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Simone de Beauvoir in Africa: "Woman = the Second Sex?" Issues of African Feminist Thought

Signe Arnfred


In a recent interview, Toril Moi, a distinguished figure in the contemporary re-launching of Simone de Beauvoir, confirms that there are two major ideas in de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. One idea is that “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.’ The other is that “in all known societies, woman has always been looked upon as the other” (Wenche Larsen 2000: 82). This paper sets out to question and investigate the second statement Is it really so that in all known societies woman is and has always been looked upon as the other, the second sex? Looked upon – by whom? Does it have to be so forever? That “woman = the second sex” is a firmly grounded idea in the Western world is not up for discussion. But what about other parts of the world? What about Africa?

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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