‘The Second Sex’ ultimately serves as the most eloquent, sophisticated and detailed synopsis of the patriarchal society and how it oppresses women. As Simone illustrates it is the amalgamation of destiny, history and myth which create “bird cage of oppression”. The reasoning that this oppressive structure has been created is muddled; however, there are three major considerations as to why it has been created: 1) out of necessity, 2) for control, 3) as a means of transcendence.
Control has been the epitome of the patriarchal society. Men have sought to dominate their environment and as part of that there exists women. Arguably women have been the greatest challenge to men’s goal of control. Women have stood in opposition to men even when they are bound by the institutions of men. It is because of this dichotomy between menn and women which have strengthened the resolve of menn and their pursuit of control. As history illustrates men have always sought to place women as the objects of their reality and through doing so men have thought that they could control women like they control the tools they create. However, this has not worked in the favor of men and the rise of feminism bears witness.
This is an interesting read, especially in relation to her fiction as well and the way she represents this. It would be good to also look at this in comparison to the other seminal texts, such as Greer's. – Sarai Mannolini-Winwood1 year ago
I would love to read further on this, but I have to wonder how this will address colonized males and masculinities? Will this article explore Patriarchy as it exists in the current world or will it seek to universalize the experiences with out respect to material conditions? Will it explore the constraints and enforcers of Patriarchy or will it pathologize "men". I think this will be quite interesting but how exactly do you define "men" under patriarchy? – Sunni Ago1 year ago
Gender terminology would need to be defined clearly, as well as the gendered context that Simone's book was arising from (re: what was the understanding of sex and gender in her time in comparison to now?) – alliegardenia1 year ago
I have read "Le Deuxième Sexe" de Simone de Beauvoir (be sure to check the spelling) in French when I was in High School. And, just like all teens, this did not talk to me at all. I had to read it again in graduate school in my critical theory class and it took a complete different meaning. I guess maturity helped ;-) Now, my helpful note on your excellent topic idea: how can we still make De Beauvoir applicable today? Let's look at the US politics today and apply directly the aspect of "male control" over the very hot and touchy topic of "abortion rights" or "healthcare access to/for women". Looking at what males are trying to (re)gain control over what women can do. Since this is an international forum, the article could even be richer by having international scholars contributing from their own country and examine the rights of women linked under male control (the list of countries that come to mind is too long). This is very promising and am looking forward to read the final product. Good luck with it. – luc9921 year ago
This may or may not be helpful but I was not introduced to Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex until I played Nier: Automata. I only bring this up to say that I suspect the majority of Beauvoir's work has permeated into much of our culture now because most of these issues still pervade our society today, though they might manifest differently now. In the game, your main protagonists face off against a boss machine called "Simone" or "Beauvoir" in the Japanese version. You learn she was once a small, stubby machine who was in love, borderline obsessed, with another machine lifeform named "Jean-Paul" after Jean-Paul Sartre. Simone was jealous of his other mistresses and began cannibalizing other machine lifeforms, using them to grow bigger and using their bodies as adornments for her own body. Her incessant search for beauty led to her tragic downfall. She associated her self-worth with an apathetic machine until she lost sight of herself completely and dies at the hands of the player. Although deeply exaggerated, her story becomes incredibly devasting for the player and perhaps somewhat relatable. The story is set tens of thousands of years into the future long past the extinction of humans, yet we still see androids and machines replicating human behaviors such as sexism, apathy, self-degradation, and toxic behaviors with love among others. While this may not be entirely applicable to Beauvoir's work, this could be one avenue to connect the pitfalls of the patriarchy to modern-day society. This game predicts that even long after we are gone, these issues might still persist after us. – iresendiz1 year ago
I am no sport fan, but I do like watching a good half time show. Yet Sunday’s game had the female dancers and singers do a lot of sexual suggestive dancing. While I under stand that is the type of dance people do today, I could not help but wonder does this go against feminism? (The fact that the girls are half naked, and are to dance in a way that flaunts their bodies to charge the male audience) Or is it empowering? (Allowing the women to dresss whatever they want to wear and do whatever they want to do.) What do you think?
