Bare buttocks are not something that usually disturb the French. Pink bottoms leer from almost every chemist's window in Paris. The publication this week of a female bottom on the cover of a serious news magazine, Le Nouvel Observateur, has caused, nevertheless, something of a stir. The bare bottom belonged to Simone de Beauvoir, writer, philosopher and seculargoddess of feminism, who was born years ago today. One feminist organisation complained that, by illustrating the centenary of Mme de Beauvoir's birth with a nude photograph taken in , the intelligent, centre-left magazine had "assaulted the dignity of women". Sixty years after she wrote one of the most influential feminist books, Le Deuxime Sexe, Simone de Beauvoir has managed to become a "cover cutie". Are women still regarded as the "second sex" in France? Florence Montreynaud is one of France's best known feminist authors. She has written about the unusual lifelong love affair and friendship between Beauvoir and the existentialist philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre. Then my second thought was 'what a fine bottom'.
News feminist philosophers can use
Celebrated photojournalist and Deerfield resident Art Shay is reading the steamier passages from French feminist and writer Simone de Beauvoir's roman a clef "The Mandarins," about her ill-fated love affair with Chicago author Nelson Algren. This isn't about fulfilling a curiosity about the personal scandals of a bygone literary era. It's not even about cheap thrills. This is a ride down memory lane for Shay, who not only knew and photographed both writers but also took an infamous shot of de Beauvoir standing naked in the bathroom of a Chicago apartment — an image still creating a stir today.
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In Chicago, , Simone de Beauvoir had a torrid affair with the American writer Nelson Algren, with whom she experienced a kind of sexual awakening. As she was freshening up, Art took a few magnificent photographs. Create an account or log in to read more and see all pictures. Subscribe for full access to The Eye of Photography archives! Explore how photography, as an art and as a social phenomenon, continue to define our experience of the world. Two offers are available. Remember Me. Subscribe now for full access to The Eye of Photography! Every morning, receive the latest world photography news and events.
Jean-Paul Sartre preferred the company of women. As one would expect of the great advocate of transparency, he discussed his reasons frankly. None of them encouraged him to expand on the topic, since Simone de Beauvoir was present, and everyone in the room understood that the legend of their relationship was in her keeping. But everyone in the room also knew that Sartre liked the company of women because he devoted much of his time to the business of seducing them. Beauvoir and Sartre had no interest in varnishing the facts out of respect for bourgeois notions of decency. Disrespect for bourgeois notions of decency was precisely the point.