

One of Jack's five best literary counterblasts against misogyny, as told to the Wall Street Journal:
The Second Sex
by Simone de Beauvoir (1949)

'The Second Sex' opens with an epigraph from the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras: "There is a good principle which created order, light and man and a bad principle that created chaos, darkness and woman." Simone de Beauvoir sought to demonstrate that to be born a woman meant to be destined to a lifetime countering the forces of misogyny. She makes the crucial distinction between sex—the body one is born with—and gender, namely what we become (thanks to societal pressure) as a result of our sex. This is the essence of her famous declaration, "One is not born woman, one becomes woman." For all the academic and philosophical complexities of her lengthy treatise, which make it hard going, modern feminism is inconceivable without it.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Second Sex is one of Lisa Appignanesi's top 10 books by & about Simone de Beauvoir.

--Marshal Zeringue