Beauvoir Defines A Woman Analysis

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This paper will examine the question, “what is a woman?” utilizing readings from Beauvoir and Butler. Woman is not definable because woman is not just one thing. One is not born a woman or made a woman rather, one becomes woman. Once one has become woman she defines for herself what that means for her own life and future. She gets to do so because her experience differs from man, and from any other woman, same race or otherwise. Woman is ever evolving and will defy definition as time passes. In Beauvoir’s introduction she doesn’t offer a definition of woman, instead she offers how woman has been defined which is intriguing. Quoting Aristotle Beauvoir writes, “The female is female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities. We should regard…show more content…
Who one loves and/or is attracted to is not indicative of woman nor man. Gender and sexuality, unlike performative acts, style, or patriarchal definitions and standards of woman are involuntary, decided by an individual’s genetics and DNA. A woman doesn’t lose or forfeit womanhood because she loves another woman, she merely performs and defines her own womanhood differently. Gender too has no say in the definition of womanhood. Male born individuals define themselves as woman via their attitude, style, gestures, performance, as well as through corrective surgery to make the physical body reflect the internal identity. Whether you were born with a penis or a vagina is not a definition of woman or man which Beauvoir includes in her introduction by saying,” as for the hermaphrodite, it is a case of its own: it is not a man and a woman, but neither man nor woman,” (Beauvoir pp 15). If having both male and female reproductive organs doesn’t allow one to claim both woman and man status, and if as stated by Aristotle, a woman is defined by what is lacking, in this case they lack nothing and can’t identify as a man either, then one has to conclude that the reproductive organs in fact have no say in the definition of…show more content…
For the span of all human history woman hasn’t had choice, even her wedding vows were to honor and obey her husband. She was only defined as a good woman had she been properly obedient in servitude to her husband and before marriage to her father. Women only wore dresses, didn’t work for a living, nor had any responsibility other than to provide sons for her husband. With the rise of democratic leaning men choice has been incrementally given to women. The choice to rise up and fight back against a society determined to keep women submissive and taciturn hasn’t been available to women of the past. Consequences for doing so were met with harsh punishments and personal safety was more often than not the largest factor in their calculations as they would have been imprisoned, physically abused, and even killed. Now with the right to vote, with women in governmental power positions, and so much more, women have come too far to allow themselves to be defined by anyone but themselves.
To conclude, I cannot answer the question, what is woman? Woman is not the same for anyone. It’s not even the same amongst women of the same race or culture. I can only offer you the definition of what I am as a woman. I am strong, intelligent, autonomous, single, childless, compassionate, analytical, hardworking, political, scientific, and much more. I don’t need a man or anyone else defining me, my life, or my future. How do you define yourself as

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