At 100, Beauvoir Stirs Anew

Female equality remains hot topic in native France on centenary of icon's birth
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2008 2:59 PM CST

(Newser) – Simone de Beauvoir was born 100 years ago today, and the Independent observes the centenary by asking whether women are still the second sex in the feminist's native France. Her writings influenced multiple generations of women by dismantling assumptions about feminine identity, and new biographies have humanized the once imperious-seeming author who wrote, "One is not born a woman; one becomes one."

But are women still held to a different standard? Respected news weekly Le Nouvel Observateur courted controversy with a cover of de Beauvoir photographed nude from behind. Several feminists have cried foul, but one took the press in stride. "No male philosopher I can think of would have had such a lovely bottom," said Florence Montreynaud. "Women win on both counts."