The Second Sex (Le Deuxième Sexe) is a 1949 book by French writer and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir in which she discusses the treatment of women throughout history and in her own time.
“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” This is Beauvoir’s most famous quote. In the book she contrasts a girl’s upbringing with a boy’s, who at age 3 or 4 is told he is a “little man.” A girl is taught to be a woman, and her “feminine” destiny is imposed on her by society.
De Beauvoir asks: “What is woman?” She argues that the man is considered the ‘normal’ human being. In this way, the views of what a woman is, how she should behave or what she should look like, are determined by male standards.