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Dreamspirit

To pursue or be pursued?

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What does objectivism hold as the rational way for the opposite sex to pursue romantic interest? In general, is it the most rational for men to pursue women, or is this irrelevant? I find that usually in our culture, men do not think of women as members of the opposite sex, but as buddies with different plumbing. It is very unsatisfying as a woman, I like to be pursued, and be appreciated through my feminine qualities, not as a buddy with benefits. It is very frustrating to have to change my own natural behavior to have a conversation with a timid man who I am interested in.

Does modern feminism dehumanize men and rob them of their sexual self confidence? This is what I've always thought. There is an implicit hatred in society for traditional masculinity, and most young men learn to de emphasize their behavior because of this. Acknowledginng the strengths that one sex tends to have which is complemented by the other, is not in any way sexist.

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What does objectivism hold as the rational way for the opposite sex to pursue romantic interest? In general, is it the most rational for men to pursue women, or is this irrelevant? I find that usually in our culture, men do not think of women as members of the opposite sex, but as buddies with different plumbing. It is very unsatisfying as a woman, I like to be pursued, and be appreciated through my feminine qualities, not as a buddy with benefits. It is very frustrating to have to change my own natural behavior to have a conversation with a timid man who I am interested in.

Does modern feminism dehumanize men and rob them of their sexual self confidence? This is what I've always thought. There is an implicit hatred in society for traditional masculinity, and most young men learn to de emphasize their behavior because of this. Acknowledginng the strengths that one sex tends to have which is complemented by the other, is not in any way sexist.

As to your first point, certainly Rand thought it was more appropriate for men to pursue women in romance and for them to take the active part. In her own life, however, she did not do this - she pursued Frank O'Connor (in fact she tripped him), she pursued Nathaniel Branden, and she may have pursued several other young men as well although they did not actually begin a relationship. I am hesitant to speak for "Objectivism" but my honest understanding is that, like so many other things, IT DEPENDS ON THE INDIVIDUAL. Clearly, from your post, you prefer to be pursued. If this is the case, you should probably strive to be with men who are willing to pursue you. There is such a thing as romantic compatibility in addition to just personal compatibility. You should not apologize for or be ashamed of your preferences. However, you should also understand that they are not universal and that it is not "better" to prefer to be the pursuer or the pursued. In fact, it may even change from relationship to relationship - with one person you (the royal you, not you in particular) might do better as the pursuer and in another relationship with a different person it might be better for you to sit back and wait.

There are many rational reasons to take either role (or to mix them up, there's no law that says each person can't do a bit of both). When you pursue, you can feel confident that you are taking action to achieve a value and that your success or failure is more dependent upon what you yourself have done. On the other hand, you run the risk of rejection and you are "showing your hand", so to speak. When you are being pursued, you essentially ask the other party to make an "upfront investment" in you. You have a position of power whereby you can take or leave what someone else has offered. The downside to this is that you may feel like you are left waiting around, that you aren't doing anything, that the dynamics of your relationship depend primarily on another. It is my belief that either the pursuer or the pursued can be "in control", but they are different forms of control.

Your second point re: feminism. I don't know. It depends on what sort of feminism you mean. There is a type that seems to hate masculinity for its own sake as well as any behaviors perceived to be masculine, such as assertiveness, stoicism, etc. I would not, however, blame feminism per se for the lack of confidence the young men you run across seem to feel. I would just say they probably don't have much self-esteem which is a cultural problem more generally. Keep in mind that many, if not most of those traits often associated with masculinity are also strongly tied to individualism. Someone who does not know how to be an independent guy may simultaneously lack "masculine" qualities for that reason.

I will just finish with the thought that often thinking of "men qua men" and "women qua women" obscures the issue, in my opinion. There are many different kinds of both men and women, which is a good thing. Keeping the discussion to opposite-sex relationships for simplicity's sake, a "traditionally" masculine man might be a wonderful mate for one woman but not another. Although clearly some qualities are objectively desirable (intelligence, good health, strong character), the precise combinations of those traits that are optimal are highly individualized. Some women would consider a wealthy, powerful man dedicated to a socially-valued career (doctor, lawyer, politician) and desiring to be in charge of his household and family a wonderful mate, but I would not.

The most important thing is to stay true to yourself and your values. If you won't be happy with a passive guy, then don't pursue them and make yourself uncomfortable. On the other hand, if you're just striking up a conversation with a more timid guy, that doesn't seem like such a big deal. You're just talking, right? You don't expect every man you talk to or befriend to be a potential partner, do you?