I think what was empowering was that two women were working together as Latinas. Media portrayals tend to be stereotypical of Latin women which are very offensive. Also female singers are often portrayed as divas who can't play nice with each other. I found it refreshing and loved it!
– Munjeera4 years ago
The Super Bowl is tricky because any attempts it makes to empower women also have to take into account the fact that its primary audience is chiefly male, and plan accordingly. At the end of the day, scantily-clad women sell, and at least these women are star performers whose talents people can appreciate and admire. – Debs4 years ago
The Superbowl doesn't care about feminism - it is merely a tool, a front, used to appeal to the audience. Popular culture has distorted the meaning of feminism to a point where blatantly sexual content is labelled as "empowering" while it is still used to generate wealth for powerful men. In short, the labels on these concepts have been swapped around, but in the end, the goal remains the same: money. – RafayMughal4 years ago
Out of the scope of The Artifice. – T. Palomino2 years ago
When reading a feminist novel, or one based on that movement, if differentiates greatly between the gender of the author. Women, I find, speak more passionately about the subject, and are willing to stand up and ridicule the opposite sex with great meaning and intention. However, when a man is writing a book about feminism, it’s through an entirely new set of eyes. He may or may not judge the patriarchy as harshly or express similar views, even though it’s the same concept.
This is an interesting topic. It would be cool to see comparisons between books written by the opposite sex. – OkaNaimo08194 years ago
Frida Kahlo and many other female artists in history have been overshadowed by men- often men close to them that could easily socially overpower them. During her life, Kahlo was the lesser known artist between her and her husband- Diego Rivera far overshadowed her until after her death, and during her life she only had one solo exhibition of her work in her home country. Who are some of the female figures in the arts, specifically visual arts but also literature and other mediums, who have been made to stand in others’ shadows? Could be an interesting topic to help bring awareness to lesser-known female artists, or show a different perspective for artists that are now well known after their deaths.
Insightful topic! That would be interesting - there is an architect called Denise Scott Brown who had a firm with her husband Robert Venturi. Despite her undeniable skill and leadership within their duo, he was awarded a Pritzker Prize for the firm's work (the highest accolade in architecture) and she did not. Scott actually boycotted the award ceremony in protest! Such an unknown story, but I'm sure its not an isolated incident in the creative industry – danielleraffaele6 years ago
An example that immediately came to mind was the Victorian artist and poet Elizabeth Siddal. She is best known for her involvement in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and as the model for the famous John Everett Millais painting, 'Ophelia'. Her husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painted her frequently and by all accounts, they had a very happy marriage. Siddal was a very talented artist and her work almost always included themes consistent with the rest of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, but because she was a woman a lot of it faded into obscurity. – katyharrison6 years ago
The term "erased" does not quite seem appropriate for this topic, because it denotes that the female artist's work was somehow done away with, and if that is so, we would not have evidence of their work at all. The term "overshadowed" would serve the topic idea better, for their are many female artists subjugated to the backgrounds of their men, husbands, or creative groups. We have to remember the social customs of the times that these women artists lived in and consider that many of these women had reasons that caused them to remain in the shadows for the different time periods, such as when female independence was not socially acceptable and doing so could mean having to sacrifice her security and or survival. It might be a good idea to convey your point by narrowing the time period you cover so that you can add more breadth to the art historical context of the artists you choose to mention. Hope that helps! – mckelly6 years ago
Hatshepsut is a great example to use, a lot of what she worked towards was defiled after her reign in Ancient Egypt. – Zohal996 years ago
Analyze what themes and challenges a feminist writer might endure when creating fiction or nonfiction. How do they skillfully educate the masses while still creating a story to win over even the most misogynistic in society?
