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Jesse Graham Much of a childs life is filled with much scorn and anguish.

Throughout their life theyre constantly attempting to discover their identity, while much of this has to do with their consciousness, it would be a farce to separate a persons mind from their body. When a child is first born they are cast into the world blind and nave of all their surroundings. As Simone De Beauviour claims, they apprehend the universe through their eyes and hands, and not through their sexual parts. However, this simply gives the child a basic understanding of their surroundings, they still havent matured enough to actually develop an understanding of their identity; and many will claim that an individuals identity goes hand in hand with their sexual identity. Simone De Beauviour claims that a childs first understanding of their identity correlates when theyre weaned off their mothers breasts for the first time. She states that the child will be faced with extreme torment and will fight against his mothers abandonment in two ways, he crushes himself in his mothers arms, he seeks her loving warmth, he wants her caresses. And he tries to win the approbation of others in order to justify himself. In stating this, I believe that Beauviour is making the claim that this is when a childs first introduction into existentialist tension begins, and when the child will begin to create his identity. They are feeling tension between something that they desire and something that their parents are forcing him to accept. However, I feel that the true tension children face, are when they soon forced into particular roles that coincide with their specific gender, which Beauviour believes is reinforced by the discovery of urinating through their particular sexual organs. However, in todays society this idea is shadowed by other reinforces. Things such as advertisements, television shows, toys, and clothes are constantly reinforcing masculine or feminine stereotypes. While male children are allowed to play with toys that allow them to be seen as firemen, carpenters, or race car drivers female children have a smaller selection that many people constitute as pink collar professions, bakers, nurses, or teachers. These pink collar professions commonly force the female into immanency: into ignoring the existential drama and the questions that arise when the individual is forming their identity. These professions transform the individual into more of a thing instead of an actual being. They are no longer able to say, I can but instead rely on others to tell them what the can and cannot do. This will cause the girl into believing that she is unfit and even unable to make a change or personal choice without the help of a man, which will reinforce the objective understanding that she has begun to develop through her childhood. However, if an individual chooses to either challenge these traditional roles or go against them, theyre held under a strict set of gazes and straightening devices to ensure they dont. If a young boy begins to make a fit about wanting to play nurse over doctor the father may say, men arent nurses, theyre doctors which may give the boy a sense of prestige and pride in his choice. However, on the other hand, if a young girl begins to play doctor and is told by her mother that she is unable to be a doctor shell soon believe that males are preferred only because of his penis and

compensate this desire for preferential treatment onto her dolls. Shell treat the doll as if she wants to be treated making her believe that to get attention she must imitate the doll and doll herself up. By projecting the dolls image on herself shell be unintentionally choosing the feminine role because shell be receiving rewards of compliments as well as having positive reinforcement from family and friends that its in bad faith to become anything else. However, where I greatly differ with Beauvoir in this particular reading is when she makes the general assumption, the penis gets its privileged value from the social context. By making this comment she is enforcing that the male isnt condemned to the same struggles as females. Granted, we dont have the same social struggles as females (lack of career choices as well as gross inequalities) but they struggle as much to ensure they mimic the hegemonic ideals of masculinity. In society today while women are struggling with their first introductions into womanhood, men are struggling with the idea of what it means to now be a man. Women are more accepting and open with the idea of menstruation; these things are talked about openly in class and on television, and these once vulgar topics are seen as a triumphant event for all woman. But, by doing this I feel they are isolating men who are still suppose to hold a certain amount of control over their life yet are cast on their own in these traumatic times. Beauvoir makes many fascinating and valid arguments, however these arguments are becoming dated. I feel we can take specific lines from this text and put it towards our life, but I also feel that we must not take every piece of this text as fact. Here in lays a struggle for many philosophers.