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Simone de Beauvoir’s Bio

All the deets on your favorite critic’s personal life.

Basic Information

NameSimone de Beauvoir
Tagline"Being the second sex is a challenge. Bring it on, baby."
Nickname"Castor" (that's French for beaver because I work as hard as that determined little semi-aquatic rodent), Mother of French Feminism, Midwife of Existentialism
SexSecond (a.k.a. female)
Home townI was born in Paris, where all great intellectuals are born.

Work & Education

OccupationI was a high school teacher in Marseilles—until I got an underage student in the sack and was unceremoniously fired (my bad). What a mess. The hours weren't great anyway, so I've committed myself to writing novels, conjuring up revolutionary feminist ideas, and smoking an insane number of cigarettes. Oh, and cooking for JP.
EducationOnly the best will do. I studied math at the Institut Catholique and literature and languages at the Institut Sainte-Marie. Then I took on philosophy at the Sorbonne, writing my thesis on Leibniz (big time German mathematician and philosopher). I then attended courses at the École Normale Supérieure getting prepared for the agrégation in philosophy. That's fiercely competitive postgraduate examination that makes the SAT look like connect the dots. At 21, I became the youngest person ever to get a pass on that exam. Snap.


Political viewsAnti-colonialist (France out of Algiers now!); pro-abortionist; socialist with Marxist sympathies
Religious viewsMy mother, Françoise, was wildly god-fearing, so she sent me and my sister to a fancy Catholic convent school. For a long time, I was really in a groove with God, and even thought I'd be a nun. Then I had a predicament of sorts at age 14—I'll spare you the details—and from then on it was atheism for me.

Activities & Interests

LikesLegal birth control and legal abortion
Men, women, and a good ménages-à-trois now and again (all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, as they say!)
Radical freedom
Women's Liberation
Absolute Freedom
Fashion magazines
Riding my bike
Domination—racism, colonialism, haters of all kind
Bourgeois constructs of all sorts—esp. the institution of marriage
Reductive thinking and stereotyping, i.e., "the eternal feminine," "the black soul," "the Jewish character"
Broken teeth
Reading women writers (love George Eliot)
Feminists who also Happen to be Hot
Teachers who have Dated Their Students
Women Intellectuals Who Haven't Gotten Enough Credit

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