"This book started an era in feminism called The Second Wave and represents the turn towards psychology and sociology from the political principles of liberty, justice and equality around which First Wave feminists argued.
The book painstakinlgy traces the causes of much of women's psychological and behavioural evolution over millenia. de Beauvoir, is more concerned about appraising the situation correctly rather than apologizing for it, and this makes the analysis very objective and in some respects also inconoclastic because she demolishes both good and bad stereotypes of women -- from Montherant's misogyny, to Caudwell's celebration of feminity.
At the same time, she does not pretentiously portray women as something they are not -- quite the same as men, far superior in everything, always in the right etc. This makes the book wonderful reading for its rich well researched, well argued insights and objectivity, although it is a tad apologetic at times and somewhat unilateral in its presentation of men as just the nameless, faceless,'other' of women.
Again many Second Wave feminists have largely concentrated on either the cosmetic-beauty imperialism, or some other aspect and not the entire yoke than bogs women. This is by far the most comprehnsive and well-rounded statement of both the feminine situation and the feminist position."