Drawing on feminist and existential theory by Simone de Beauvoir, the author describes how current and historical structures have informed an experience which is unique to the female and which has strong potential to steer behaviour. Using the antagonistic concepts of subjectivity and objectivity, the author argues that the contrast between how a person experiences their subjectivity and how society views them as an object is nowhere as stark as for the woman. Whereas the female views herself as a fully responsible individual, society views her not as a human being, but as a woman. Historically, this means that she is deemed an incomplete man; a view which, as this paper describes, still finds expression in a discourse of inferiority surrounding feminine traits. The situation that flows from this discrepancy, termed “the ambiguity of the feminine”, has generated a reality in which women must either accept the social limitations that come with the stigmatisation of femininity, or learn to resent the very thing which has made the world deem her as inferior: her femininity.
Lessons for practice:
Keywords: feminism, subjectivity and objectivity, gender
Citation: Huijgen, E. (2022). Experiencing ‘Health’ despite ‘Illnesses’. Public Note, 9 (22-26)
Emma Huijgen is a beginning author in the final year of her bachelor’s degree in Politics, Psychology, Law & Economics at the University of Amsterdam. She does not really have anything to her name, except for an inexplicable love for existentialist philosophy, feminist theory, staying inside when it rains and when it doesn’t, and adding comma’s to sentences to make them longer than they need to be. Currently, she is considering pursuing a career in law, but who knows.