Women’s History: April 14

14 Apr

Simone de Beauvoir

It was April 14, 1986 that we lost Simone de Beauvoir. Beauvoir is probably best known for her book The Second Sex, which confronts misogyny and the oppression of women.  It was not until 1986 that I read The Second Sex; it and Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch probably stirred the militant feminist in me. It was not just Beauvoir’s feminist voice that I was attracted to, but also her perspective on religion.  While Beauvoir started off a devout Catholic, she maintained that religion was used for the exclusive purpose of manipulation.

Although Beauvoir was bisexual, her long standing relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre and the fact that they were able to sustain a polyamorous relationship seems to be what catches the public eye. In addition to The Second Sex, I would recommend reading The Mandarins which also focuses on issues of existentialism, feminism, and the intelligentsia.  To learn more about Simone de Beauvoir, click here.

It was April 14, 1964 that we lost Rachel Carson. Carson was a pioneer environmentalist and author of Silent Spring. In Silent Spring, Carson documented the dangers of pesticides and herbicides and the lasting ill effects of toxic chemicals in water and on land and the presence of DDT even in mother’s milk.  Needless to say, Carson was attacked by the agricultural chemical industry. Carson died of cancer shortly after the book was published.

Quote of the day:

    Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.–Rachel Carson


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