For a long time, man has fought to achieve liberty and equality in order to make choices for himself. The woman, however has stood by his side during this struggle has never been allowed to share this liberty and equality. The woman has endured hardship, victimization and slavery at the hands of man.
In the ancient Hebrew tradition, a woman who was having periods or had given birth was excluded from the sanctuary for forty days, whereas if she gave birth to a girl, she had to stay away for eighty days. In Rome, a new born child would be placed at its father’s feet for acceptance. If the father takes the child by his hands and blessed it, it is a sign of life and good care, however, if the woman brought too many girls, the father would turn away and the unwelcome girl would be condemned and killed.
The world’s civilization has been slowed down by unfairness to women. Despite the many efforts being put up by legislation on women empowerment, a woman’s freedom has not been effectively articulated into the social and political development pattern. It is therefore the view of the writer that: A woman has been shortchanged in the plight for her freedom.
Oppression against Women
At the time Second Sex was written by Beauvoir Simone, it was evident that not much of philosophical work had been done on women. This is from a feminist point of view. Continuous mistreatment and oppressions of women in the society was almost unheard of. The main theme of this literary work is about the idea that women have persevered long-term oppression relationship through her relegation to being a man’s other half. In her introduction, Beauvoir explains that a woman is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. Men have therefore been privileged with expressing their intellect through project, whereas women have reclined into life of repetition and no creativity.
Women should be allowed to transcend through their own project if a holistic empowerment initiative is to be successful. They should be subjected to all the risks, danger and uncertainty that are involved in these projects so as to strengthen and become at par with men. According to Beauvoir, a modern woman thinks for herself, takes action and works on the same scale as men. A modern woman should be able to initiate her own projects and pursue their ambitions on the same scale that their male counterpart would. This will enhance freedom of women and therefore independence. Beauvoir advocates for changes in social structures like equal education, employment opportunities, contraception and legal abortion for women. In order to achieve this kind of independence for women, women must be able to benefit from non-exploitative and non-alienating labor.
Women need to access same kinds of treatment and activities as men. Laws, traditions and education systems must be altered to allow equal treatment of women and men. The Second Sex, maintains a fundamental existentialism that each individual regardless of sex, age or class should be encouraged to actualize them and take on the responsibility that come with personal freedom. The implication attributed to this sentiment is that women have not been given complete liberty to actualize themselves.
In conclusion, it is apparent that unless women are allowed to participate actively in activities that are traditionally designated for men, then their plight for freedom has not been addressed.