Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Feminist Writings

Feminist Writings

Margaret A. Simons
Marybeth Timmermann
Foreword by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 328
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/j.ctt13x1ktn
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Feminist Writings
    Book Description:

    By turns surprising and revelatory, this sixth volume in the Beauvoir Series presents newly discovered writings and lectures while providing new translations and contexts for Simone de Beauvoir's more familiar writings. Spanning Beauvoir's career from the 1940s through 1986, the pieces explain the paradoxes in her political and feminist stances, including her famous 1972 announcement of a "conversion to feminism" after decades of activism on behalf of women. Feminist Writings documents and contextualizes Beauvoir's thinking, writing, public statements, and activities in the services of causes like French divorce law reform and the rights of women in the Iranian Revolution. In addition, the volume provides new insights into Beauvoir's complex thinking and illuminates her historic role in linking the movements for sexual freedom, sexual equality, homosexual rights, and women's rights in France.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09717-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Foreword to the Beauvoir Series
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir

    It is my pleasure to take this opportunity to honor the monumental work of research and publication that the Beauvoir Series represents, which was undertaken and brought to fruition by Margaret A. Simons and the ensemble of her team. These volumes of Simone de Beauvoir’s writings, concerning literature as well as philosophy and feminism, stretch from 1926 to 1986, that is to say throughout almost her entire life. Some of them have been published before, and are known, but remain dispersed throughout time and space, in diverse editions, diverse newspapers, or reviews. Others were read during conferences or radio programs...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-16)
    Margaret A. Simons

    How many surprises could there be in a volume of feminist writings by Simone de Beauvoir, one of the best-known feminists of the twentieth century? The answer is, surprisingly many, from recently discovered feminist texts from the era ofThe Second Sex(1949) and a new translation of a famous interview announcing Beauvoir’s 1972 “conversion to feminism” to texts pointing to Beauvoir’s historic role linking the movements for sexual freedom and sexual equality, homosexual rights, and women’s rights in France.

    The recently discovered texts from 1947 that open this volume were written during Beauvoir’s four-month lecture tour of the States...

  6. 1. French Women Writers

    • INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 19-23)
      Elizabeth Fallaize

      “Problèmes de la littérature féminine” (Problems for women’s literature) and “Femmes de lettres” (Women of letters) constitute the two halves of a substantial article on French women writers that Beauvoir wrote and published during her lecture tour of America, in the spring of 1947. The article, which has come to light only in the course of the preparation of this volume, throws light on Beauvoir’s thinking on the subject of women writers at an early stage of her work onLe deuxième sexe. Like the analyses ofLe deuxième sexe, and those of the lecture on women and creativity, which...

    • PROBLEMS FOR WOMEN’S LITERATURE
      (pp. 24-29)

      Critiquing a novel written by a woman, Thierry Maulnier¹ one day remarked that literature by women has put the problem of happiness in the foreground of its concerns. As a matter of fact, in their works as well as in their lives, women have long been particularly interested in the construction of their own existence and have usually sought to tell the story of individual successes or failures. It is easy to understand the reason for this.

      For centuries it has been men and men alone who have fashioned the world in which we live. That is to say that...

    • WOMEN OF LETTERS
      (pp. 30-34)
      VÉRONIQUE ZAYTZEFF

      Perhaps because women neither yet dare to tackle head on the great problems facing the world, nor to look very deeply inside themselves, their literature partly remains an escapist literature. One knows that, much more than men, they have always sought to create in imagination or to re-create by recollection a domain that is true to their yearnings. They have, in particular, readily looked for refuge in their childhood memories, in nature, or in dreams of love. Today we still find these themes in most of the novels written by women. Nevertheless, they are now handled in a totally different...

  7. 2. Femininity:: The Trap

    • INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 37-41)
      Nancy Bauer

      In January of 1947, Simone de Beauvoir flew from Paris to New York to begin her first tour of the United States. It was to be a momentous four months. Under the auspices of the French government, Beauvoir gave two dozen lectures at colleges and universities across the country on the topic “the ethical problems of the post-war writer.” Her friendship with the novelist Richard Wright and his wife, Ellen, who took her under their wing during her whirlwind first weeks in New York, sensitized her to the pervasiveness of racism that she would witness in America, which she chronicled...

