"All agree in recognizing the fact that females exist in the human species; today as always they make up about one half of humanity. And yet we are told that femininity is in danger; we are exhorted to be women, remain women, become women. It would appear, then, that every female human being is not necessarily a woman; to be so considered she must share in that mysterious and threatened reality known as femininity. Is this attribute something secreted by the ovaries? Or is it a Platonic essence, a product of the philosophical imagination? Is a rustling petticoat enough to bring it down to earth?"
— Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, p. xix
"En écrivant une œuvre nourrie de mon histoire, je me créerais moi-même à neuf et je justifierais mon existence. En même temps, je servirais l’humanité : quel plus beau cadeau lui faire que des livres ?"
— Simone de Beauvoir, Mémoires d’une jeune fille rangée
"The real world, that was what I lived with you."
— Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvoir in 1975, “Conversations with Jean-Paul Sartre”, second part of her book Adieux
"They [feminists] have studied and thought, and they want to make changes that will benefit all of society. Throughout the world, women are still being sold, beaten, raped, and killed, so this is a struggle that must be in the minds of all women and be the basis of all feminist behaviour. We can no longer tolerate anti-feminist behaviour, from other women or from men."
Simone de Beauvoir, 1984 Britannica Book of the Year, p.28
[Isn’t it sad that this quote fits perfectly in the 2014 society? 30 years have passed but…]
"[Old] age is a problem on which all the failures of society converge. And this is why it is so carefully hidden."
— Simone de Beauvoir, interview to Nina Sutton about her book La Vieillesse (The Guardian, Feb. 16, 1970)
"The erotic experience is one that most poignantly discloses to human beings the ambiguity of their condition; in it they are aware of themselves as flesh and as spirit, as the other and as the subject. This conflict has more dramatic shape for woman because at first she feels herself to be object and does not at once realize a sure independence in sex enjoyment; she must regain her dignity as transcendent and free subject while assuming her carnal condition - an enterprise fraught with difficulty and danger, and one that often fails."
— Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, p. 402
"It continues to be more difficult for a woman than for a man to establish the relations with the other sex that she desires. Her erotic and affectional life encounters numerous difficulties. In this matter the unemancipated woman is i no way privileged: sexually and affectionally most wives and courtesans are deeply frustrated. If the difficulties are more evident in the case of the independent woman, it is because she has chosen battle rather than resignation."
— Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, p. 686
"Vous savez, pour moi l’existence ne va pas de soi, bien que j’aie toujours été très heureuse, peut-être parce que je veux tellement être heureuse. J’aime avec passion la vie, j’abomine l’idée de devoir mourir. Je suis terriblement avide, aussi, je veux tout de la vie, être une femme et aussi un homme, avoir beaucoup d’amis, et aussi la solitude, travailler énormément, écrire de bons livres, et aussi voyager, m’amuser, être égoïste, et aussi généreuse… Vous voyez, ce n’est pas facile d’avoir tout ce que je veux. Or quand je n’y parviens pas, ça me rend folle de colère."
— Simone de Beauvoir, lettre à Nelson Algren, 3 juillet 1947.