Born Simon-Lucie-Ernestine-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir on January 9, 1908, Beauvoir was a French writer and philosopher. She became most famous for her discourse surrounding the "eternal feminine" myth in The Second Sex (1949). Beauvoir confronts the ways that contradictory ideals encourage a woman to forgo her individuality. Beauvoir also asserts that women have suffered from the oppression of being consistently defined as men's "other" rather than on their own terms.
Jamaica Kincaid refers to Beauvoir's The Second Sex because in the 1960s it became part of the canon of feminist literature. Like Kincaid's, much of Beauvoir's literary work is autobiographical, addressing subjects like coming of age, parent-child relationships (Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, 1958), and the death of her mother (A Very Easy Death, 1964).