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As to your first point, certainly Rand thought it was more appropriate for men to pursue women in romance and for them to take the active part. In her own life, however, she did not do this - she pursued Frank O'Connor (in fact she tripped him), she pursued Nathaniel Branden, and she may have pursued several other young men as well although they did not actually begin a relationship. I am hesitant to speak for "Objectivism" but my honest understanding is that, like so many other things, IT DEPENDS ON THE INDIVIDUAL. Clearly, from your post, you prefer to be pursued. If this is the case, you should probably strive to be with men who are willing to pursue you. There is such a thing as romantic compatibility in addition to just personal compatibility. You should not apologize for or be ashamed of your preferences. However, you should also understand that they are not universal and that it is not "better" to prefer to be the pursuer or the pursued. In fact, it may even change from relationship to relationship - with one person you (the royal you, not you in particular) might do better as the pursuer and in another relationship with a different person it might be better for you to sit back and wait.

There are many rational reasons to take either role (or to mix them up, there's no law that says each person can't do a bit of both). When you pursue, you can feel confident that you are taking action to achieve a value and that your success or failure is more dependent upon what you yourself have done. On the other hand, you run the risk of rejection and you are "showing your hand", so to speak. When you are being pursued, you essentially ask the other party to make an "upfront investment" in you. You have a position of power whereby you can take or leave what someone else has offered. The downside to this is that you may feel like you are left waiting around, that you aren't doing anything, that the dynamics of your relationship depend primarily on another. It is my belief that either the pursuer or the pursued can be "in control", but they are different forms of control.

Your second point re: feminism. I don't know. It depends on what sort of feminism you mean. There is a type that seems to hate masculinity for its own sake as well as any behaviors perceived to be masculine, such as assertiveness, stoicism, etc. I would not, however, blame feminism per se for the lack of confidence the young men you run across seem to feel. I would just say they probably don't have much self-esteem which is a cultural problem more generally. Keep in mind that many, if not most of those traits often associated with masculinity are also strongly tied to individualism. Someone who does not know how to be an independent guy may simultaneously lack "masculine" qualities for that reason.

I will just finish with the thought that often thinking of "men qua men" and "women qua women" obscures the issue, in my opinion. There are many different kinds of both men and women, which is a good thing. Keeping the discussion to opposite-sex relationships for simplicity's sake, a "traditionally" masculine man might be a wonderful mate for one woman but not another. Although clearly some qualities are objectively desirable (intelligence, good health, strong character), the precise combinations of those traits that are optimal are highly individualized. Some women would consider a wealthy, powerful man dedicated to a socially-valued career (doctor, lawyer, politician) and desiring to be in charge of his household and family a wonderful mate, but I would not.

The most important thing is to stay true to yourself and your values. If you won't be happy with a passive guy, then don't pursue them and make yourself uncomfortable. On the other hand, if you're just striking up a conversation with a more timid guy, that doesn't seem like such a big deal. You're just talking, right? You don't expect every man you talk to or befriend to be a potential partner, do you?

I guess it is frustrating because I want a particular thing, and there are only a small number of men who pursue me, so there is very little chance of getting what I want. Although I can find my type of men that will submit to being pursued by me they usually treat it like any other relationship, except with sexual attraction (ie. buddy with benefits) it is not very satisfying at all, but it yields more satisfaction than submitting to a guy who isn't very close to what I want.

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Why would it be more rational for men to pursue women? I never have found a reason to suppose this is so. The only basis I'd have is what is usually done socially speaking, but norms aren't an indicator of what is rational or not. A traditional "men are pursuers, women are the ones pursued" is an untenable position to have because of same-sex couples, multi-person romantic arrangements, transgender people, and really whatever you can imagine about different self-identities (I'm not going to get into those, at least not yet). The way I see it, pursuit is more of a matter of who has the greatest immediate interest in having a relationship, and that's how it goes. Historically speaking, women seemed to have been the pursued because it was expected or reasonable to expect women to be homemakers. Expected to be passive in general. I imagine what may be nice about being pursued is that the other person is clearly into you. But a male would certainly like that, too. Still, if achieving high levels of valuation is your goal, just hoping to be pursued won't get you anywhere. You can't just sit around expecting to have any kind of relationship by hoping someone decides to pursue you (friendship or romance).