    • FEMININITY: THE TRAP
      (pp. 42-48)
      Simone de Beauvoir and MARYBETH TIMMERMANN

      The French have never been feminists. Of course, they’ve always loved women, but in the manner of Mediterranean peoples, which is the way ogres love little children—for their personal consumption. In the middle ages, the law denied French women the possession of land and separated them from the political scene. Later, the civil code denied them the same rights as men. It is also known with what stubbornness aging senators have consistently turned a deaf ear when the feminists claimed the vote and full rights of citizenship. Since the war of 1914–18, the situation has changed somewhat. Lack...

  8. 3. A Review of The Elementary Structures of Kinship by Claude Lévi-Strauss

    • INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 51-57)
      Shannon M. Mussett

      In January 1929, Simone de Beauvoir did her practice teaching in philosophy at the Lycée Janson de Sailly with Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Claude Lévi-Strauss. InMemoirs of a Dutiful Daughtershe writes of the latter that his “impassivity rather intimidated me, but he used to turn it to good advantage. I thought it very funny when, in his detached voice, and with a dead-pan face, he expounded to our audience the folly of the passions.”¹ Despite his dispassionate affect, Beauvoir clearly maintained a high level of respect for her intellectual colleague throughout her life. In fact, almost twenty years after...

    • A REVIEW OF THE ELEMENTARY STRUCTURES OF KINSHIP BY CLAUDE LÉVI-STRAUSS
      (pp. 58-66)

      French sociology has been dormant for a long time. Lévi-Strauss’s book must be greeted as an event heralding a spectacular awakening. The efforts of the Durkheim school to organize social facts in an intelligible manner proved to be disappointing since they relied on questionable metaphysical hypotheses and on equally doubtful historical postulates.¹ In reaction, the American school tried to abstain from any speculations; it confined its work to collecting facts without elucidating their apparent absurdity. Heir to the French tradition, but trained in American methods, Lévi-Strauss sought to resume his masters’ attempts while guarding against their flaws. He too assumes...

  9. 4. Short Feminist Texts from the Fifties and Sixties

    • INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 69-75)
      Karen Vintges

      Beauvoir’s short feminist texts from the 1950s and 1960s follow up on the main themes of her studyThe Second Sex, which was published in 1949. In this voluminous work, Beauvoir had already outlined all the major issues of the second feminist wave of the late sixties and early seventies, namely the issues of economic autonomy for women, women’s control over their own bodies, and the liberation of female sexuality. Two decades after its publication,The Second Sexwas “discovered” by second-wave feminists. However, Betty Friedan’sFeminine Mystique(1963), which is generally seen as the book that set in motion...

    • IT’S ABOUT TIME WOMEN PUT A NEW FACE ON LOVE
      (pp. 76-80)
      Simone de Beauvoir and MARYBETH TIMMERMANN

      It’s about time women put a new face on love. They are becoming both independent and responsible, active builders of the world. But this metamorphosis still causes dismay. A thousand prophets mutter that they will drag love to its ruin, and with it all poetry, illusion, and happiness. Until now our civilization has never known a love that was not founded on inequality. Women capable of genuine passion kneel worshipfully before their master, sovereign, god. This idea is so deeply rooted in men’s hearts that if a woman does not lie prostrate at their feet, they fear that they may...

    • PREFACE TO FAMILY PLANNING
      (pp. 81-83)
      Simone de Beauvoir

      The idea of “family planning” has only hesitantly begun to make its way into France, even though it is common practice in four-fifths of the world. Dr. Lagroua Weill-Hallé’s book shows the benefits gained by the countries that put it into practice, and by contrast, brings attention to the outrageously backward legislation to which French families are subjected.¹

      The figures are enough to prove that “Planning” does not mean Malthusianism. It is not a matter of restricting the increase in population, but of bringing it into balance, reconciling the interests of Society with those of families and individuals. At a...

