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 Post subject: ATLA Question #26 - Legacy to Women
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:42 am 
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Let’s discuss Simone in relation to the women’s movement and her impact on or the legacy she has left to women.



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #26 - Legacy to Women
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:37 pm 
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Liz wrote:
Let’s discuss Simone in relation to the women’s movement and her impact on or the legacy she has left to women.


I am probably not the most qualified to answer this question since I have not read the Second Sex or any of Simone's biographical work, and I have kind of a knee jerk reaction to the "women's movement" where the choice to embrace old fashioned roles is sometimes seen only as a bad choice. :blush:

From what I saw of Simnone as a feminist in ATALA and from the tidbits and discussions here, I would say she proved by her education and her writing that women can be the intellectual equals of men. She gained the trappings of "success" - money, fame, travel, the things by which one would normally measure a man's success. That was unusual for her time, and I am sure it cracked open the door of opportunity for women in general.

On a personal level, she seemed to want to prove that a woman could be the same way men are perceived - free to have many partners, not needing a marriage certificate or a monogamous relationship to be whole. In some ways she succeeded - but in many ways I think she failed to live what she preached. She wasn't able to quell her jealousy, she used flirtatiousness and all the "old womanly wiles" to try to manipulate her partners.

I think she missed the point that men and women can be equal but they will always be different, and I think she may have been a little confused about what freedom truly means.

I look forward to reading what the more knowledgeable Noodlemantras have to say.


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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #26 - Legacy to Women
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:46 pm 
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Good answer, nebraska! :cool: And thanks for starting us off.

We found Simone's intro to The Second Sex online which might be helpful for those who have not read the book. I have only skimmed the book myself. So I would be answering this question on a gut level, based on my other readings about her or by her.





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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #26 - Legacy to Women
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:41 pm 
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Liz wrote:
Good answer, nebraska! :cool: And thanks for starting us off.

We found Simone's intro to The Second Sex online which might be helpful for those who have not read the book. I have only skimmed the book myself. So I would be answering this question on a gut level, based on my other readings about her or by her.




Thanks for finding that, Liz. Typical Simone, lots and lots and lots of words. :omg: I almost am afraid to say I think I followed what she was saying. Wonderful theory, not sure how she went on to relate it to reality. She wrote an entire book like this, did she?


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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #26 - Legacy to Women
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:40 pm 
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Short and quick answer, maybe more when I've had some time to think. I remember the Second Sex having a major effect. I started reading it several years out of college at a point where I was devoting a lot of time to self-exploration. It was the mid 1970s. I lived in NYC and was intent on becoming a writer, and believed intensely in the value of deeply plumbing the self for insight and material. I still have my journals from that period and when I look back, there are many sections devoting to exploring my sense of self as a product of a male-organized society. I remember lots of stuff trying to tease out why I'd turned my back on female models and gone after what I viewed as strong, independent and more creatively alive models -- every single one of them a man. It was a shock: I hadn't realized how much I'd accepted certain things as a 'given' without ever questioning them. I truly had no sense of 'woman' that wasn't passive, wasn't 'less than' right smack in the center of my heart, my soul -- and so I had abandoned the female, walked away and become a woman who looked to men for advice on exercising my creative juices, my power for g*d's sake. So I started writing about it, still write about it -- kind of a major theme: how internalizing a negative stereotype changes who you allow yourself to be. In addition to de Beauvoir the other female writer I remember from the period in terms of internal stuff was Anis Nin.



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #26 - Legacy to Women
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:27 pm 
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nebraska wrote:
Thanks for finding that, Liz. Typical Simone, lots and lots and lots of words. :omg: I almost am afraid to say I think I followed what she was saying. Wonderful theory, not sure how she went on to relate it to reality. She wrote an entire book like this, did she?


Brings to mind Algren saying “Will she ever quit talking? Yes, Nebraska she did write an entire book exactly like that article. I have it and truly tried to read it. At the half waypoint I said to myself, this is not worth it and just skimmed the topics to see if anything changed in the 2nd half.

