A Quote to Unpack from Feminist Theology

Below is a quote from Simone de Beauvoir on the characteristics of “the girl” or “the adolescent”. Much of this chapter resonated with me. Other parts of it were intriguingly different, or coming from a place which I observed as old. But I think this section may speak to both the experience of young women, and also enlighten us to how to embrace our realities with constructively:

“However, this situation that the girl flees by a thousand inauthentic paths is also one that she sometimes assumes authentically. Her shortcomings make her irritating: but her unique virtues sometimes make her astonishing. Both have the same origin. From her rejection of the world, from her unsettled waiting, and from her nothingness, she can create a springboard for herself and emerge them in her solitude and her freedom.

The girl is secretive, tormented, in the throes of difficult conflicts. This complexity enriches her; her interior life develops more deeply than her brothers’; she is more attentive to her hards desires that thus become more subtle, more varied; she has more psychological sense than boys turned toward external goals. She is able to give weight to these revolts that oppose her to the world.”

The Second Sex, trans. Borde and Malvony-Chevallier p. 372

In this passage, the “inauthentic paths” that Beauvoir is talking about are giggling, rage, tomboyishness, cutting, and other sorts of self-destructive behaviors that are characteristic of reacting to the recognition, and growing into, a role in which one is expected to ‘submit’ or otherwise not become one’s full, authentic self.

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