On s’empresse de les décharger de toute t che pénible et de tout souci: c’est les délivrer du même coup de toute responsabilité. On espère qu’ainsi dupées, séduites par la facilité de leur condition, elles accepteront le rôle de mère et de ménagére dans lequel on veut les confiner.
The day had been spent in the expectation of these hours, and now they were crumbling away, becoming, in their turn, another period of expectancy…It was a journey without end, leading to an indefinite future, eternally shifting just as she was reaching the present.
In particular those who are condemned to stagnation are often pronounced happy on the pretext that happiness consists in being at rest. This notion we reject, for our perspective is that of existentialist ethics. Every subject plays his part as such specifically through exploits or projects that serve as a mode of transcendence; he achieves...
Being on the fringes of the world is not the best place for someone who intends to re-create it: here again, to go beyond the given, one must be deeply rooted in it. Personal accomplishments are almost impossible in human categories collectively kept in an inferior situation.
To catch a husband is an art; to hold him is a job.
In those days we saw every sort of object as though it were one of those tiny handkerchiefs from which a conjuror can produce silk scarfs, streamers, flags, and yards of ribbon. A cup of coffee became a kaleidoscope in which we could spend ages watching the mutable reflections of ceiling or chandelier.
Dès l’origine de l’humanité, leur privilège biologique a permis aux m les de s’affirmer seuls comme sujets souverains; ils n’ont jamais abdiqué ce privilège (…) Condamnée à jouer le rôle de l’Autre, la femme était aussi condamnée à ne posséder qu’une puissance précaire: esclave ou idole ce n’est jamais elle qui a choisi son lot.
Mais de toute façon, engendrer, allaiter ne sont pas des activités, ce sont des fonctions naturelles; aucun projet n’y est engagé; c’est pourquoi la femme n’y trouve pas le motif d’une affirmation hautaine de son existence; elle subit passivement son destin biologique.
…her wings are cut and then she is blamed for not knowing how to fly.
But this element of failure is a very condition of his life; one can never dream of eliminating it without immediately dreaming of death. This does not mean that one should consent to failure, but rather one must consent to struggle against it without respite.
Capabilities are clearly manifested only when they have been realized.
There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless.
I hadn’t known Chancel very well, but ten days earlier I had seen him laughing with the others around the Christmas tree. Maybe Robert was right; the distance between the living and the dead really isn’t very great. And yet, like myself, those future corpses who were drinking their coffee in silence appeared ashamed to...
The present is a transitory existence which is made in order to be abolished: it retrieves itself only by transcending itself toward the permanence of future being; it is only as an instrument, as a means, it is only by it’s efficacy with regard to the coming of the future that the present is validly...
My contemplation is an excruciation only because it is also a joy.
Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.
A freedom which is interested only in denying freedom must be denied. And it is not true that the recognition of the freedom of others limits my own freedom: to be free is not to have the power to do anything you like; it is to be able to surpass the given toward an open...
[From a New York Times biography from May 27, 2010 entitled Introduction to Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘The Second Sex’]Beauvoir herself was as devout an atheist as she had once been a Catholic, and she dismisses religions — even when they worship a goddess — as the inventions of men to perpetuate their dominion.
Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself & in surpassing itself; if all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying, & human existence is indistinguishable from an absurd vegetation; a life justifies itself only if its effort to perpetuate itself is integrated into its surpassing & if this surpassing has no...
But an action which wants to serve man ought to be careful not to forget him on the way, if it chooses to fulfill itself blindly, it will lose its meaning or will take on an unforeseen meaning; for the goal is not fixed once & for all; it is defined all along the road...
Si, bien avant la puberté, et parfois même dès sa toute petite enfance, elle nous apparaît déjà comme sexuellement specifiée, ce n’est pas que de mystérieux instincts immédiatement la vouent à la passivité, à la coquetterie, à la maternité, c’est que lintervention d’autrui dans la vie de l’enfant et presque originelle et que dès ses...
The adventure is which I have shared so passionately is not over–this adventure with its doubt, failure, the dreariness of no progress, then a glimpse of light, a hope, a hypothesis confirmed; and then after weeks and months of anxious perseverance, the intoxication of success.
…counselling man to treat her as a slave while persuading her that she is a queen.
On nous exhorte: ‘Soyez femmes, restez femmes, devenez femmes.’ Tout être humain femelle n’est donc pas nécessairament une femme; il lui faut participer à cette réalité mystérieuse et menacée qu’est la féminité. (…) Celle-ci est-elle sécrétée par les ovoires? Suffit-il d’un jupon à frou-frou pour la faire descendre sur terre?
Il y a toujours eu des femmes; elles sont femmes par leur structure physiologique; aussi loin que l’histoire remonte, elles ont toujours été subordinnées à l’homme; leur dépendance n’est pas la conséquence d’un événement ou d’un devenir, elle n’est pas arrivée.
All she had to do was make the simplest of gestures – open her hands and let go her hold. She lifted one hand and moved the fingers of it; they responded, in surprise and obedience, and this obedience of a thousand little unsuspected muscles was in itself a miracle. Why ask for more?
The proletariat could plan to massacre the whole ruling class; a fanatic Jew or black could dream of seizing the secret of the atomic bomb and turning all of humanity entirely Jewish or entirely black: but a woman could not even dream of exterminating males. The tie that binds her to her oppressors is unlike...