    • PREFACE TO THE GREAT FEAR OF LOVING
      (pp. 84-87)
      Simone de Beauvoir

      “How do other women do it?” This heart-wrenching leitmotiv is repeated all throughout the collection of testimonies given to us today by the honorable Dr. Weill-Hallé. The exhausted, harassed, frightened, and hounded women who come to ask her for help believe themselves to be the victims of some singular and obscure malediction. To them their despair seems too absolute to not be abnormal. Each one imagines that surely other women know of ways to escape the traps into which they have fallen and the insidious danger that incubates in their blood. But alas, this is far from true. Dr. Weill-Hallé...

    • THE CONDITION OF WOMEN
      (pp. 88-96)
      Simone de Beauvoir

      The conclusion that strikes the reader at the end of this study is that in France, things are not going well for women.¹ They are not going well for adolescents either, or the elderly, or children, or male adults. The country is sick and all its members bear witness to this infirmity. It is impossible to heal any of them by amending the law, however considerably [par des amendements importants]; the entire body must be treated. Because the structures of our society have not budged, the condition of women has not improved since 1919 and, as Andrée Michel has clearly...

    • PREFACE TO THE SEXUALLY RESPONSIVE WOMAN
      (pp. 97-98)
      Simone de Beauvoir and MARYBETH TIMMERMANN

      The Doctors Kronhausen have written a forthright, courageous, and highly rigorous study on the difficult problem of women’s sexuality, about which so little is known. They have gone further and called into question even that which has hitherto been regarded as an unalterable fact of Nature: women’s “physiological destiny.” In this realm as in so many others, male prejudice insists on keeping women in a state of dependency. In contrast to this, the authors grant women an autonomy—both physiological and psychological—equal to that of men.

      I am not qualified to pass definite judgment on all the findings and...

    • WHAT LOVE IS—AND ISN’T
      (pp. 99-102)
      Simone de Beauvoir and MARYBETH TIMMERMANN

      Why do you fall in love? Nothing is more simple. You fall in love because you are young, because you are growing old, because youareold; because spring is fading, because autumn is beginning; from excess energy, from fatigue; from gaiety, from boredom; because someone loves you, because he does not love you. . . . I find too many answers: perhaps the question is not so simple, after all.

      The experience of love is so universal that it seems to have no mystery. Everywhere, at every hour, even at this very moment, thousands of men and women are...

    • LOVE AND POLITICS
      (pp. 103-106)
      Simone de Beauvoir

      I think that Lise London cannot be understood if one also does not understand what communism is and what having an absolutely unconditional faith in communism is.¹ Lise London is a heroic woman. She is the one who, during the Occupation, got up on the counter in a store at the corner of the rue Daguerre and the avenue de la Porte-d’Orléans, and launched an appeal to all the women of France, telling them that they must resist and help their husbands to resist in every possible manner. Incidentally, it was an organized demonstration: they sang “la Marseillaise,” and there...

  10. 5. Brigitte Bardot and the Lolita Syndrome

    • INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 109-113)
      Elizabeth Fallaize

      Brigitte Bardot seems at first sight an odd choice of subject for the author ofLe deuxième sexe.¹ Yet Beauvoir had displayed an enthusiasm for film throughout her life; references to films and to film actresses abound in the memoirs, and inLe deuxième sexeactresses often serve as examples in Beauvoir’s consideration of female narcissism and of mythical ideals of female beauty. In the late 1950s and the 1960s Beauvoir was far from the only intellectual, or even the only female intellectual to interest herself in Bardot: Marguerite Duras had published an article on Bardot the previous year, in...

