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“One is not Born a Woman” by Monique Wittig Essay- by EduBirdie

In her article, Monique Wittig (2003) argues the feminine is only one distinct gender, while the masculine has no distinguishing features. Masculinity is described by this writer as something “general” (Wittig, 2003, p. 255). This statement may appear to be provocative, but there are certain examples which can support it. To a great extent, this opinion is based on the ideas of Simone de Beauvoir, especially her book The Second Sex, where she examines the formation of women’s identities (De Beuvoir, 2010).

Essay on “One is not Born a Woman” by Monique Wittig

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To elaborate Monique Wittig’s argument, one should focus on such issues as women’s strong awareness of their gender, the requirements that they are supposed to fill, and the myths about alleged supremacy of males. These factors contributed to the distinctiveness of femininity.

These are some of the themes that should be examined in this paper. Overall, feminist writers show that women are often supposed to meet some distinct requirements that are often defined as gender roles. To a great extent, their behavior is artificially constructed. This is why females pay much more attention to the notion of gender because they can see that it imposes significant restrictions on them.

At first, one should mention that women are keenly aware of their gender, and this is one of the aspects that differs them from men. In her book, Simone de Beauvoir says that “a man never begins by presenting himself as an individual of a certain sex” (De Beuvoir, 2010, p. 2).

In other words, their gender identity is not a central question for them. This is one of the main issues that should not be disregarded. Moreover, there are many academic and non-academic books about femininity, but one can say the same thing about masculinity. This is one of the distinctions that can be singled out.

To a great extent, this situation is the result of the discrimination which was based on such a criterion as gender. In contrast, masculinity was often perceived as the only norm. This is one of the main problems that should be considered since it can throw light on the identity of many women.

Furthermore, it is vital to remember that the behavior of a woman is an artificial construct that is formed in the process of socialization. This means that the behavior of females is not biologically determined. For instance, in her article, Jana Cvikova demonstrates that girls are conditioned to take certain roles; for instance, the role of a mother.

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Boys are not usually taught to act as fathers (Cvikova, 2003). Moreover, various roles of women are limited mostly to the domain of family; however, such restrictions are not imposed on males who are encouraged to choose various career paths (Cvikova, 2003).

In other Follow the Edubirdie words, many women can sense that their life choices are more restricted due to some reasons that are not known to them. This is why one can say that feminine is the only distinct gender. This is one of the main points that can be made. To a great extent, Monique Wittig’s statement can give people in-depth insights into the feminist ideology.

Finally, the distinctive aspects of femininity can also be explained by the myth about the primacy or supremacy of males. In her book, Simone de Beauvoir refers to the ideas of some philosophers such as Aristotle who believed that female nature had been “afflicted with a natural defectiveness” (De Beuvoir, 2010, p. 3).

Similarly, medieval philosophers described women only as “imperfect men” (De Beuvoir, 2010, p. 3). It should be kept in mind that such ideas were expressed by prominent thinkers who had a strong influence on public opinion. As a result, women were marginalized and reduced to subservient status.

On the whole, one can argue that for a long time, females were believed to be secondary to males. Furthermore, this stereotype continues to influence the attitudes and perceptions of many people. This is another reason why women became so aware of their gender.

In contrast, males have never had to struggle with this sense of inferiority. This issue is important for understanding various aspects of femininity. One should take into account that the problems mentioned by Simone de Beauvoir and other feminist writers have not been eliminated nowadays. This is why their ideas continue to be relevant in many modern societies.

These examples show that the distinctiveness of feminine gender is the result or response to the existing social tradition which limited the opportunities available to women and led to the stereotypes according to which females were inferior to males. These are some of the main themes that are explored by contemporary feminist writers.

Additionally, much attention should be paid to the educational practices which legitimize inequality. So, to some degree, Monique Wittig is right in arguing that there is only feminine gender. This statement is critical for understanding the differences in the identity of men and women. Overall, these questions can be of great interest to educators, sociologists, and educators.

Reference List

Cvikova, J. (2003). Pink and Blue World . Gender Stereotypes and their Consequences . Retrieved from

De Beuvoir, S. (2010). The Second Sex. Boston: Random House Publishers India Pvt. Limited.

Wittig, M. (2003). One is not born a woman. In C. McCann (Ed.), Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives (pp. 249-260). New York: Routledge.