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She then examines the spread of birth control methods from ancient Egypt to the twentieth century, and then touches on the history of abortion.Beauvoir writes that women who have finally begun to feel at home on the earth like Rosa Luxemburg and Marie Curie "brilliantly demonstrate that it is not women's inferiority that has determined their historical insignificance: it is their historical insignificance that has doomed them to inferiority".

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Beauvoir writes that these "examples show that the great collective myths are reflected in each singular writer".

The chapter closes with the thought, "The absence or insignificance of the female element in a body of work is symptomatic...

Beauvoir researched and wrote the book in about 14 months when she was 38 years old. The first, "Biological Data", describes the relationship of ovum to sperm in various creatures (fish, insects, mammals), leading up to the human being.

She describes women's subordination to the species in terms of reproduction, compares the physiology of men and women, and ultimately declares that values cannot be based on physiology and that the facts of biology must be viewed in light of the ontological, economic, social, and physiological context.

To illustrate man's experience of the "horror of feminine fertility", Beauvoir quotes the British Medical Journal of 1878 in which a member of the British Medical Association writes, "It is an indisputable fact that meat goes bad when touched by menstruating women." She quotes poetry by André Breton, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Michel Leiris, Paul Verlaine, Edgar Allan Poe, Paul Valéry, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and William Shakespeare (Hamlet) along with other novels, philosophers, and films (Citizen Kane).

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