Philosophical Quotes by Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir (1908 – 1986) was a philosopher, political activist, novelist, and social theorist who grew up in France during the 20th century. She studied mathematics and philosophy at the Institut Catholique and the Sorbonne, becoming the youngest philosophy teacher in France at age twenty-one.

Her most impactful work, The Second Sex, was published in 1949 and made its mark as a manifesto for second wave feminism. Here are some philosophical quotes by Simone de Beauvoir to muse over.

. . . . . . . . . .

“Man is defined as a human being and woman as a female – whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.” (The Blood of Others, 1946)

. . . . . . . . . .

“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“It’s frightening to think that you mark your children merely by being yourself… It seems unfair. You can’t assume the responsibility for everything you do — or don’t do.” (Les Belles Images, 1966)

. . . . . . . . . .

Simone de Beauvoir quote

37 Feminist Quotes from The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
. . . . . . . . . .

“No one is more arrogant toward women, more aggressive or scornful, than the man who is anxious about his virility.” (The Second Sex, 1953)

. . . . . . . . . .

“Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day. The housewife wears herself out marking time: she makes nothing, simply perpetuates the present … Eating, sleeping, cleaning – the years no longer rise up towards heaven, they lie spread out ahead, grey and identical. The battle against dust and dirt is never won.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation, compassion.” (As quoted in Successful Aging : A Conference Report, 1974, by Eric Pfeiffer)

. . . . . . . . . .

“To emancipate woman is to refuse to confine her to the relations she bears to man, not to deny them to her; let her have her independent existence and she will continue nonetheless to exist for him also: mutually recognizing each other as subject, each will yet remain for the other an other.” (The Second Sex, 1952)

. . . . . . . . . .

“When we abolish the slavery of half of humanity, together with the whole system of hypocrisy that it implies, then the ‘division’ of humanity will reveal its genuine significance and the human couple will find its true form.” (The Second Sex, 1952)

. . . . . . . . . .

“Self-knowledge is no guarantee of happiness, but it is on the side of happiness and can supply the courage to fight for it.” (Force of Circumstances Vol. III, 1963)

. . . . . . . . . .

“On the day when it will be possible for woman to love not in her weakness but in strength, not to escape herself but to find herself, not to abase herself but to assert herself – on that day love will become for her, as for man, a source of life and not of mortal danger.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“Defending the truth is not something one does out of a sense of duty or to allay guilt complexes, but is a reward in itself.” (As quoted in The Book of Positive Quotations, 2007, by John Cook, Steve Deger and Leslie Ann Gibson)

. . . . . . . . . .

Simone de Beauvoir books

Simone de Beauvoir books on Bookshop.org*
Simone de Beauvoir page on Amazon*
. . . . . . . . . .

“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” (As quoted in The Book of Positive Quotations, 2007, by John Cook, Steve Deger and Leslie Ann Gibson)

. . . . . . . . . .

“My father’s individualism and pagan ethical standards were in complete contrast to the rigidly moral conventionalism of my mother’s teaching. This disequilibrium, which made my life a kind of endless disputation, is the main reason why I became an intellectual. (Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter)

. . . . . . . . . .

“Patience [is one of those] ‘feminine’ qualities which have their origin in our oppression but should be preserved after our liberation.”

. . . . . . . . . .

Jean-Paul Sartre & Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre: An Existential Love Story
. . . . . . . . . .

*This post contains Bookshop Affiliate and Amazon Affiliate links. If a product is purchased by linking through, Literary Ladies Guide receives a modest commission, which helps maintain our site and helps it to continue growing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to The Literary Ladies Guide weekly newsletter

Celebrating women’s voices
with inspiration for readers and writers

  • Find your next great read
  • Get writing advice from authors you love
  • Enjoy fascinating facts and quotes
  • Discover women’s literary history

... and lots more (look for a bonus in your welcome letter!)
Email address
Secure and Spam free...