Coalition as a counterpoint to the intersectional critique of The Second Sex

in Sartre Studies International
Author: Emma McNicol1
View More View Less
  • 1 Doctoral Candidate, Monash University, Australia
Restricted access


The analogy Simone de Beauvoir draws between “les femmes” and “des Noirs d'Amérique” is a key part of the intersectional critique of The Second Sex. Intersectional critics persuasively argue that Beauvoir's analogy reveals the white, middle-class identity of The Second Sex's ostensibly universal “woman”, emphasizing the fact that the text does not account for the experiences of black, Jewish, proletariat or indigenous women. In this essay, I point to multiple instances in The Second Sex in which Beauvoir endorses a coalition between workers black and white, male and female. When Beauvoir writes on economic injustice, she advocates for an inclusive workers party where racial and sexual differences become immaterial as workers come together in a collective struggle. I thus propose that Beauvoir's Marxism is an overlooked, yet important, counterpoint to the intersectional critique of The Second Sex.

Contributor Notes

Emma McNicol is a doctoral candidate at Monash University and recipient of the Cecile Parrish Memorial Scholarship. She is a Teaching Associate in the Schools of Languages, Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics and Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University. Her PhD thesis interrogates prominent Anglo-American critiques of The Second Sex. She is the Director of the Melbourne Centre for Feminist Philosophy, an Editorial Assistant at Simone de Beauvoir Studies Journal and has published widely on Simone de Beauvoir, feminist theory and film.

Sartre Studies International

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Existentialism and Contemporary Culture