The significance of socialism in Simone de Beauvoir’s Le Deuxième Sexe

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Abstract

This article argues that overlooked socialist dimensions of Simone de Beauvoir’s 1949 Le Deuxième Sexe constitute a response to intersectional critiques of the text. While the Anglophone intersectional or diversity critique finds Beauvoir’s analysis in Le Deuxième Sexe to be exclusionary, specifically arguing that Beauvoir’s analysis does not conceive of the experience of women at the site of multiple forms of oppression, this essay contends that these critics overlook key passages in which Beauvoir engages Marx’s work. In these passages, Beauvoir (a) accounts for how class and gender intersect to produce a unique form of degradation for working-class women, (b) argues that women have a limited “class consciousness” and (c) endorses a working-class coalition through which workers come together across gender and racial lines. Ultimately I argue that Beauvoir’s use of Marx in Le Deuxième Sexe challenges analytic frameworks that emphasize identity difference on the basis of gender and race.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-266
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Journal of French Studies
Volume59
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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