Myths: Dreams, Fears, Idols

The Second Sex , Simone de Beauvoir. 1952.

“This, then, is the reason why woman has a double and deceptive visage: she is all that man desires and all he does not attain. She is the good mediatrix between propitious Nature and man; and she is the temptation of unconquered Nature, counter to all  goodness. She incarnates all the moral values, from good to evil, and their opposites; she is the substances of action and whatever is an obstacle to it, she is the source and origin of all man’s reflection on his existence and of whatever expression he is able to give to it; and yet she works to divert him from himself, to make him sink down to silence and in death. She is servant and companion, but he expects her also to be his audience and critic and to confirm him in his sense of being; but she opposes him with her indifference, even with her mockery and laughter. He projects upon her what he desires and what he fears, what he loves and what he hates. And if it is so difficult to say anything specific about her, that is because man seeks the whole of himself in her and because she is All, that is, on the plane of the inessential; she is all and the Other. And, as the other, she’s other than herself, other than what is expected of her. Being all, she is never quite this which she should be; she is everlasting deception, the very deception of that existence which is never successfully attained nor fully reconciled with totality of existence.”


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