What is a Woman? Butler and Beauvoir on the Foundations of the Sexual Difference

Hypatia 12 (1):20-39 (1997)
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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to show that Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex has been mistakenly interpreted as a theory of gender, because interpreters have failed adequately to understand Beauvoir's aims. Beauvoir is not trying to explain facts, events, or states of affairs, but to reveal, unveil, or uncover (découvrir) meanings. She explicates the meanings of woman, female, and feminine. Instead of a theory, Beauvoir's book presents a phenomenological description of the sexual difference

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