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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.
Even in modern secular societies, belief in an afterlife persists. Why?
Nature and landscape
Take a serene hike through an ancient forest, inspired by a Miyazaki masterpiece
Trek alongside spiritual pilgrims on a treacherous journey across Pakistan
Thinkers and theories
Photographs offer a colonialist window to the past – one that must be challenged
Meaning and the good life
The world turns vivid, strange and philosophical for one plane crash survivor
Inside the unique creative space where ‘outsider’ artists find their form
When aggression is viewed as brilliance, it hurts women in science, and science itself
From God’s shoes to satellites in heaven – children weigh in on religion
Stories and literature
Myths from Earth’s edge – what the Icelandic sagas reveal about Norse morality