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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The best kind of love is authentic love. To love authentically involves respecting one another’s freedom, being tender and caring, and supporting each other’s independent projects. This is what Simone de Beauvoir argued, and to some degree practiced. The problem, as she saw it, was that throughout history, few have loved authentically, primarily because of women’s oppressive situation. Her existential philosophy—which foregrounds freedom from oppression and freedom to choose how to live—underpins everything she says about the challenges of loving well. Beauvoir argues that lesbian relationships and friendships point to ways in which we can transcend the bounds of traditional loving roles and expectations and realize something closer to her ideal of mature reciprocal nonsadistic, nonmasochistic mutual respect. Nevertheless, her nonsystematic approach creates tensions between freedom and commitment, marriage and authentic loving, and pragmatic means and existential ends.

Keywords: Simone de Beauvoir, existentialism, love, marriage, friendship, lesbian relationship, authenticity, freedom, choice, oppression

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