Le Deuxième Sexe - Mythes

  • Created by: CaraPW
  • Created on: 12-04-21 12:10
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  • Le Deuxième Sexe - Mythes
    • Pygmalion myth
      • Male sculptor creates ideal woman statue who comes to life - male desire to mould a wife completely
    • Virginity myths
      • Reveal dual aspect of male attitudes to women - fear and desire
      • Virginity prized - woman offered up to man for his enjoyment
      • Virginity feared in older women as sign of female sexuality unmastered by the male
      • Mary as holy virgin mother - motherhood and virginity sacred parts of Biblical womanhood - they are objects of men's use
        • Supreme masculine victory - woman rehabilitated by her defeat and subjugation
    • Story of Adam and Eve
      • Eve posited as subordinate partner, responsible for fall and sexual sin
      • Used to develop idea of otherness which maintains man's supremacy
      • Fertility - man is creator, woman is incubator, sustainer, stable
    • Feminine mystique
      • Women as opaque, inscrutable, unknowable
      • Freud - women are dark, capricious creatures, moods linked to the moon
      • Most celebrated type of woman in art  and literature - projection of the other
      • Beauvoir cites Nerval and Breton - women as link to power of imagination and madness, extends to figures like the femme fatale and the roman noir
      • Woman as poetic, unknowable reality, man projects onto her everything he has decided not to be in that context
    • Contradiction
      • Myths are contradictory - virgins and temptresses and mystiques - express what man wants to project in different cultures
      • Woman is at the same time Eve, Virgin Mary, idol, servant, source of life, power of darkness, elemental silence of truth, artifice, gossip, lies, healer, witch, man’s prey, man’s ruin
      • Woman is everything man is not and that he wants to have, his negation and reason for being
    • Specific literary mythmaking
      • Montherlant
        • Women presented as fleshy monsters, parasites - associated with hard-right Nazi sympathies
      • DH Lawrence
        • Phallocentric representations of masculinity and femininity
        • Polarised binarisms of active male virility and passive femininity
      • Claudel
        • Catholic playwright
        • Beauvoir suggests that he presents women as man's saviours - Mary Myth
        • Free women idolised as holy but present as servants to the male - route to male salvation
      • Breton
        • Surrealist exultation of women - associates them with peace, magic, nature and the childlike
          • Allows subjectivity to men only
        • Women are instrument by which men can receive transcendence
        • Celebration of supposed irrational female mind in opposition to the rational male mind
      • Stendhal
        • Beauvoir credits Stendhal with creating autonomous and credible female characters
        • Although the role of women in his work is to devote the self to male protagonists
      • Shows how myths about women are perpetuated and circulated by male writers - deconstructive feminism


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