“For a long time I have hesitated
to write a book on woman.
The subject is irritating, especially to women; and it is not new.
Enough ink has been spilled in quarrelling over feminism,
and perhaps we should say no more about it.
It is still talked about, however, for the voluminous
nonsense uttered during the last century
seems to have done little to illuminate the problem.
After all, is there a problem? And if so, what is it?
Are there women, really?
Most assuredly the theory of the eternal feminine
still has its adherents who will whisper in your ear:
‘Even in Russia women still are women’;
and other erudite persons – sometimes the very same
– say with a sigh: ‘Woman is losing her way, woman is lost.’
One wonders if women still exist, if they will always exist,
whether or not it is desirable that they should,
what place they occupy in this world,
what their place should be…”
– Simone de Beauvoir,
Introduction: The Second Sex (1949)