    • BRIGITTE BARDOT AND THE LOLITA SYNDROME
      (pp. 114-126)
      Simone de Beauvoir

      On New Year’s Eve, Brigitte Bardot appeared on French television. She was got up as usual—blue jeans, sweater, and shock of tousled hair. Lounging on a sofa, she plucked at a guitar. “That’s not hard,” said a woman.¹ “I could do just as well. She’s not even pretty. She has the face of a housemaid.” The men couldn’t keep from devouring her with their eyes, but they too snickered. Only two or three of us, among thirty or so spectators, thought her charming. Then she did an excellent classical dance number. “Shecandance,” the others admitted grudgingly. Once...

  11. 6. The Situation of Women Today

    • INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 129-131)
      Debra B. Bergoffen

      In 1966, when Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre visited Japan at the invitation of the University of Keio and their Japanese editor Mr. Watanabe, their books had been translated, were well known and highly regarded. Though Beauvoir and Sartre knew this, neither realized how powerfully their work resonated with the Japanese. They were unprepared for the more than one hundred journalists and crowds of mostly young people waiting to greet them when they arrived. The existential difference between East and West was not, it seemed, as great as the geographic distance.

      However impressed she may have been by this...

    • THE SITUATION OF WOMEN TODAY
      (pp. 132-146)

      I am going to speak to you about the condition of women today: that does not mean that I am addressing only half of this gathering for I consider this to be a problem which concerns men as much as it does women. I will speak to you particularly about the condition of French women, because I know it best, but I believe that what I will say to you applies to your country just as much as mine, for the problems of women in France and in Japan are very similar. In fact, in both countries just after the...

  12. 7. Women and Creativity

    • INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 149-154)
      Ursula Tidd

      “Women and Creativity” is an important text in Simone de Beauvoir’s corpus of nonfictional writing. It develops her arguments on gender and creativity first expounded in the second volume ofThe Second Sexand offers an oblique reflection on her own experience and “situation” as France’s most well-known woman intellectual and writer in the mid-1960s. Beauvoir delivered her lecture on “Women and Creativity” on September 22, 1966, the second in a series of three lectures she gave during a visit to Japan with Jean-Paul Sartre.¹ The same title, “Women and Creativity,” was used as the generic title to her lecture...

    • WOMEN AND CREATIVITY
      (pp. 155-170)
      Simone de Beauvoir

      I am going to speak to you today about the condition of women again, because it seems to me that this is just as burning an issue in Japan as it is in France. I am going to consider it from a particular angle. The question that I would like to examine is this: All throughout the history of humanity, it is clear that women’s achievements [réalisations] in every domain—political, artistic, philosophic, etc.—have been considerably inferior in number and quality to those of men.¹ Why? Could there be, as some antifeminists claim, an inferiority in women’s nature that...

  13. 8. Foreword to History:: A Novel

    • INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 173-175)
      Margaret A. Simons

      In her 2011 introduction to Beauvoir’s foreword to the 1977 American edition of Elsa Morante’s History:A Novelreprinted in our 2011 volume of Beauvoir’s literary writings, Eleanore Holveck criticizes Beauvoir for failing to appreciate Morante’s achievement in “one of the finest novels to come out of World War II.”¹ Holveck provides helpful background: Morante (1912–85),² she explains, “was born in Rome to a poor Sicilian father, a clerk, and a Jewish mother who taught school. Beauvoir and Sartre traveled to Rome every year after World War II and usually saw Morante and novelist Alberto Moravia (1907–90), her...

    • FOREWORD TO HISTORY: A NOVEL
      (pp. 176-178)

      Historyis the title of the latest novel by Elsa Morante.¹ However, don’t expect to find in these pages epic or tragic tales of the dramas that have shaken the world from antiquity to modern times. In Elsa Morante’s eyes, History is not the great collective events told in newspapers, recorded in books, and scrupulously summarized by her at the beginning of each chapter. Rather, it is the obscure repercussion of these events in the hearts and bodies of the individuals who experience them, usually without even understanding them. There are a small number of specialists, such as intellectuals and...