What I'm getting it is somewhat similar to what Kat is saying: depends on the individual. I'd go further by saying that if you like someone enough, it is practically obligatory to act and pursue the other person, male or female. In the sense that if someone is objectively beneficial to your well-being, you should do something about it. Waiting on someone else to act when you already have an interest, I'd call second-handedness. Pursuit makes sense to the extent you're into someone, being pursued makes sense to the extent you're unsure about a person. And the sex of the person does not matter.

This is what I've always thought. There is an implicit hatred in society for traditional masculinity, and most young men learn to de emphasize their behavior because of this.

Can you explain further what you mean by traditional masculinity? Use examples. Also, can you explain why you think tradition really has any relevant implication on what is a rational behavior relating to romantic interests?

Edited by Eiuol

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Why would it be more rational for men to pursue women? I never have found a reason to suppose this is so. The only basis I'd have is what is usually done socially speaking, but norms aren't an indicator of what is rational or not. A traditional "men are pursuers, women are the ones pursued" is an untenable position to have because of same-sex couples, multi-person romantic arrangements, transgender people, and really whatever you can imagine about different self-identities (I'm not going to get into those, at least not yet). The way I see it, pursuit is more of a matter of who has the greatest immediate interest in having a relationship, and that's how it goes. Historically speaking, women seemed to have been the pursued because it was expected or reasonable to expect women to be homemakers. Expected to be passive in general. I imagine what may be nice about being pursued is that the other person is clearly into you. But a male would certainly like that, too. Still, if achieving high levels of valuation is your goal, just hoping to be pursued won't get you anywhere. You can't just sit around expecting to have any kind of relationship by hoping someone decides to pursue you (friendship or romance).

What I'm getting it is somewhat similar to what Kat is saying: depends on the individual. I'd go further by saying that if you like someone enough, it is practically obligatory to act and pursue the other person, male or female. In the sense that if someone is objectively beneficial to your well-being, you should do something about it. Waiting on someone else to act when you already have an interest, I'd call second-handedness. Pursuit makes sense to the extent you're into someone, being pursued makes sense to the extent you're unsure about a person. And the sex of the person does not matter.

Can you explain further what you mean by traditional masculinity? Use examples. Also, can you explain why you think tradition really has any relevant implication on what is a rational behavior relating to romantic interests?

You're misunderstanding me. I only use the word tradition in a biological sense, not in a tribal or community standards sense. Biologically, the sexes are programmed to act in certain ways and sometimes if they deviate from that it can denote a psychological flaw. It is just fact that nearly all psychologically healthy women get satisfaction from being the more passive one, it doesn't have anything to do with being domestic. I do pursue men that I have a strong attraction to, but I have a psychological need to be the passive one who gives in to the man. This is why it feels empty.

Edited by Dreamspirit

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It is just fact that nearly all psychologically healthy women get satisfaction from being the more passive one, it doesn't have anything to do with being domestic.

That's what I completely question, though. I don't have any evidence to have a conclusion that women, when psychologically healthy, necessarily get any more or less satisfaction than a man at being more passive. With a lesbian romantic relationship, it would be nonsense to suggest that both of them would be passive if they are to be psychologically healthy. I'm not sure how two passive people could have a relationship. And if they don't have to both be passive to be psychologically healthy, then it's a pointless generalization to say "nearly all psychologically healthy women get satisfaction from being the passive one". The best you can do is say "some people can be psychologically healthy and get satisfaction from being more passive." In which case you'd have to decide if being pursued is better, or pursuing, or just an equal and balanced method.

There cannot be tradition in a biological sense, at least not when people have volition. Even still, biologically speaking, I don't know where you'd get the idea that women are any more passive, except for stereotypes.

To mention though, I have wondered if perhaps passivity relates to sexuality. I've never heard of a non-heterosexual female who has ever said "I'm a female, therefore, I prefer to be passive most often when it comes to romantic relationships". Or that just may be cultural bias going on. Traditional approaches to romance *seem* to only really work for heterosexual people, though of course heterosexual people aren't limited to traditional approaches.

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You're misunderstanding me. I only use the word tradition in a biological sense, not in a tribal or community standards sense. Biologically, the sexes are programmed to act in certain ways and sometimes if they deviate from that it can denote a psychological flaw. It is just fact that nearly all psychologically healthy women get satisfaction from being the more passive one, it doesn't have anything to do with being domestic. I do pursue men that I have a strong attraction to, but I have a psychological need to be the passive one who gives in to the man. This is why it feels empty.

