Simone de Beauvoir

Friday, September 21, 2012

More About The Bridge

The Simone de Beauvoir pedestrian bridge is therefore anything but a mundane structure,
as is amply illustrated by its winning the 2007 European Steel Design Award.

Red Dresses

I think of my blog often, but not often enough to do something about its continuity, probably because it requires time and thought. And research. I am in constant pursuit of information regarding Simone. There are times when I regret this blog. It’s dependent upon me for its survival and there are days when I just don’t have any more resources to give to it. If only it could whine, my maternal instincts would respond in a nano-second.

So, today, many months since my last post, I write with motives that are not exactly honorable:  I am avoiding the completion of an on-line a test with a deadline of seven hours from now. I’m at work—where the noisy atmosphere isn’t conducive to studying for the exam, let alone taking it—where I’m encouraged to attend to academics when time allows. So I turn to Simone.

Simone, who had numerous published books through-out her lifetime, has a bridge in her honor, and has been deemed a feminist icon, empowers me to take on the world and leave my mark. Simone’s first book was published when she was 35. I’m officially behind schedule. Moving on.

I also feel some sort of weird expectation to live up to an award I received as an undergraduate which bears her name. She haunts me. Her books line my shelves. I read her work and want to write. And empower other women. And inspire them.

deBeauvoir's The Second Sex, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter  and several other works, live happily on the same shelf as Memoirs of a Scandalous Red Dress, and Confessions of a Little Black Gown, romance novels by another favorite author of mine, Elizabeth Boyle, who creates heroines which are strong, smart, determined, and beautiful. They also attract men based on these formidable characteristics.

Boyle inspires me, too. Author. Wife. Mother. Friend. She has written numerous books—seventeen earning their spot on The NY Times Best Seller List. Not bad for a woman who started out as a paralegal. Today, Boyle tweets about her personal adventures in everyday life—pie-baking, kid toting, book-promoting, knitting wife. Boyle inspired me because she’s genuine. Life is filled with opportunities when it’s a full as hers. But when I visit Boyle’s website, I want to become a Boyle heroine. I want to take my own personal adventure.

Memoirs of a Scandalous Red Dress was one of the first Boyle historical romances I ever read. It invoked the idea of a party where all the attending women wore red dresses (as scandalous or ‘non-scandalous’ as they want. Why a red dress? Wear one and you’ll understand.

Don’t believe me? Check out the “Red Dress” episode on the Katie Couric Show and “The Traveling Red Dress Revisited”.

My red dress was donated to a local thrift store benefitting a women’s shelter. It will live on and change the life of another woman. In the meantime, I am going in search of a new one. Probably not scandalous. Certainly empowering. I hope it will make Boyle and deBeauvoir proud.

I'd be willing to bet Simone had a red dress, too.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Next Chapter

Most don't know of Simone, let alone know that there's a bridge named after her in Paris, France.  I'd like to think Parisians and feminists are proud to know of her.  I recall the first time I saw her portrait and, honestly, my reaction was that she bore an uncanny resemblance to Wallis Simpson.
Wallis Simpson

Simone de Beauvoir
Maybe it's their center-parted, pulled-back, tightly twisted and wind-defying secured hairstyles. Or hair color. Maybe it's the look of certainty they have in their eyes and the determination with which they lived. 

Both ladies have had an impact on women today. 

Simpson may be for some a dramatic, romantic figure for it was because of her a king gave up his throne.  Ironically, the king's niece became queen of that country and continues to celebrate her 60th year as HRH Queen Elizabeth II.  How many women long for the kind of love that King Edward VIII felt for Mrs. Simpson?  He gave up E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.  Kingdom, wealth, respect of the royal family and court.  For a twiced-divorced woman, who was also, perish the thought, an AMERICAN!  In the end, she lived life as she wanted and with whom she wanted.  I'm sure the extensive collection of jewelry softened the blow of knowing she'd never be Queen of England. There isn't a bridge that honors Simpson that I know of.  There are numerous gossipy writings and scathing accounts of her partying ways, though.

Simone de Beauvoir, on the other hand, philosophized the world that a woman and a man should be treated equally.  According to, "Simone de Beauvoir revealed herself as a woman of formidable courage and integrity, whose life supported her thesis: the basic options of an individual must be made on the premises of an equal vocation for man and woman founded on a common structure of their being, independent of their sexuality." 

Simpson, it is said, used her feminine wiles to get what she wanted; de Beauvoir used her mind and her pen.

So I suggest that we try and follow in the footsteps of deBeauvoir. 

Why?  I'm not going to get into the history of feminism, but suffice it to say that because of Simone, I, as a women, can share my thoughts on this blog and it should be treated the same as that of any man. We are all equals, despite physical abilities.  Sure men can do one thing standing up.  Big deal.  Personally I enjoy taking a few minutes to sit.  Maybe because I've been on my feet doing nine other things in the last ten minutes and a chance to sit is welcomed.  Woman can give birth; I don't think that makes us 'better'.  It makes us incredible.  Talk about a miracle!  Carry a living being around, nurture it and bring it into the world.  Not 'better' but different.   Men and women are created differently and together, they work well.  So why must we designate one better than the other?  Why pay one more than the other?  Why subject one to ridicule, abuse, and even death, at the hands of the other?

Follow in the footsteps of Simpson, and where does it get you?  Ostracized, banished, and the subject of books.  Be inspired by de Beauvoir and you write your own books! 

And then there's the whole bridge thing to consider.....