  14. 9. The MLF and the Bobigny Affair

    • INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 181-191)
      Sylvie Chaperon

      The following texts, published initially inLe nouvel observateurfor the most part, are able to shed some light on the partnership that unites Simone de Beauvoir with the MLF (French Women’s Liberation Movement). Three generations separate Simone de Beauvoir from the movement’s young activists. Activists such as Claudine Monteil, who was twenty years old and deeply moved when she met the elderly lady of Schoelcher Street, was in her mother’s womb whenThe Second Sexwas published in 1949.¹ Whatever could have brought together these women of the baby boom and of May 1968, these radical feminists breaking away...

    • THE REBELLIOUS WOMAN—AN INTERVIEW BY ALICE SCHWARTZER
      (pp. 192-208)
      MARGARET A. SIMONS and MARYBETH TIMMERMANN

      ALICE SCHWARTZER: To this day, the analysis of the situation of women that you put forth inThe Second Sexremains the most radical. No other author has gone as far, and it can be said that you have inspired the new women’s movements. But it is only now, twenty-three years later, that you have engaged yourself personally in the concrete and collective struggle of women. So last November you participated in the international women’s march in Paris. Why?

      SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR: Because I find that, in the twenty years that have just passed, the situation of women in France...

    • RESPONSE TO SOME WOMEN AND A MAN
      (pp. 209-215)

      Some of the women who, in their letters, claim to be fulfilled by motherhood and keeping house, display such a rude and caustic aggression that it casts doubt over the happy balance of which they boast. Others reproach me more moderately for seeing motherhood as a servitude; but without a doubt, in France today, it is one. I understand that one can choose it deliberately; I am aware of the joy that children can bring when they have been wanted. But for me, who did not wish to have any and who wanted above all to accomplish an oeuvre, I...

    • ABORTION AND THE POOR
      (pp. 216-218)

      Each year in France, a million women have abortions with no punishment.

      In practice, the law against abortion is widely repudiated by public opinion; it is so often disobeyed that the criminal courts choose to avoid it. However, on October 9, 1972, Marie-Claire C . . . went to court at Bobigny for having had an abortion—the juvenile court since she is a minor. Why this measure of exception? Was her “crime” more serious than that of the others?

      Marie-Claire C . . . was fifteen and half when she let a seventeen-year-old acquaintance pull her into his room....

    • BEAUVOIR’S DEPOSITION AT THE BOBIGNY TRIAL
      (pp. 219-222)

      (The witness is sworn in.)

      MS. HALIMI: Ms. de Beauvoir is a character witness. She knows Ms. Chevalier.

      SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR: Ms. Chevalier is a member of the Choisir [To Choose] Association, of which I am president.

      MS. H.: I would like to ask Ms. de Beauvoir why this law is above all a law that oppresses women?

      S. DE B.: The law is set up to oppress women. Women’s oppression is, indeed, one of the trump cards available to society. This situation is extremely advantageous for men for more than one reason: psychologically, it is always nice to have...

    • PREFACE TO ABORTION: A LAW ON TRIAL. THE BOBIGNY AFFAIR
      (pp. 223-228)

      On the exterior, this book resembles many others. It is, however, absolutely unusual. Never before have the proceedings of an abortion trial been brought to the public’s knowledge. The Choisir [To Choose] Association has decided to publish them in their entirety because these proceedings are not like any previous proceedings. It was not Ms. Chevalier who was being judged, but the law in whose name she appeared before the court. Women and men took the witness stand one after the other in order to indict a law which makes France appear as one of the most backward countries of our...

  15. 10. Short Feminist Texts from the Seventies and Eighties

    • INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 231-239)
      Françoise Picq

      In 1949 Simone de Beauvoir was not a feminist activist. She did not believe that feminism had ever been an autonomous movement. Noting inThe Second Sexthat equality between the sexes had been recognized in the United Nations and that many women had finally had “all the privileges of the human being restored to them” she concluded that “the quarrel about feminism” is “now almost over.”¹ But the movement that burst forth in the 1970s reflected her thinking so much that she couldn’t help but be touched by it.

      Searching for their identity, women were seeking to define themselves,...

