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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

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Feminine beauty: a social construct?

2 minutes

Simone de Beauvoir on why women must reject the ‘feminine’ to become free and equal

Who’s to say what makes a woman ‘womanly’? In her book The Second Sex (1949), the French existentialist writer and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir argued that femininity isn’t innate, but instead foisted upon females from birth. According to de Beauvoir, by pressuring women to conform to male stereotypes of beauty, patriarchal societies have subjugated women, robbing them of their autonomy and objectifying them in ways that belittle their abilities and their intellect. De Beauvoir’s existentialism, however, offered a way out: women are free, she wrote, to reject male views on how they should look and behave, and doing so allows them to become more equal.

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/
Philosophy of Mind
Are you sleepwalking now?

Given how little control we have of our wandering minds, how can we cultivate real mental autonomy?

Thomas Metzinger

Essay/
Political Philosophy
The real Adam Smith

He might be the poster boy for free-market economics, but that distorts what Adam Smith really thought

Paul Sagar