Student Author(s)

Kate Pitchford

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Anne Larsen

Document Type


Event Date



Despite her bourgeoisie background, Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) was one of the twentieth century’s most influential writers. Her high level of education allowed her to succeed in a world where the “rules” were put in place by men and for men. Her schooling also brought about a lifelong intellectual friendship with existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. With her famous work, The Second Sex (French: Le Deuxième Sexe) (1949), and one of its most famous quotes—“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”—Beauvoir laid a strong foundation for modern feminism by piercing the hegemony that existed in contemporary society as a result of so many years of patriarchy. She has been described as a miracle among the women of her generation because of her strong conviction for her cause, and this single work of literature was praised by many critics for opening the door to women questioning their social status and role in society. Through my research, I hope to show how Beauvoir’s feminist beliefs, including her opinions on the female mentality, and the professional and family life of women, were highly influenced by existentialist thought.