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Feminist Writings$
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Simone de Beauvoir, Margaret A. Simons, and Marybeth Timmermann

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039003

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039003.001.0001

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Femininity: The Trap

Femininity: The Trap

(p.42) Femininity: The Trap
Feminist Writings

Simone de Beauvoir

Marybeth Timmermann

University of Illinois Press

The French have never been feminists. Of course, they’ve always loved women, but in the manner of Mediterranean peoples, which is the way ogres love little children—for their personal consumption. In the middle ages, the law denied French women the possession of land and separated them from the political scene. Later, the civil code denied them the same rights as men. It is also known with what stubbornness aging senators have consistently turned a deaf ear when the feminists claimed the vote and full rights of citizenship. Since the war of 1914–18, the situation has changed somewhat. Lack of manpower brought women into many fields to replace men, and they began to acquire economic independence. This war completed the evolution. In the Resistance, in concentration camps, women proved their right to participate in the reconstruction of their country on an equal basis as men. The civil code was modified in their favor and they were given the right to vote, to be elected; there are few jobs which are today forbidden them. It appears, therefore, that in France the old quarrel between feminists and antifeminists is settled, and there is no reason to return to it. But I ask myself if on the contrary it is not today that the question rises most ...

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