Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Simone de Beauvoir Feminist Pioneer Hated Motherhood

Simone de Beauvoir, the celebrated feminist pioneer, abortionist and philosopher in her book "The Second Sex"(1949) wrote at length about how she viewed femininity, maternal instincts, motherhood and female physiology as embarrassing weaknesses. Here are excerpts from the book illustrating her outlook on the feminine. Keep in mind that this book was one of the central works responsible for igniting mainstream second wave feminism:

"Maternity dooms woman to a sedentary existence, and so it is natural that
she remain at the hearth while man hums, goes fishing, and makes war...The young man's erotic impulses only go to confirm his pride in his body: therein he sees the sign of his transcendence and his power. The young girl may succeed in accepting the fact of her desires, but usually they retain a cast of shame. Her whole body is a source ofembarrassment. The mistrust that as a small child she felt in regard to her 'insides' helps to give to the menstrual crisis the dubious character that renders it odious to her. It is because of the psychic state induced by her menstrual slavery
that it constitutes a heavy handicap.

The body of a woman - particularly that of a young girl - is a 'hysterical' body, in the sense that there is, so to speak, no distance between the psychic life and its physiological realization. The disorders of puberty are made worse by the upsetting effect their discovery has upon the young girl. Because her body seems suspect to her, and because she views it with alarm, it seems to her to be sick: it is sick...It is in great part the anxiety of being a woman that devastates the feminine body...The mammary glands, developing at puberty, play no role in woman's individual
economy: they can be excised at any time of life."

She loathes the mother's role in teaching girls how to be housewives:

"The mother, as
we shall see, is secretly hostile to her daughter's liberation, and she takes
to bullying her more or less deliberately; but the boy's effort to become a
man is respected, and he is granted much liberty. The girl is required to
stay at home, her comings and goings are watched"

She is very explicit for her hatred of women who enjoy being mothers and find pleasure in their maternity;

"Ensnared by nature, the pregnant woman is plant
and animal, a storehouse of colloids, an incubator, an egg; she scares
children who are proud of their young, straight bodies and makes young
people titter contemptuously because she is a human being, a conscious
and free individual, who has become life's passive instrument...There are women who enjoy the pleasures of pregnancy and suckling so much that they desire their indefinite
repetitions; as soon as a baby is weaned these mothers feel frustrated.
Such women are not so much mothers as fertile organisms, like fowls with
high egg-production. And they seek eagerly to sacrifice their liberty of
action to the functioning of their flesh: it seems to them that their existence
is tranquilly justified in the passive fecundity of their bodies."

Just as Beauvoir described in detail how she sees femininity as a weakness she also describes in The Second Sex how if women were allowed to kill, murder and take life they would be be more than animals and how taking life is what she sees as superior not the ability to give life:

"The warrior put his life in jeopardy to elevate the prestige of the horde, the clan to which he belonged. And in this he proved dramatically that life is not the
supreme value for man, but on the contrary that it should be made to
serve ends more important than itself. The worst curse that was laid upon
woman was that she should be excluded from these warlike forays. For
it is not in giving life but in risking life that man is raised above the
animal; that is why superiority has been accorded in humanity not to the
sex that brings forth but to that which kills."

Simone de Beauvoir was also the writer of the text of the Manifesto of the 343 which was a declaration that was signed by 343 women admitting to having had an abortion she was also one of the signers. Here is the text of the manifesto:

"One million women in France have an abortion every year.
Condemned to secrecy, they have them in dangerous conditions when this procedure, performed under medical supervision, is one of the simplest.
These women are veiled in silence.
I declare that I am one of them. I have had an abortion.
Just as we demand free access to birth control, we demand the freedom to have an abortion"

In response 331 French doctors wrote a manifesto demonstrating their undying support for abortion and for completely unrestricted abortion:

"We want freedom of abortion. It is entirely the woman's decision. We reject any entity that forces her to defend herself, perpetuates an atmosphere of guilt, and allows underground abortions to persist"

So in essence Simone de Beauvoir almost single-handedly got abortion legalized in France. If I were to guess I'd say her loathing for pregnancy, homemakers and motherhood had much to do with her motivation.



In "It Changed My Life: Writings on the Women's Movement" by her fellow feminist Betty Friedan she remarked about how no woman should be given vouchers by the state to stay at home and raise their children because too many women would choose to do so and it would set women as a whole back:

"No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one."

Sounds like a champion of freedom to me! She goes on to state in that book that unless the "myth of the maternal instinct" was not destroyed women would forever be oppressed:

"In my opinion, as long as the family and the myth of the family and the myth of maternity and the maternal instinct are not destroyed, women will still be oppressed."


No comments:

Post a Comment