Erica Jong's Bookshelf
By Simone de Beauvoir
This is the first book that powerfully showed me how women's second-class status is a social invention. Reading de Beauvoir, I realized that if women could be made to believe they were second, they could also be made to believe they were first. I began to understand that the myth of women's inferiority was a convenient way to get women to be the unpaid laborers of the world. I understood my mother's anger and what fueled it, and I became determined to change society for the better. I was not alone. Published in the United States in 1953, de Beauvoir's theory that women are made, not born, galvanized a whole generation of women and made them eager to transform their world.