i have never enjoyed a detailed account of the sexual patterns of mammals so much.
i just read the introduction and first chapter of simone de beauvoir’s the second sex. i am slightly embarrassed to admit that i hadn’t read anything written by beauvoir before tonight, because she is one of the primary figures in feminist theory. however, what i lack in experience i make up in enthusiasm (which, appropriately, sounds very sexual… i will not comment on the veracity of any implied meaning here, where all surfers of the net can read up). the neatness of her logic just blew me away. for anyone to keep an english major like me reading through 37 pages of biology is a feat in itself. and i was actually audibly reacting to what i read with “aha” noises and grunts of disbelief, something i rarely do. this made me glad i decided to stay in my apartment tonight instead of going to starbucks to read among the fanatic workaholics of houston’s river oaks neighborhood.
i’m going to try to temper my beauvoir-excitement in class next thursday. because i’ve read so little of her writing, i’m unsure of how her ideas fit in with current feminist scholarship (and i don’t want to make a fool out of myself in front of a professor who is likely to be one of my primary dissertation readers, especially on the mere second meeting of the seminar). but i’m planning on ordering the entire book on amazon tonight (i only have photocopied excerpts right now), and i’m also considering ordering her letters to jean-paul sartre (a book which reminds me of the truth about cats and dogs, as it’s the book ben chaplin’s character gives uma thurman’s). never mind the fact that i still haven’t bought all the required books for my 18th century seminar.
the letters are obviously very different (and caused chaos when they were published… simone had claimed to have lost them, but her daughter found them after her death and published them to quite an uproar). and it’s a good thing they’re different. as far as i know, a detailed depiction of the menstrual cycle and its implications for the definition of femininity — not the best way to win a man’s heart.
and now that i’ve bored the few of you who happen to read, i’ll stop. but hell, since i’ve already started…
things i’ve learned from my brief exposure to simone de beauvoir:
1. as of 1989, only 20 cases of true hermaphroditism in man had been medically attested.
2. there is an intelligent comeback to the argument that men are naturally stronger.
3. if you don’t want your love letters published posthumously, burn them. or go the austen route, and have a sister cut out the juicy bits.