Great topic. I wonder if writing with a male nom de plume/pseudonym is still helpful. – Munjeera7 years ago
"Educate the masses" implies that feminism is always 'correct'. Perhaps in its core tenants, but the term has been somewhat co-opted today... I don't know if it's logically coherent to assume one's ideology is of ultimate educational authority? Like, perhaps from another's point of view the so-called masses need no education, and to them this is the ultimate truth. Point being: ideologies can never logically be 'true,' because morally-based (unscientific) truth is essentially subjective. – m-cubed7 years ago
m-cubed, you're misunderstanding the topic proposal if you think it is about saying one side is right. It is about educating people on a subject that they may not have otherwise been subjected to because of previous idealogical belief. Your words:"from another's point of view the so-called masses need no education, and to them this is the ultimate truth." Translation: Some people believe the acquisition of new knowledge or points of view is unimportant so therefore it should be. I simply disagree and I'd assume many people who write for this online magazine would too. Your comment makes the point as to why it needs to be written about. We can debate the philosophical meaning of truth all day and night, but the bottom line is feminism exists and is an important topic. It remains contemporaneous and relevant to many, many social movements today. Unsurprisingly, it has found its way into the literature we read. – JulieCMillay7 years ago
One of the major challenges is to present a plausible, or at least imaginable, alternative to patriarchy. I think Ursula Le Guin is a great example of a feminist writer who does just this in a way that is engaging and not preachy. – SFG7 years ago
I think it depends on how they identify: female, WOC, LGBTQIA+ and disabled feminist writers are often met with abuse/threats and ignorance... however, when a male (typically cisgender and white) feminist writer conveys similar messages, he isn't met with abuse (at least not to the extent she does), and is hailed as a champion of women's rights/the greater good. Watching that unfold can be daunting and prevent a feminist writer from wanting to publish their work. – stephameye7 years ago
I think the problem m-cubed has articulated about "educate the masses" relates to the idea of truth. For many years, the canon of literature was dominated by White, male Eurocentric men. Having said that, there were women who were accepted under a male pseudonym which reinforces patriarchy. Patriarchy and novels that support androcentric protagonists were always valued and seen as the only voice. With online writing though, we really have no idea who the writer is unless revealed. I think one way barriers have been reduced is by online access which is one reason I love theArtifice so much. – Munjeera7 years ago
"How do they skillfully educate the masses while still creating a story to win over even the most misogynistic in society?"
Include believable and well-rounded female characters in your fiction - whether as a protagonist or as an antagonist write them as real people, reveal their humanity and show that women in fiction can be just as cool, or cruel, as the male characters. Show the misogynists that we all have an inate humanity, we all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. Show them that men and women work better together as a team, that society can be farer and more equal - and that society will be all the better for it. – Peter Guy Blacklock7 years ago
'Educating the masses' is a rather unfortunate choice of term, perhaps. No-one wants to read didactic literature in this day and age. – JudyPeters7 years ago
Ah, a highly interesting and timely topic! I can think of a few challenges right off the top of my head. It'll be fascinating to see what a writer comes up with. – Stephanie M.7 years ago
In the last few years, we’re seeing a rise of strong female characters in lead roles – especially in Action Films (the most prominent being Rey, in Star Wars). These strong characters are everywhere in literature, but tend to be overshadowed by the sequel or the reboot – and if they are picked up, tend to be altered in some way to make the film more marketable: for example, making that female character more masculine (atypically stoic, cold natured, oblivious, and otherwise displaying a shallow level of emotional value – "beefing up" the character, whilst almost ignoring the duality of a strong female character, and their ability to rise to the occasion with a strength of mind and heart; Rose Dawson from Titanic, or countless literary figures from the age of Jane Austen). Are we stepping in the right direction, or is this another false Hollywood campaign?
By the way it's 'Rey'. I think an interesting point is how shallow her 'strong female character' really is. She doesn't have much of an arc ('I have to stay at home because some people might come back but we haven't established that they mean anything to me other than a brief memory' to 'I'm gonna find me a Skywalker!') and she's magically good at everything she does/touches, including Jedi mind tricks which she's apparently never seen before. – jackanapes7 years ago
I agree to a certain extent. It is true that lately the presence of female characters has risen significantly in books and films, and also that such characters tend to be portrayed in masculine terms (see Ripley in Alien). At the same time, figures such as Katniss in the Hunger Games or Furiosa in Mad Max Fury Road, in my opinion, are redefining femininity onscreen, as they eliminate the idea that a film with a male character is more successful, and also offer a more complex and layered portrayal of women. In light of this, it would be interesting to explore such ideas in an article! – CostanzaCasati7 years ago
I personally think that it is great that female actors are taking on such diverse roles in the film industry. – claraaa7 years ago
I agree that we are seeing an increase in female lead characters, which is a positive for the film industry and women in general. But at the moment, I'm not sure if it's a huge problem that many of these characters are made more marketable, as we need to take small steps in the right direction. – Courtney7 years ago
There is an increase in female lead characters recently. After seeing shows like Jessica Jones I can't help but hold onto the hope that maybe Hollywood is redeeming itself. Jessica was a complicated and flawed character whose strength wasn't just physical but mental too. The creators did a good job of portraying that and using other female character like Trish Walker and Hogarth really cemented the fact that women can be complex characters.
