The not born, but rather becomes, woman” because

The philosopher Judith Butler writes that Beauvoir’s formulation that “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman” distinguishes the terms “sex” and “gender”. Borde and Malovany-Chevalier, in their complete English version, translated this formulation as “One is not born, but rather becomes, woman” because in this context (one of many different usages of “woman” in the book), the word is used by Beauvoir to mean woman as a construct or an idea, rather than woman as an individual or one of a group. Butler writes that the book suggests that “gender” is an aspect of identity which is “gradually acquired”. Butler sees The Second Sex as potentially providing a radical understanding of gender.94The biographer Deirdre Bair, writing in her “Introduction to the Vintage Edition” in 1989, relates that “one of the most sustained criticisms” has been that Beauvoir is “guilty of unconscious misogyny”, that she separated herself from women while writing about them.95 Bair writes that the French writer Francis Jeanson and the British poet Stevie Smith made similar criticisms: in Smith’s words, “She has written an enormous