Given the opportunity, I would have asked Simone de Beauvoir many questions, the first being:
Did you ever stop to consider that your Roman Catholic upbringing might have negatively influenced your reading of Genesis, and other books of the Bible?
The second question (depending on her answer to the first):
Have you ever made a serious study of the books of the Bible as a cohesive, unfolding history, examining the text in the original languages, with consideration of the literary genres used, and the historical, religious, and political contexts in which the books were written?
(I can’t find anywhere that she ever made a serious study of the books of the Bible in part or in whole, let alone possessed a working knowledge of Hebrew or Koine Greek.)
I would begin with these two questions because I find again and again in Beauvoir’s writings (and those who hold similar philosophical views) the incorrect associations/beliefs:
Roman Catholicism = Christianity
Roman Catholic = Christian
The Crusades = Christian politics / military behavior
A third question might be (depending on how the conversation was going):
How was being “Sartre’s woman” (and Algren’s) any more liberating, philosophically, physically, emotionally or otherwise, than being a follower of a religion that sees woman as second to man?
From a distance, seems to me like Beauvoir’s view of life wasn’t so beau nor was it sans parti pris. But I can’t blame her. We all are influenced by experiences in childhood, for good or for bad. And those influences, many times, come out in ways that we don’t even realize, even the most intellectual of us.
**A negative filter has been added to the photo of my copy of The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir to emphasize my point and to accentuate the blurred effect on the word second. No offense to the designer, of course.