Check your premises. There is no biological tradition, as you say. Sometimes men do the pursuit, and sometimes women do. Not only is it culturally contingent, but it also varies within a given society. Can you present any evidence for the claim that psychologically healthy women, in general (I am softening your claim a bit), get satisfaction from being pursued in a way that a psychologically healthy man would not?

Now, that said, there is no reason for you to think that YOU are not psychologically healthy and justified in preferring a more romantically aggressive male partner. As I said before, if that is a priority for you, go ahead and hold out for it rather than "settling" and you will be much happier. In the meantime, make friends with those nice but passive boys you like talking to. What's the harm?

Eiuol, you might need to check your premises too - I do know some queer women who prefer to be pursued romantically. Most are "femme" but not all. I would agree with you that as a proportion of the population there are probably fewer romantically passive women among queers.

There are still many, many straight women who like to take the initiative in romance, up to a point at least. I don't think many people of either sex want to "do it all" or else you start to wonder if your partner really reciprocates your feelings.

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That's what I completely question, though. I don't have any evidence to have a conclusion that women, when psychologically healthy, necessarily get any more or less satisfaction than a man at being more passive. With a lesbian romantic relationship, it would be nonsense to suggest that both of them would be passive if they are to be psychologically healthy. I'm not sure how two passive people could have a relationship. And if they don't have to both be passive to be psychologically healthy, then it's a pointless generalization to say "nearly all psychologically healthy women get satisfaction from being the passive one". The best you can do is say "some people can be psychologically healthy and get satisfaction from being more passive." In which case you'd have to decide if being pursued is better, or pursuing, or just an equal and balanced method.

There cannot be tradition in a biological sense, at least not when people have volition. Even still, biologically speaking, I don't know where you'd get the idea that women are any more passive, except for stereotypes.

To mention though, I have wondered if perhaps passivity relates to sexuality. I've never heard of a non-heterosexual female who has ever said "I'm a female, therefore, I prefer to be passive most often when it comes to romantic relationships". Or that just may be cultural bias going on. Traditional approaches to romance *seem* to only really work for heterosexual people, though of course heterosexual people aren't limited to traditional approaches.

When I said traditional masculinity, I did mean in terms of sexuality, not necessarily homosexual or heterosexual, but how he approaches the opposite sex. I'm not talking about homosexuals here, when I say women, I'm assuming heterosexuals or predominant heterosexuals. I'm saying that biology wants women to be the more passive ones and men to be the more agressive ones in order to create more offspring. The sexes evolved to carry out this behavior and do it as efficiently and well as possible. The word "traditional" doesn't mean anything, except in the sense that the agressive behavior that is most beneficial for creating is what is what is most accepted by the culture in the past. If I said "natural" that wouldn't really make any sense, because men and women are natural no matter what they do because they exist naturally. Women can certainly be agressive if for example they see a man as the total package and they are not being pursued by him or they are desperate. Men can certainly be more emotional and submissive if they are depressed and have lost all confidence in themselves. In fact, there have been studies that suggests girls are naturally inclined to become more agressive/dominant if they experience distress during adolesence and boys are more naturally inclined to become depressive or self destructive. I can't find the article any more, but I know there was an article about it in scientific american.

Of course there are individuals who are different, but judging by Rand's writing, I'm sure she thought that it was most beneficial for sexual relationships to be between a sexually agressive man and a passive woman. Even though in the fountainhead Hank Rearden's love kind of seeks him out, she is still passive in general. Given that sex is a physical capacity and psychologically healthy women look up to men, as well as an expression of self esteem it seems to me that it would be more rational for heterosexual couples to behave that way towards each other.

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When I said traditional masculinity, I did mean in terms of sexuality, not necessarily homosexual or heterosexual, but how he approaches the opposite sex. I'm not talking about homosexuals here, when I say women, I'm assuming heterosexuals or predominant heterosexuals. I'm saying that biology wants women to be the more passive ones and men to be the more agressive ones in order to create more offspring. The sexes evolved to carry out this behavior and do it as efficiently and well as possible.

This is factually incorrect. Most complex organisms employ multiple sexual strategies for each sex.

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Of course there are individuals who are different, but judging by Rand's writing, I'm sure she thought that it was most beneficial for sexual relationships to be between a sexually agressive man and a passive woman.

