Senior, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Majors: Gender Studies, Political Science
Thesis Director: Anne Mitchell, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies
Faculty Reader: Kathleen Arnold, Department of Political Science
Bio: Grace Weber is a senior at DePaul University majoring in both Gender Studies and Political Science. After she graduates, she will begin her PhD in Philosophy at University College Dublin.
Abstract: In this paper, Grace uses Simone de Beauvoir’s existentialist ethics to highlight and challenge the limitations of liberal feminism. Specifically, she is concerned with how the mainstream neoliberal paradigm of feminism rewards women’s submission to patriarchal institutions. Here, she looks to Simone de Beauvoir’s conception of feminist existentialism to argue that patriarchy creates circumstances such that submission is often more desirable than the actions required to abolish its existence. For this reason, Grace critiques (neo-)liberal feminism for framing an individual’s feelings of empowerment as a sufficient condition to feminism. Instead, she uses Simone de Beauvoir’s notion of existentialism to argue that feminists must make the lifelong commitment to continually reflect on the implications of their own actions. She concludes by arguing that the aforementioned introspective efforts must begin on a personal level in order for widespread political change to occur.