Beauvoir on the Life and Death of Femininity (Reading The Second Sex with Butler, Brown, and Wilson)
This chapter asks how Simone de Beauvoir’s work is now read from the perspective of feminist theory that postdated her. It focuses on readings of Beauvoir introduced by Judith Butler, Wendy Brown, and Elizabeth Wilson. It considers Beauvoir’s work from the perspective of innovations such as the sex–gender distinction and its subsequent critique, the Nietzschean critique of resentment, feminism of embodiment, and new materialist feminisms. Since a new series of questions has emerged with which to approach the status of biology in Beauvoir’s work, I argue for a productive reading of Beauvoir, giving new attention to some of the distinctive ways in which she sees biology and embodiment as expressive. It is to look in new ways for and at excessive reserves in this well-known text.
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