From The Second Sex to The Beauty Myth: 10 of the best feminist texts

Twentieth-century polemical writing that changed the way we think about gender

To ask what influence this book had on gender politics is akin to wondering what the sun ever did for the earth. The answer? Everything. Today, The Second Sex is still hailed as the mothership of feminist philosophy. “One is not born, but rather becomes (a) woman,” muses De Beauvoir (the quote varying, according to the translation). Exploring topics from sex, work and family to prostitution, abortion and the history of female subordination, De Beauvoir challenges the notion of men as the default (the ideal), and women as “other”. For many, The Second Sex represents not just key feminist reading, but rather essential feminist thinking and being.

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