on the other hand, Hollywood seems to be great at taking a strong, female lead and sticking her into the 'romantic subplot device' peg hole. Black Widow is the ultimate example of this (Avengers 2). – norcelona7 years ago
The idea of "masculating" a female character to make her strong or tough is a really interesting one. People seem to forget that women can be and are often powerful and forceful people, without falling into a masculine role.
Some examples of female characters that are both feminine and awesome are Mikasa in the anime Attack on Titan (her deep and emotional love for the protagonist drive her every move and allow her to be stronger than anyone else in the show barring one or two characters), and Buffy from BTVS (Buffy never gives up her femininity for her strength, she has boyfriends and wears makeup and cries and loves, but only grows stronger as she does so.)
There are an unfortunately large number of Hollywood examples that fall into either the "woman is good character because she is big tough man on the inside" or "woman is a pretty lady who the protagonist gets with when he defeats the baddies" category.
I adore seeing both strong and feminine characters on the big screen, we really don't need to pick one or the other, woman can and should be both. – Sabrina Thompson-Cook7 years ago
I think this needs to be specified in a few ways. Along with what you mean by "young" mentioned by Cmandra, is there a time frame? 21st century TV shows? Perhaps this has a connection to feminist movements? Just saying positive female roles isn't sufficient, I feel there should be something about positive female roles and what they mean to "young women" viewers that could be expanded upon. – Connor8 years ago
I think this is an excellent topic. I too would be interested in specifics. Animated or live action? How recent? Are these shows that are still airing? Just some ideas. – emilydeibler8 years ago
This is extremely vague. Perhaps pick a set of comparable shows to choose from to help the future author discern a direction to go in. – alexpaulsen8 years ago
I agree that the description is too brief, but this is an interesting topic and I'm curious to see what can be done with it. Another question to ask would be: what makes a TV show empowering for young women? When it comes to women and media, it's difficult to find content that portray female characters in strong, capable roles that are not exploited sexually. But the Feminism movements of the past couple years is evoking a change. So perhaps this article could outline the criteria said TV show would need. Or, it could be a call-for-action, highlighting the need to produce more TV shows to empower young women. – Megan Finsel8 years ago
Great topic! Like many people have already said, it is rather proud. What is your definition of "young"? and does it mean that these tv shows cannot also empire older women, also? Since this topic is very broad. Narrow your scopes, because tv shows can range from animated, reality, to network television, and many more. But, I think taking a tv show from all these ranges can really enrich this article! – ADenkyirah8 years ago
I agree that this is an excellent topic but it needs to be narrowed and explained more. Are you talking about positive self image in terms of physicality? That could lead to examinations of shows like "Ugly Betty" and whether they are positive or negative. If you mean empowering in terms of careers, the article could focus on the changes in television content over the past 15 years and examine the presence or absence of strong female leads. – NateBlake8 years ago
There are definitely a lot of films whose plot takes place in the future, but because of the fact that the films are created in present time, we don’t often see a future that has become truly equal for males and females. One could use an example of Star Trek Into Darkness, or Jurassic World–most of the "powerful" roles still belong to men, and, even if a woman does save the day, she still doesn’t get as much credit as she deserves, or, she needs some kind of male assistance. I figure, with the way things are now, shouldn’t the future be a much better place in terms of equality? Is it so terrible to portray the future with female soldiers, guards, heroes–women who have their own destiny, their own purpose, and are surrounded by other women? Everything from camera angle, to clothes sometimes dismisses the authenticity of the futuristic female lead who’s trying to do what she needs to do. Also, does there always have to be a love interest, or a man helping out? Sure, there are films like V For Vendetta that feature a strong female lead, but, if we really get down to it, Natalie Portman’s character was still taught by a man.
