Toril Moi

Oct 25, 2022

On Simone de Beauvoir's "The Second Sex"

A Discussion with Toril Moi

New Books Network 2022

In her diary, Simone de Beauvoir once wrote “I did not think of myself as a 'woman.' I was me.” Then, in 1949, de Beauvoir published The Second Sex, laying bare the widely accepted gender inequalities of her time and questioning the idea of man as “universal.” Her book incited both outrage and inspiration, and her ideas were quickly adapted by the Second-wave feminist movement. Although feminist ideas have changed over time, de Beauvoir’s vision of a just and equal society in which men and women respect each other as free and responsible subjects was remarkable for her time. Professor Toril Moi is the James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Literature at Duke University. She is the author of books such as Revolution of the Ordinary Literary Studies After Wittgenstein, Austin, and Cavell and Sex, Gender, and the Body: The Student Edition of What Is a Woman? See more information on our website,

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