Arguably the woman that first inspired and shaped the Women’s Liberation Movement in Western Europe, Simone de Beauvoir had an emboldening influence on women engaged in a variety of vocations. Visual art is an area of influence that has been less examined in academia. This project considers the heritage of Beauvoir’s Le Deuxième Sexe in the work of five French women artists; in particular the depiction of femininity as artifice, the tensions between painted appearance and corporeal reality, and the bravery required to take action, to persistently defy the gaze of a male-coded society.

Author Biography

Rebecca Trevalyan read Modern and Medieval Languages at Clare College, Cambridge. She is now undertaking a work-based MA programme in Leadership for Sustainable Development at Forum for the Future.