Powered by ProofFactor - Social Proof Notifications

Societal and Cultural Factors Shaping Feminism in Women

May 13, 2023 | 0 comments

blog banner

May 13, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

Men have dominated women for centuries. The social injustice and women stereotype has been perceived to be a state of order defined by nature which Simone de Beauvoir strongly disagrees with in her book, The Second Sex. Society oppresses and discriminates against women in every aspect, denying them their full rights as the human race. Society fails to acknowledge the uniqueness of both sexes and instead chooses to treat women as objects attributing them to everything inferior. Simone de Beauvoir believes feminism is imposed on women nurtured by external processes they undergo in their development stages right from birth, youth to adulthood in her opening statement of Volume II of the Second Sex that says, ‘one is not born a woman, but becomes a woman.’ This paper focuses on societal and cultural aspects that conspire against the girl child to nurture her feminism, which has defined her unfair place in society for ages. Everything they are exposed to teaches them to be women and to stay women.


People Also Read


The roles of sexes (men and women) that resulted from divisions of labor in society are not naturally defined but rather have been culturally determined given that they differ from community to community and are passed from generation to generation. Women have the most boring jobs with household chores that define their worlds. They are confined and introduced to the kitchen at a tender age since they are made to spend time learning the practical skills of cooking and household management, as implied by Beauvoir (493). This definition of roles still exists in the twenty-first century since society is structured in a manner that a lady’s incompetence in house chores is a silent taboo as they are constantly scolded, while for a man, it is understandable, thus indicating the extent of expectation on women thus contribute to their becoming-woman.

Women’s education centers on their proposed societal primary destiny, which is to get married. They are taught to be submissive, yet in a real sense, no natural phenomenon made men the head of the family. The informal education prepares them exclusively for marriage since they are taught how to handle themselves around men and how to look pretty for men, with the actions of content and submission emphasized. That preparation results in a dream by women to get married into a reputable family to the extent that failing to be married makes them divested and earns them shame in the eyes of their families and society as a whole, as implied by Beauvoir (221). From my experience, unmarried women are not openly scolded but are sidelined and disgraced as society wonders about the cause of their ‘abnormality.’ In addition, women are blamed for broken marriages since society lament bitterly concerning their improper upbringing. One of their fundamental teachings is tolerance and perseverance, which a person needs to survive in an oppressive environment, thus indicating that feminism is nurtured.

Feminism is indeed cultivated. Currently, newborn babies’ sexes are distinguished by color. The girl child is assigned the pink color while the boy blue. The girl child’s room is decorated in pink, and she is dressed in pink. These colors are not naturally selected. Instead, they are cultural practices imposed on society. Thus, society initiates inequality right from birth. The blue and pink culture implies the boundary of the boy and girl child worlds. This initiation ensures that the girl child grows up knowing her limits and societal expectations of her, as Beauvoir implies (52). The pink color implies she is a doll and emphasizes that she is an object to be adored which defines her choices in life for eternality. Any attempt to redeem herself from the pink color is not taken kindly as society scolds her for going against culture and crossing forbidden lines, as she is branded unkind names like ‘tomboy.’

The toys kids are provided with do strongly reinforce masculinity and feminism. For instance, girls are given dolls and even directed to handle them with tenderness and care, thus preparing them for motherhood. Whereas boys are provided with machinery such as cars instilled in them at a tender age, their position is the society economically, creating that desire in them to own those things in the future. This decision on selecting toys and games arises from social evaluation of the toys and games as either suitable or unsuitable for a gal or a boy and not from the babies’ biological sex. Thus the games and toys selected for girls focus more on their future roles than just the purpose of playing. Beauvoir (53) associates gender differences not only with communication but cultural practices that create a clear distinction serving as a learning point for the world she will inhabit as a woman.

Society reinforces feminism and masculinity in every way, even through advertisements in the media and textbooks, and fairytales. Advertisements displayed on television and other media are notorious for fortifying gender injustice. They enforce the boundaries girls and boys can explore, creating the impression that the girl child is suitable for practical jobs while boys can go out into the world and be creative. For instance, a manufacturer advertising cleaning substances or sewing machines use women while those marketing cars use men, clearly creating a perception of their societal roles. Advisements remind the girl child of the world she belongs to, closed everywhere and dominated by men such that no matter how far she wanders, there is also a ceiling above her, as stated by Beauvoir (52); thus, feminism is cultivated, not inborn.

Feminism is nurtured even through professionalism. Women are associated with professionals requiring care like nursing and child care, where their motherly instincts are thought to be made useful, as implied by Beauvoir (387), and an attempt to redeem themselves from this line of work earns them respect but not as much as the men in a similar profession as they are considered confused and completely lost. Currently, women have adventured into different professions but have not sealed the gap between the sexes professionally. This is greatly contributed by the career choices available to women considering the career advice they receive. Moreover, in as much as education has been made mandatory for all, fathers still groom their children into their desired profession from a tender age by exposing them to a specific environment and constantly defining their capabilities; thus, De Beauvoir’s claim that equality is an illusion since women enjoy only what men allow them.

In conclusion, feminism is indeed nurtured, just as pointed out by Simone de Beauvoir in her book, the Second Sex Volume II. Every development stage of a girl’s child from birth is dominated by reminders of her role and position in society such that she grows up aware of her boundaries. The cultural practices imposed on the girl child at every stage of growth serve to foster and maintain feminism; thus, the notion that women are naturally born feminine is misguided and misleading, as its purpose is to sustain the dominant order created by men. The pink world the girl child is initiated into at birth defines the word she is expected to inhabit and reinforces her objectivity. Women are introduced into the world of motherhood at a tender age during the selection of games and toys such that their choices are limited to those regarding care. Advertisements, textbooks, and fairytales also contribute a lot to creating boundaries as they provide a clear picture of the world the girl child is expected to inhabit. In addition, the education the girl child is subjected to all incline towards her primary destiny, which is marriage and her fundamental purpose, motherhood, all making her submissive and inferior. Therefore as much as in the current society, girls are not directly told their place in society; all signals tell them they do not inhabit the same world as boys and thus tend to focus on becoming and staying women.

Work Cited

Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex. New York: Knopf, 1953. Print.

5/5 - (4 votes)
Table of Contents