    • EVERYDAY SEXISM
      (pp. 240-241)

      An individual who calls another a “dirty nigger” in front of witnesses, or who prints insulting remarks about Jews or Arabs can be brought to trial and convicted of “racial slander.” But if a man publicly shouts at a woman, calling her “a whore,” or if in his written work he accusesWomanof treachery, foolishness, fickleness, stupidity, or hysterical behavior, he runs absolutely no risk. The notion of “sexist slander” does not exist. A certain number of women, myself included, have undertaken the creation of a League of Women’s Rights. One of the many goals set forth by this...

    • LEAGUE OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS MANIFESTO
      (pp. 242-245)

      Four years ago, there was a collective resurgence of the women’s movement. Why? In theory, we have rights equal to those of men, thanks to the actions of the first feminists. But what happens in practice?

      We continue to assume exclusive responsibility of children and domestic work. We systematically take on the most thankless jobs and are paid on average 30% less than men. There are seven of us in the National Assembly.¹ Methods that would allow us a choice of when to become pregnant are forbidden to us. Prostitution is flourishing as never before. Parts of our bodies are...

    • PREFACE TO DIVORCE IN FRANCE
      (pp. 246-249)

      For most women, marriage is a trap that society sets for them starting in childhood and into which they blindly fall as soon as adolescence is over. Having no experience with life, men, or themselves, they bind their existence to that of a stranger. Certainly there are some happy unions; many are tolerable. But for many couples who have come together by chance or through misunderstandings, conjugal life is a small hell. In general, the man most easily makes the best of it because he runs away from it; he works, he is independent. Supported by him, stuck in the...

    • INTRODUCTION TO WOMEN INSIST
      (pp. 250-252)

      “Disruption, my sister . . .” This issue [ofLes temps modernes] is presented with disruption in mind. The reader expecting to find here a methodical and complete account of women’s condition will be disappointed. We do not claim to denounce here all the injustices suffered by women, nor to draw up an exhaustive statement of their demands, and even less to propose a revolutionary tactic. We only hope to spark some unrest in people’s minds. The prevailing principle in gathering together these texts was that of freedom. We established no preconceived plan. Some women—a few of whom have...

    • PREFACE TO THROUGH WOMEN’S EYES
      (pp. 253-255)

      When I started to write, many women writers [auteurs féminins] specifically refused to be classified in that category. Critics were happy to review our books in columns entitled “Works by Ladies,” and that irritated us. They wanted to confine us within the narrow limits of a world reserved for our sex: house, home, children, with a few escapes to nature and the cult of Love. We rejected the notion of women’s literature [littérature féminine] because we wanted to speak on an equal plane with men about the entire universe.

      And we still want to. Only the recent evolution of feminism...

    • WHEN ALL THE WOMEN OF THE WORLD . . .
      (pp. 256-257)

      From March 4 through March 8, 1976, the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women will be held in Brussels. It is not by accident that this Tribunal opens just after the close of the laughable “Year of the Woman,” organized by male society for the mystification of women. The feminists gathered in Brussels mean to take their destiny into their own hands. Contrary to what happened in Mexico,¹ they are mandated by neither political parties, nor by nations, nor by any political or economic group. They will express themselves as women. Indeed, whatever the regimes, laws, morality, and social environment...

    • MY POINT OF VIEW: AN OUTRAGEOUS AFFAIR
      (pp. 258-259)

      To the Presiding Judge of the 26th Chamber:

      Having been informed by Marie Bataille of the situation which, after two years of proceedings, will take her before the criminal court, I wish to convey to you my point of view about this affair.

      For a long time I have been an activist for voluntary motherhood. I believe that a woman has the right to choose to have or to not have a child, and in the first case, to choose the father of her child. Therefore I welcomed the recent law on abortion and before that, the 1972 law on...

