I’ve been reading Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex over the past few months, and it is the most important book I’ve read in my 31 years. One particular part inspired my solutionventing of the location logging device for solo female travelers. I’m aware that both men and women are at risk when travelling, but I care more about the female side of the story and here’s why:
…for one to become a creator, it is not enough to be cultivated, that is, to make going to shows and meeting people part of one’s life; culture must be apprehended through the free movement of a transcendence; the spirit with all its riches must project itself in an empty sky that is its to fill; but if a thousand fine bonds tie it to the earth, its surge is broken. The girl today can certainly go out alone, stroll in the Teulieres; but I have already said how hostile the street is: eyes everywhere, hands waiting; if she wanders absentmindedly, her thoughts elsewhere, if she lights a cigarette in a cafe, if she goes to the cinema alone, an unpleasant incident can quickly occur; she must inspire respect by the way she dresses and behaves: this concern rivets her to the ground and to self. “Her wings are clipped.””
At eighteen, T. E. Lawrence went on a grand tour through France by bicycle; a young girl would never be permitted to take on such an adventure; still less would it be possible for her to take off on foot for a half-desert and dangerous country as Lawrence did. Yet such experiences have an inestimable impact: this is how an individual in the headiness of freedom and discovery learns to look at the entire world as his fief.
Even though The Second Sex was originally released in 1953, I still feel that my wings are clipped when I take a walk in South America. I feel it’s important to challenge ourselves to find solutions that empower women like me to go on “dangerous” adventures where we can learn to look at the entire world as our fief.