University of Hertfordshire

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Past Her Prime? Simone de Beauvoir on Motherhood and Old Age

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Katherine Kirkpatrick
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-287
Number of pages13
JournalSophia: International Journal of Philosophy and Traditions
Early online date29 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2014


Despite her reputation as the ‘Mother’ of second-wave feminism, Simone de Beauvoir is not usually heralded as a mother-friendly feminist. In The Second Sex, the passages dedicated to the female body—and especially the pregnant female body—have been dismissed as unfortunate expressions of internalized patriarchy or personal idiosyncrasy. By comparing Beauvoir’s later analysis of old age to aspects of the experience of pregnancy and early motherhood, this essay suggests that Beauvoir’s later work Old Age offers a rich untapped resource for understanding her thinking on maternity.


Kate Kirkpatrick, 'Past her Prime? Simone de Beauvoir on Motherhood and Old Age', Sophia, Vol. 53 (2): 275-287, June 2014, doi:

ID: 10489145