Simone de Beauvoir, fully Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir

Simone de
Beauvoir, fully Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir
1908
1986

French Writer, Public Intellectual, Political Activist, Feminist Theorist, Social Theorist and Existential Philosopher

Author Quotes

There is no such thing as a natural death: nothing that happens to a man is ever natural, since his presence calls the world into question. All men must die: but for every man his death is an accident and, even if he knows it and consents to it, an unjustifiable violation.

To emancipate woman is to refuse to confine her to the relations she bears to man, not to deny them to her; let her have her independent existence and she will continue none the less to exist to him also; mutually recognizing each other as subject, each will yet remain for the other another.

What did today's sacrifices matter: the Universe lay ahead in the future. What did burnings at the stake and massacres matter? The Universe was somewhere else, always somewhere else! And it isn't anywhere: there are only men, men eternally divided.

You're unique like all other women.

There is not a single line in this diary that does not call for a correction or a denial...Yes: throughout these pages I meant what I was writing and I meant the opposite; reading them again I feel completely lost...I was lying to myself. How I lied to myself!

To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.

What has value in their eyes is never what is done for them; it's what they do for themselves.

Youth and what the Italians so prettily call stamina. The vigor, the fire that enables you to love and create. When you've lost that, you've lost everything.

The misfortune is that although everyone must come to [death], each experiences the adventure in solitude. We never left Maman during those last days... and yet we were profoundly separated from her.

There is only one good. And that is to act according to the dictates of one's conscience.

To make oneself an object, to make oneself passive, is a very different thing from being a passive object.

What is certain is that now it is very difficult for women to take at once their status as autonomous individual and her female destiny, is the source of the awkwardness and discomfort that sometimes presented as a lost sex. And it is certainly more convenient to suffer the blind slavery to work for liberation: the dead are also better adapted to the living earth.

The past is not a peaceful landscape lying there behind me, a country in which I can stroll wherever I please, and will gradually show me all its secret hills and dales. As I was moving forward, so it was crumbling. Most of the wreckage that can be seen is colorless, distorted, frozen: its meaning escapes me... all that's left is a skeleton. I shall never find my plans again, my hopes and fears - I shall not find myself.

There is only one solution if old age is not to be an absurd parody of our former life, and that is to go on pursuing ends that give our existence a meaning.

To protest in the name of morality against 'excesses' or 'abuses' is an error which hints on active complicity. There are no 'abuses' or 'excesses' here, simply an all-pervasive system.

What should a society be, so that in his last years a man might still be a man?

The people of former times... they're dead that's the only thing they have over the living but in their own day they were just as sickening. Picturesqueness: I don't fall for that not for one minute. Stinking filthy dirty washing cabbage-stalks what a pretentious fool you have to be to go into such ecstasies over that! And it's the same thing everywhere all the time whether they're stuffing themselves with chips paella or pizza it's the same crew a filthy crew the rich who trample over you the poor who hate you for your money the old who dodder the young who sneer the men who show off the women who open their legs. I'd rather stay at home reading a thriller although they've become so dreary nowadays. The telly too what a clapped-out set of fools! I was made for another planet altogether I mistook the way.

There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless.

To show your true ability is always, in a sense, to surpass the limits of your ability, to go a little beyond them: to dare, to seek, to invent; it is at such a moment that new talents are revealed, discovered, and realized.

What would Prince Charming have for occupation if he had not to awaken the Sleeping Beauty?

The point is not for women simply to take power out of men’s hands, since that wouldn’t change anything about the world. It’s a question precisely of destroying that notion of power.

There was once a man who lost his shadow. I forget what happened to him, but it was dreadful. As for me, I've lost my own image. I did not look at it often; but it was there, in the background, just as Maurice had drawn it for me. A straightforward, genuine, authentic woman, without mean-mindedness, uncompromising, but at the same time understanding, indulgent, sensitive, deeply feeling, intensely aware of things and of people, passionately devoted to those she loved and creating happiness for them. A fine life, serene, full, harmonious. It is dark: I cannot see myself anymore. And what do the others see? Maybe something hideous.

To will freedom and to will to disclose being are one and the same choice; hence, freedom takes a positive and constructive step which causes being to pass to existence in a movement which is constantly surpassed.

When an individual (or a group of individuals) is kept in a situation of inferiority, the fact is that he is inferior. But the significance of the verb to be must be rightly understood here; it is in bad faith to give it a static value when it really has the dynamic Hegelian sense of "to have become." Yes, women on the whole are today inferior to men; that is, their situation affords them fewer possibilities. The question is: should that state of affairs continue?

The proletariat could plan to massacre the whole ruling class; a fanatic Jew or black could dream of seizing the secret of the atomic bomb and turning all of humanity entirely Jewish or entirely black: but a woman could not even dream of exterminating males. The tie that binds her to her oppressors is unlike any other. The division of the sexes is a biological given, not a moment in human history. Their opposition took shape within an original Mitsein, and she has not broken it. The couple is a fundamental unit with the two halves riveted to each other: terristic of woman: she is the Other at the heart of a whole whose two components are necessary to each other.

Author Picture
First Name
Simone de
Last Name
Beauvoir, fully Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir
Birth Date
1908
Death Date
1986
Bio

French Writer, Public Intellectual, Political Activist, Feminist Theorist, Social Theorist and Existential Philosopher