Nebraska said in her first post
Quote:
I have kind of a knee jerk reaction to the "women's movement" where the choice to embrace old-fashioned roles is sometimes seen only as a bad choice.
I spent my life in the work force so I can truly say I saw the woman’s movement from the opposite prospective and having butt my head on that glass ceiling for years, I thought they had a point. I never thought old fashion roles were a bad choice, the point was to have a choice. I am not saying this to debate the movement but to point out that with my feelings I should think Simone a great forerunner for the movement.

Here are a couple quotes from Second Sex.

As an existentialist, Simone believed that existence precedes essence; hence one is not born a woman, but becomes one. Beauvoir asserted that women are as capable of choice as men, and thus can choose to elevate themselves, moving beyond the 'immanence' to which they were previously resigned and reaching 'transcendence', a position in which one takes responsibility for oneself and the world, where one chooses one's freedom.
I agree with her that both sexes are equal but after that she looses me with all the women aren’t born but made etc. I don’t think we should have to prove ourselves in the world to be equal. We just are. She is almost saying that if you don’t succeed in a mans world you are not equal.

I guess if someone is responsible for getting the subject out to be discussed she should get credit. Her book was a shocker and she received a lot of flack over it so I give her credit for standing up for women but I think she was more a platform for others to step up and move forward.



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #26 - Legacy to Women
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:38 pm 
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Fireflydances said
and so I had abandoned the female, walked away and become a woman who looked to men for advice on exercising my creative juices, my power for g*d's sake. I think this is a normal reaction. Most women breaking into men’s fields have to look to men as their peers. I think it is better today as many women are into fields originally dominated by men. For years I felt like I only worked with men. I was a supervisor in a factory when women were just breaking into management. I don’t think in my age group that was unusual but its much better now. Besides if we are equal, what does it matter which sex we look to for advice or friendship?
This is one point I find myself in agreement with Simone. For work her friends were men because they were in her field.



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #26 - Legacy to Women
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:14 pm 
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Gemini:
Quote:
Besides if we are equal, what does it matter which sex we look to for advice or friendship?


It wasn't really contemporaries that I was referring to, it was this inborn sense that my heart looked for male models in terms of how to be a writer. A very internal thing. I literally worshipped Hemingway, Fitzgerald etc. My creative energies were male energies. The "male" was the norm, the "female" was almost dismissed. Anyway, reading de Beauvoir made conscious what I had been doing without thought. I began to examine what my sense of 'woman' was, what images, what dreams and then also, why didn't I value these 'mythical beings', why did I turn away from them. All of took me lots of places in my writing, so I am not sorry for any of it -- it was just a small light that went on.



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #26 - Legacy to Women
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:58 pm 
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As a card carrying member of the Women's Liberation Front in the 1970's and the proud owner of the first issue of Ms. Magaznine :biggrin: I do believe Simone's book was an important catalyst for the women's movement. Was she the last word? No. Did she open a front in the dialogue? You bet. Was I disappinted in her when I read about her life? Yes.

Any "new" philosopy and cultural change is going to evolve over time but, as I recall, her book was an important step in getting the dialogue started. My feeling about the movement back in the day was the point was about having opportunity and the freedom to choose. It didn't mean you had to become the CEO, supervisor, even hava a job, much less "bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan". It meant you should be able to command the respect of an employer and a peer in the work force if you chose to go there. It also meant that being a "housewife" was an equal and important choice. Things evolved over time and the debate started over which choice was more worthy, the answer is neither. But what is important is that the choice was available. Is there still a glass ceiling? Yes. Are more women breaking throught it? Yes. What makes me feel like there has been progress is young women now don't really see that choosing a professional career is a big deal, they aren't told that they should only aspire to be good wives and mothers. To them that is a no brainer and that is a big and positive change from when I was growing up. :soapbox:

Sorry, I yield the floor...
:blush:



