For many, Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex has only historic significance. The aim of this article is to show on the contrary that Beauvoir's philosophy already contains all the elements of contemporary feminism-so much so that it can be taken as its paradigm. Beauvoir's ideas about the self are extremely relevant today. Feminist themes such as the logic of "equality and difference" and identity are interwoven in her thinking in ways that can offer solutions to what seem to be insurmountable dilemmas in modern feminism. The attack on all kinds of essentialism can be reconciled with feminist identity-politics when the latter presents itself as "arts of living."