In the first issue of the old Women’s Quarterly I edited Noemie Emery had a brilliant piece on “feminist doormats” such as Simone de Beauvoir, author of “The Second Sex,” a feminist classic, who let Jean Paul Sartre walk all over her.
The piece is no longer available online, but one of Noemie’s themes was that men indoctrinated with feminist ideology treated women badly. (Teddy Kennedy’s chivalry was duly noted.)
Now the New Yorker has a piece on Sartre’s chivalry:
“Sartre preferred the company of women. As one would expect of the great advocate of transparency, he discussed his reasons frankly. ‘First of all, there is the physical element. There are of course ugly women, but I prefer those who are pretty,’ he explained in an interview for the documentary ‘Sartre by Himself.’ ‘Then, there is the fact that they’re oppressed, so they seldom bore you with shop talk….I enjoy being with a woman because I’m bored out of my mind when I have to converse in the realm of ideas.’ ‘Sartre by Himself’ was filmed in 1972, when Sartre was sixty-six; his interviewers were loyal associates from the journal he founded after the war, Les Temps Modernes. None of them encouraged him to expand on the topic, since Simone de Beauvoir was present, and everyone in the room understood that the legend of their relationship was in her keeping. But everyone in the room also knew that Sartre liked the company of women because he devoted much of his time to the business of seducing them.”