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #26 - Legacy to Women
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:05 pm 
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Dithot. Moderators have opinions too so you don’t have to yield the floor. You made some great points. :cool:

Fireflydances said
I hadn't realized how much I'd accepted certain things as a 'given' without ever questioning them. I truly had no sense of 'woman' that wasn't passive, wasn't 'less than' right smack in the center of my heart, my soul -- and so I had abandoned the female, walked away and become a woman who looked to men for advice on exercising my creative juices, my power for g*d's sake.
Dithot said
young women now don't really see that choosing a professional career is a big deal, they aren't told that they should only aspire to be good wives and mothers. To them that is a no brainer and that is a big and positive change from when I was growing up.
Some of the reason I didn’t find myself needing to read to justfy a womans place in the world is because I was raised by a true womans libber. I took equality for granted and didn’t understand we didn’t have it until I went to work. A little like todays woman who choose working or staying at home as a normal right and aren’t so aware that it was not always that way. A couple relatives who have not seen us in years were commenting on how independent my mother was years ago. To me that was normal, to them (and they are my age) she was way ahead of her time. She is a few years younger than Simone so I guess she was.
Now a little food for thought. I just heard on a talk show that the US ranking for percentage of women in government ranks 90th.
:yikes:


Last edited by gemini on Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:47 am, edited 1 time in total.


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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #26 - Legacy to Women
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:26 pm 
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gemini, what a great legacy your mother left. :cool: Occasionally you hear family stories from different people about those special women who were considered independent, just shows how much of a cultural stand out they were.

Quote:
Now a little food for thought. I just heard on a talk show that the US ranking for percentage of women in government ranks 90th.


:rolleyes:



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #26 - Legacy to Women
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:12 am 
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Funny how I never looked to men as something to aspire to. More likely than not, I have looked down on them (except for maybe one in particular :grin: and a few other off-center ones). I think it’s because they are not typical men. And there lies the attraction. But I know that is not what this is about. It’s about her legacy to women.

She certainly opened up the dialogue and paved the way for the rest of us. And at the time, WHAT AN EXAMPLE! Even though we have since found out that she was not quite the women’s libber that we thought in terms of her actions & feelings, it doesn’t matter. The damage (or more like repair) had already been done. It’s all water under the bridge, as it were. Even if she was a sham, HA, too late. We’ve gone too far to regress.

I think that she was a major factor in the development of the women’s lib movement, and if for no other reason, I salute her for that.

And I also salute your mom, gemini.



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #26 - Legacy to Women
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:43 pm 
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As some of you know I am still reading the last couple books about Simone and Sartre. I ran across a rather long footnote in Bairs bio of Simone that sort of fits here. It contains a couple quotes of Simone’s on her relationship to Sartre and Second Sex. Right from the horses mouth so to speak.

Quote:
As in so many other instances where Sartre was concerned, whether in life, art, or philosophy, Simone was willing to entertain discussion of her actions up to a point. Beyond that, foreseeing a discussion which would bring her actions, wiring or theories, into question, or as she especially feared in the last ten or so years of her life- into rigorous scrutiny by women who viewed them in the light of feminist scholarship and attitudes positing acceptable behavior for women, she stopped cold. Her questioners often found themselves on the other side of a glass wall, urging her to move beyond her often incomplete rationale by seeing through, but remained adamant until the day she died, and like Flaubert describing Salammbo become furious should anyone suggest that her pedestal night be too big for his stature. If her answers and actions disappointed others, she had a simple light abrasive answer for them: “Well, I just don’t give a damn. It’s my life and I lived it the way I wanted. I’m sorry to disappoint all the feminists, but you can say that it's too bad so many of them live only in theory instead of in real life. It’s very messy in the real world, and maybe they should learn that.”



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #26 - Legacy to Women
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:54 pm 
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Gemini: I do love that last quote from her. Hysterical!! Oh Simone, Simone.

:rolleyes:



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #26 - Legacy to Women
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 3:51 pm 
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That'll about do it. :grin:

Perfect quote!



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