What Is a Woman? Defined by the dictionary, a womanis an adult female person, a wife, the female human being, as distinguishedfrom a girl or man, and is referred to an adult human being who is biologicallyfemale; that is, capable of bearing offspring. 1However, when I think of what is a woman, I think of myself and all the womanthat surround my everyday life. Being a woman is deeper than biology and bodyparts, being a woman is to be put inside boxes and stereotypes and still manageto defeat odds, not because women are inferior but because still in today’ssociety there are political, social, and economic factors that differentiateboth sexes. In terms of the political aspect, there are fewer women in theposition of power vs men, social aspects include traditional roles, andeconomically speaking the average woman still makes less than a man. Being awoman is having to endure all these limits, and still want to bring a life intothe world, and bear a child for nine months. To me, being a woman is to bestrong, powerful, and capable. We live in a world where inequalities of race and genderco-exist within wealth, income, and occupation between men and women, andpeople of color.
2The premise of the American culture results in women being treated unequal tomen, because we are seen as the ‘incidental’ being.3Women have never had the same equal shares as a man – in a workplace, politicaloffice or in society itself. Years ago, a woman’s job was to be a housewife, asthey cooked, cleaned, and didn’t have an actual job where they got paid for.
Nowadays,we see a handful of women fighting for their rights to be heard, whether it be protesting,or spreading awareness about being a feminist. Women in the 21stcentury are getting their voices heard. Simone De Beauvoir, a philosopher, political activist, andleading feminist, published The SecondSex, which focuses on what it is to be a woman and how women are seen asthe “other” gender, while men are portrayed to be the first sex.4As a woman herself, she explores the reality of both sexes and the experiencesthat women face.
She also highlights the “obstacles and the way toward woman’s liberationand existential fulfillment.” 5As females, and having the power of being a woman, we encounter many problems thatrelate to our gender. De Beauvoir depicts this issue as she first comparesbeing a woman to different races. “The whole of feminine history has been man-made.Just as in America there is no Negro problem, but rather a white problem; justas anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem, it is our problem; so, the womanproblem has always been a man problem.”6She draws a similarity between women and oppressed classes of society becauseshe wants to recognize that a woman is nota minority. We make up half theworld’s human population, and De Beauvoir uses the term “lower caste” toemphasize the quality of the female subordination.
Our political and economic situations between menand women are completely different. Simone De Beauvoir points out a very strongpoint where she says, “and even today woman is heavily handicapped, though hersituation is beginning to change.” 7As women, we have very few rights, compared to men where they have a variety ofprivileges, and because of this we are forced to depend on a man. She makes thecomparison of handicaps, to then translate into a social subservience when shesays, “since she is anyway doomed to dependence, she will prefer to serve a godrather than obey tyrants… She chooses to desire her enslavement so ardentlythat it will seem to her the expression of her liberty.”8De Beauvoir states the obvious of what it is to be women in our society. Wehave no other option but to depend on a man because our economic and politicalshares will never be the same. We live in a society where we are forced to 1″Woman.
” Dictionary.com2 Emmanuel College –Intranet for Students, Staff and Faculty.3 De Beauvoir,Simone. “The Second Sex.” In WorldEthics, 302-08. Wanda Torres, Gregory & Donna Giancola.
4 De Beauvoir,Simone. “The Second Sex.” In WorldEthics, 302-08. Wanda Torres, Gregory & Donna Giancola.5 De Beauvoir,Simone. “The Second Sex.” In WorldEthics, 302-08. Wanda Torres, Gregory & Donna Giancola.
6 De Beauvoir,Simone. “The Second Sex.” In WorldEthics, 302-08. Wanda Torres, Gregory & Donna Giancola.7 De Beauvoir,Simone.
“The Second Sex.” In WorldEthics, 302-08. Wanda Torres, Gregory & Donna Giancola.8 De Beauvoir,Simone.
“The Second Sex.” In WorldEthics, 302-08. Wanda Torres, Gregory & Donna Giancola.