The manifesto of 343 sluts
I learnt more about this society since 1974 from Jacqueline, a well-educated and friendly classmate who spoke English as I didn’t know French yet. To attend my art college Ecole des Beaux-Arts on 14 rue Bonaparte, Paris 6, I had to get to the Boulevard St Germain metro station where there’s a café called Café de Flore. Jacqueline would take me to Café de Flore and I’d listen to her fairytale-like stories as she helped me understand French culture. This café was where I discovered existential feminist philosopher, political activist and author of The Second Sex. She’d come with her companion, Jean Paul Sartre, the existential philosopher, they’d sit and write for days on end, have heated discussions together or with other friends and intellectuals. As I’d just come from a patriarchal society, it was difficult for me to understand the concept of feminism then. My deep-dose learning about famous feminists becoming “sluts”, and existential philosophy that was in the making in Paris, began in Café de Flore.
From mid-20th century, French writer Simone de Beauvoir’s
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