Simone de Beauvoir: Socialist to Feminist

When Simone de Beauvoir wrote The Second Sex, she did not define herself as a feminist. She was a socialist and believed a socialist revolution would liberate women, but in the late 1960s, as feminism blossomed, she changed her mind. She told an interviewer in 1972 that the situation of women in France had not really changed over the last 20 years and that people on the left should join the women’s movement while waiting for socialism to arrive.

Defining herself as a feminist, but reluctant to join traditional reformist groups, de Beauvoir joined the radical Mouvement de Libération des Femmes (MLF)—the French women’s liberation movement. In 1971, when abortion was still illegal in France, de Beauvoir was one of more than 300 women who signed a pro-abortion manifesto, later known as the Manifesto of the 343, stating that she had had an abortion and demanding this right for all women.

Sources: Feminism (DK)

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