The Second Sex

Love, Happiness, and Other Antonyms: The Role of Women in Marriage College

Throughout the course of history, marriage as an institution has changed drastically, weaving in and out of various phases and forms. What began as a purely reproductive relationship evolved into an emotional companionship. Or has it? Does marriage equal happiness? Is happiness love, or vice versa? What is a woman without a man? Author Simone de Beauvoir both asks and works to answer the age-old question of love, happiness, marriage, and perhaps concludes the inability of the three. Using the text “Second Sex”, the play Medea, and the film White Material, it can be concluded that marriage is, perhaps, nothing more than a word.

In Beauvoir’s piece “Second Sex”, she makes a distinct differentiation between love and happiness and between the roles of the male and the female in a marriage. Happiness, according to Beauvoir, is what is “promised” to the bride: a calm, repetitive “equilibrium” from which she cannot yes does not wish to escape. She is meant to be the “manager”, remaining within the walls of her home, constructing for herself a life of happiness. Thus, we can conclude that the woman does not love her life as a wife, but it makes her happy. She has “no choice but to build a stable life where the present, prolonging the...

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