    • PREFACE TO STORIES FROM THE FRENCH WOMEN’S LIBERATION MOVEMENT
      (pp. 260-264)

      In August, 1970, barely six years ago, a few women demonstrated at the Arc de Triomphe in honor of “the wife of the unknown soldier.” And so for the first time the newspapers mentioned the MLF [Mouvement de libération des femmes or French Women’s Liberation Movement]. This name, similar to the American “Women’s Lib,” was given to the movement by the press, and the militants took it on for themselves. Ever since, the MLF has become very well known, or rather very poorly known, because the image propagated about them is one of hysterical shrews and lesbians. The primary merit...

    • THE URGENCY OF AN ANTI-SEXIST LAW
      (pp. 265-267)

      The Yvelines criminal court has recently acquitted Mr. Leber (see Le monde, January 24),¹ who had fatally beaten his wife and who had left her to slowly die on the kitchen floor all night long.

      What we are calling into question are the sexist motivations that have led to this acquittal. For having broken a few windows, young people are sentenced to years of imprisonment. For having killed his wife, Mr. Leber will receive no penalty on the pretext that this offense falls under the domain of “love” or the conjugal relationship. It is worth questioning a judicial system where...

    • PRESS CONFERENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS
      (pp. 268-269)

      Well! We have created theComité international du droit des femmes[CIDF or International Committee for Women’s Rights] in response to calls from a large number of Iranian women, whose situation and revolt have greatly moved us. We have decided to create this committee with several tasks in mind. The first task: information. It is a matter of becoming informed about the situation of women across the world, a situation which, to a very, very large extent is extremely difficult, painful, and I will even say odious. Therefore, we wish to inform ourselves, in very precise cases, of this situation....

    • FOREWORD TO DECEPTION CHRONICLES: FROM THE WOMEN’S LIBERATION MOVEMENT TO A COMMERCIAL TRADEMARK
      (pp. 270-272)

      In 1971, when I first made contact with the MLF [Mouvement de Libération des Femmes, or French Women’s Liberation Movement] about the manifesto that 343 women signed saying that they had had abortions, I only met a few isolated representatives. Later I learned that they belonged to different groups with diverse tendencies that all coexisted without trying to get organized. The movement questioned any centralized, bureaucratic, or hierarchical militant movements, and therefore had no leader. In order to belong, it was enough to be a woman, aware of the oppression endured by women and eager to combat it. This resulted...

    • WOMEN, ADS, AND HATE
      (pp. 273-276)

      If it weren’t so disturbing, the flood of misogyny set in motion by Ms. Yvette Roudy’s anti-sexist law would warrant peals of laughter.¹ These gentlemen—and ladies—who reproach feminists for lacking a sense of humor are showing that they regrettably lack one themselves. With much pomp they call on their sense of responsibility and professional conscience in order to claim the right to cover the walls with images that—in their minds—will best fill their pockets! They are quick to invoke the highest cultural values: according to them, advertisements shower us with beauty, and it would take a...

  16. 11. Preface to Mihloud

    • INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 279-281)
      Lillian S. Robinson and Julien Murphy

      It begins with “love” and ends with “AIDS,” but, in between, Simone de Beauvoir’s last piece of writing, her preface toMihloud, is only a brief summary of the book. By agreeing to place her name on the cover of this memoir, whose author’s name is conspicuously absent, Beauvoir called attention to two related issues that were still considered virtually unmentionable in 1980s France: same-sex relations between men and the disease that was decimating the gay community. (For example, the cause of Michel Foucault’s death in 1984 was initially listed as septicemia and only later revealed as AIDS.) If Beauvoir...

    • PREFACE TO MIHLOUD
      (pp. 282-286)

      Love—can it be strong enough to overcome clashes between civilizations and cultures? This is the question poignantly raised by this fine book written by an anonymous author.

      An abyss separates the two lovers. Alan, the narrator, is a very well off and very cultured American, around fifty years old; he owns an art jewelry shop in Paris and a lovely apartment across the street. Mihloud is a young Moroccan, ignorant and poor, who shares a room in Belleville with his brother and works as a laborer. However, they have some things in common. Not only is Mihloud living far...

  17. Contributors
    (pp. 287-292)
  18. Index
    (pp. 293-312)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 313-314)