Simone De Beauvoir

Writer, philosopher, feminist, professor: Simone the Beauvoir is widely recognized for her writing as well as for laying foundation for a modern feminist movement. Her book of essays The Second Sex has become a classic of feminist literature, a landmark accomplishment in feminist history. Simone’s life thesis, which accompanied her personal as well as professional life, was of that of equal vocation for men and women, founded on a common structure of their being, independent of their gender.

Simone was born on January 9, 1908 in Paris into a bourgeois catholic family. She was educated at private convent schools and actually considered to become a nun. However, she declared herself an atheist in her teen years after a crisis of faith and decide to rather focus on the subject of existence, literature, philosophy and math. Simone left her family to study at Sorbonne, where she met Jean-Paul Sartre, with whom she ended up spending her whole life. Although they never married or even lived together, they influenced each other’s life profoundly ,in both personal and professional way.

In her work, de Beauvoir emphasizes freedom, responsibility, equality and independence. She attacks the fact that throughout history, women have been relegated to a sphere of “immanence” and passive acceptance of their roles assigned to them by the society. Among her most famous work are the above mentioned The Second Sex, where de Beauvoir discusses the treatment of women in the present society as well as throughout all of history; an introduction to existentialist thought The Ethics of Ambiguity; or the novel The Mandarins for which she won the Prix Goncourt prize. After being established as a feminist icon of an era, she used her platform to lend her voice to various political causes as well. She supported Algeria’s and Hungary’s struggle for independence for example, or condemned American participation in the Vietnam War.

Simone de Beauvoir died in Paris on April 14, 1986. She is buried alongside Sartre in the Montparnasse Cemetery. She remains until today one of the most significant philosophers of existentialism and an important figure of feminism.

-Dominika, thanks for your contribution!

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