Sunday, November 15, 2009
In class we briefly discussed Simone de Beauvoir's book The Second Sex, about women being seen as the “other” sex, coming second to the male norm. This is a concept that has developed throughout the years in all societies, thus a stereotype of woman has been produced. There is the question of how exactly does one “become” a woman. It was explained that women, in society, are understood to act a certain way, to be a certain way, that "one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman." Thus, biology does not determine one’s identity, but it is the social construction that is at the core of identity. However, this attaches certain meaning to the word woman, almost objectifying the woman herself. It has become simply a word, a stereotype: she cooks, she cleans, she wears dresses, she takes care of the children, etc. Society has made meaning for being a woman, yet this meaning is generalized and ambiguous—it almost seems as if the “they” is responsible for constructing this image of what a woman should be and how she should act. So what happens when this idealized image of a woman is gone against? What if a woman should “become” someone who does not fulfill this identity? As we discussed, society then has to make sense of this and form again their own meaning—is she accepted? I think society has developed stereotypes as certain guidelines for certain idealizations. Some woman grow up and “become women” based on these guidelines and might follow this structure and the ones who do not still become women, though it might be that society never accepts them as such, based on their meaning when figuring out their place in the world—every experience is different for an individual and even when following society’s stereotype, no two experiences are alike.