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Beauvoir and Her Sisters

The Politics of Women's Bodies in France

Sandra Reineke

Publication Year: 2011

Beauvoir and Her Sisters investigates how women's experiences, as represented in print culture, led to a political identity of an "imagined sisterhood" through which political activism developed and thrived in postwar France. Through the lens of women's political and popular writings, Sandra Reineke presents a unique interpretation of feminist and intellectual discourse on citizenship, identity, and reproductive rights._x000B__x000B_Drawing on feminist writings by Simone de Beauvoir, feminist reviews from the women's liberation movement, and cultural reproductions from French women's fashion and beauty magazines, Reineke illustrates how print media created new spaces for political and social ideas. This sustained study extends from 1944, when women received the right to vote in France, to 1993, when the French government outlawed anti-abortion activities. Touching on the relationship between consumer culture and feminist practice, Reineke's analysis of a selection of women's writings underlines how these texts challenged traditional gender models and ideals._x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

My work on this book has benefited from the help and support of many individuals, institutions, and research facilities. At Indiana University, where this study was conceived, I wish to thank my mentor, Jean C. Robinson, who inspired, trained, and guided me, as well as the university’s librarians, who aided me in hunting down needed materials. ...

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pp. xi-xxii

This book examines a perennial political question: Are women citizens, and if so, how can they speak and act together politically? Recent research in the area of gender and politics has started to shed light on the questions of when and how women participate in political terms. ...

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1. The Body, Writing, and Citizenship Rights

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pp. 1-18

Before I turn to analyzing how three specific types of women’s writing— high feminist literature (chap. 2), popular women’s magazines (chap. 3), and feminist reviews (chap. 4)—helped create an alternative social space for women to gather information and exchange experiences about female sexuality and reproductive rights in postwar France, ...

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2. Secondary Citizens

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pp. 19-34

This chapter examines how the French philosopher and novelist Simone de Beauvoir complicated and worked through projections of female corporeality in two of her major works, Le Deuxième sexe (1949) and Les Belles images (1966). My reading of these works presents Beauvoir as a feminist critic of French postwar consumer culture ...

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3. Citizen Consumers

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pp. 35-53

In November 1970, the women’s magazine Elle staged a unique publicity event outside Paris. The magazine’s staff organized a series of conferences or meetings, called a “Women’s General Assembly” (États généraux de la femme), with the objective to zero in on French women’s expectations for social change, ...

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4. Dissident Citizens

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pp. 54-70

On August 26, 1970, nine women trespassed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier underneath the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, where they laid a wreath in memory of the soldier’s unknown wife. (They had chosen this date because it marked the fiftieth anniversary of women’s right to vote in the United States.) ...

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pp. 71-76

My main point in writing this study was to show how women’s writing has contributed to feminist political contestations that have challenged the abstract concept of citizenship to include women’s rights in postwar France. The feminist political contestations I examined are exemplified in the political struggle for reproductive freedom, ...


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pp. 77-80


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pp. 81-98


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pp. 99-102

About the Author, Publication Information

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E-ISBN-13: 9780252093227
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252036194

Page Count: 128
Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 741407660
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Beauvoir and Her Sisters

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Feminism -- France -- History -- 20th century.
  • Feminist literature -- France -- History and criticism.
  • Citizenship -- France.
  • Women -- Political activity -- France.
  • Women -- Sexual behavior -- France.
  • Women -- Identity.
  • Beauvoir, Simone de, -- 1908-1986 -- Criticism and interpretation.
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