If anything, the writer might want to look into the past or present, as well. Maybe explore characters like Captain Phasma and/or Wonder Woman and their strengths. The writer might also want to discuss gender-bending roles and how they may contribute to the topic (think Ghostbusters). The writer might want to include that video games, like Halo, are already making totally equal men and women.
So, either way, do these films accurately gauge future feminism? Or, because these films are still made now, the same societal biases come through? Feel free to analyze and explore!
Mad Max: Fury Road is a great example of female-dominant characters in a science fiction setting, and there was a lot of public outcry from the "Men's Rights Activists" about it, saying the titular character wasn't important enough to the story. – Tarben8 years ago
There has always been an issue with female representation in film. Females are rarely the lead in films and if they are they usually have a male counter-part. The representation is important. The first barrier was getting more women in the show and then giving them lines. Now we have to move on from them being love-obsessed puppies hoping from boyfriend to boyfriend. Progress is slow. I don't think there are many movies that show equality at all. I think the next best step is to have more feminist and women WRITE and DIRECT movies. Men can portray women, but not as justly as another woman. They have not had the same experiences. – emaliej8 years ago
On the note of how these women are typically written, especially in sci-fi, is dominantly masculine. There is nothing wring with masculine women; however, these women are rarely written as feminine at all. This might have a lot to so with how men feel they can portray women. These are women of the future, so perhaps part of the article could reflect on how they could be portrayed as a different kind of women if women wrote them. What do these women look like now being written largely by men, and how they could look if more women were part of creating these women. – C N Williamson8 years ago
Analyse how recent trends in Young Adult fiction, such as Vampires narratives, Dystopias, etc have both contributed to a more feminist dialogue within these worlds (for example the Hunger Games) but on the other hand also supported older, patriarchal systems (such as Twilight). How can writers address these issues when writing young adult fiction?
What do you mean "How can writers address these issues when writing young adult fiction?" The point of most YA fiction is to tell a story. Telling a story from a strong, Independent women lends a story a certain feel but does not fit every character and the personality the writer is imagining. Not every writer wants their characters to come from a strong feminist perspective. I don't think you should include that last sentence because it makes it sound like all non-feminist characters in novels should never be written. Newsflash: there are still extremely sexist people in this world and they are the audience books are written for. I agree that there are books out there that are so blatantly sexist it makes me sick but they aren't all bad. After all, you cite twilight as part of the problem yet it is beloved by many girls regardless of some pretty sexist parts. I think that a better direction to take this is not why authors should change ow they write, but how the writer uses a variety of narrators to create an effect and what this effect is doing to young adults. – Jutor8 years ago
Explore how women and girls are portrayed in superhero comics by comparing depictions of women in a variety of superhero comics, their (gender) role in the narratives, the challenging the problematic concept of the "strong female" trope, as well as delving into the (for the most part) unrealistic depictions of their bodies.
Female heroes do come with a variety of stereotypes. It is great to see the increasing number of female superheroes which are more reflective of our times today. It would be great to see how relevant is Wonder Women today and see how her role and character has been upgraded in the latest installment in Superman vs Batman. I find it odd that she is not mentioned in the title. Perhaps an analysis could start there.
– Munjeera8 years ago
Really love this topic. Maybe the writer would also want to, very, very briefly, discuss how and which female led comics get adapted to film, as well. – Jaye Freeland8 years ago
This is a great topic, but I think it would work better narrowed down. Maybe select the most popular women heroes, or only heroes from either Marvel or DC Comics. There so many characters to write about--in fact, too many! – Tiffany8 years ago
Great topic, but are you focusing on all girls in superhero comics or specifically female heroes? There are plenty of female villains, you should clarify who you are targeting or possibly do a comparison between the heroes and villains. – dlowe49348 years ago