Not Born, but Rather Became

“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”
Simone de Beauvoir
The Second Sex

 
 

Simone de Beauvoir as a little child

 
 

Simone de Beauvoir’s formulation distinguishes sex from gender and suggests that gender is an aspect of identity gradually acquired. The distinction between sex and gender has been crucial to the long-standing feminist effort to debunk the claim that anatomy is destiny; sex is understood to be the invariant, anatomically distinct, and factic aspects of the female body, whereas gender is the cultural meaning and form that that body acquires, the variable modes of that body’s acculturation.

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Raised Above the Animal

“It is not in giving life but in risking life that man is raised above the animal; that is why superiority has been accorded in humanity not to the sex that brings forth but to that which kills”

Simone de Beauvoir

 
 

Elizabeth Taylor visits the Kruger Park game reserve, just prior to her re-marriage to Richard Burton in Botswana, Africa, Oct. 1975. Taylor is seen here with ‘Taga’, a young orphaned cheetah who was nursed backed to health by rangers at the reserve.