The Sisyphean Torture of Housework: Simone de Beauvoir and Inequitable Divisions of Domestic Work in Marriage

Hypatia 19 (3):121-143 (2004)

Abstract

This paper examines Simone de Beauvoir's account of marriage in The Second Sex and argues that Beauvoir's dichotomy between transcendence and immanence can provide an illuminating critique of continuing gender inequities in marriage and divisions of domestic work. Beauvoir's existentialist ethics not only establishes a moral wrong in marriages in which wives perform the second shift of household labor but also supports the need to transform existing normative expectations surrounding wives and domestic work.

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Andrea Veltman
James Madison University