And? It doesn't so much matter what she thought, as what she could prove (or at least support), and I'm not so sure she did on this point.

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This is factually incorrect. Most complex organisms employ multiple sexual strategies for each sex.

Yes, but generally men are the more agressive ones in nature because they have higher levels of testosterone and the sex differences in the brain make the sexes more likely to be good at certain things or react in certain ways. For example, women tend to pay more attention to details, but this doesn't mean a man can't notice more details than the women, because it could be a learned trait or he may be more intelligent than the women.

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Eiuol, you might need to check your premises too - I do know some queer women who prefer to be pursued romantically. Most are "femme" but not all. I would agree with you that as a proportion of the population there are probably fewer romantically passive women among queers.

Useful to know. :thumbsup: Although what I was thinking more in the lines was what's in the nature of women to do, and rejection of those ideas, not that there never is a preference.

Edited by Eiuol

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Does modern feminism dehumanize men and rob them of their sexual self confidence? This is what I've always thought. There is an implicit hatred in society for traditional masculinity, and most young men learn to de emphasize their behavior because of this. Acknowledginng the strengths that one sex tends to have which is complemented by the other, is not in any way sexist.

*getting it out of the way that I am talking about straight relationships here and do not have any experience with any homosexual ones and have no desire to do so if it sounds biased

Growing up in the age of the 'manchild' where traditional masculinity has been tossed aside by our culture (Adam Sandler's typical characters are excellent examples of this archetype) I believe that feminism and the prevalence of single mothers have allowed most younger men to remain stuck in a prolonged adolescence. Our culture also contributes to this phenomenon with mind numbing displays of irresponsibility like MTV and Jackass. This environment teaches young women they are strong and powerful and independent, and better than men, but on the flip side it also degrades men and the absence of father figures tends to lead to a specific situation of romantic incompetence. Two relatively common symptoms of this can easily be described as the "will you please go out with me" approach from men who's mothers taught them to be 'nice' and shower compliments on their girlfriends, or the irresponsible man who does not take pride in himself and coasts along. I myself was the former for a while until my father retaught me about interacting with the opposite sex, and from my experience it is much easier to find girls and many more are interested in you as a man if you reflect the more traditional masculinity and maintain an almost arrogant air about you, but always keep the tone light and playful.

So in short: Yes i believe men should pursue women, but not try to 'win them over' as many try to do.

Edited by rdrdrdrd

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Given that sex is a physical capacity and psychologically healthy women look up to men, as well as an expression of self esteem it seems to me that it would be more rational for heterosexual couples to behave that way towards each other.

In reality, people exist all over the spectrum of sexual aggression, for all kinds of "normal" reasons which span their entire lives. If you have reached adulthood and your life is more or less balanced for happiness (healthy self-esteem, satisfying career, fun hobbies, good physical shape, etc.), and you are male and less aggressive than other males and females, then that is just the reality of your person. No mess-ups, it's just who you are. I see the issue as one of personality to the core, and one that really can't be directly changed. Nor should one even try to change it. Would you try to change your sense of humor? What about your preferences in artistic things or music? They are just your preferences, end of story. They may change over time as your self and ideas evolve, but you cannot force yourself to do it today or tomorrow, and there is no reason to even try.

There is no "ideal" in the realm of sexual aggression, except as it relates to your spouse/other. If you have found a spouse whom you love for all the right reasons, and you are compatible with each other, who cares who is more or less sexually aggressive?

Otherwise: Why do women "look up to" men? What does that mean? How would you have a heterosexual couple revert to this type of behavior if it is not already a part of their persons? How could they force it? If it had to be forced to "be" at all, why should they do it?

Edited by JASKN

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In reality, people exist all over the spectrum of sexual aggression, for all kinds of "normal" reasons which span their entire lives. If you have reached adulthood and your life is more or less balanced for happiness (healthy self-esteem, satisfying career, fun hobbies, good physical shape, etc.), and you are male and less aggressive than other males and females, then that is just the reality of your person. No mess-ups, it's just who you are. I see the issue as one of personality to the core, and one that really can't be directly changed. Nor should one even try to change it. Would you try to change your sense of humor? What about your preferences in artistic things or music? They are just your preferences, end of story. They may change over time as your self and ideas evolve, but you cannot force yourself to do it today or tomorrow, and there is no reason to even try.

There is no "ideal" in the realm of sexual aggression, except as it relates to your spouse/other. If you have found a spouse whom you love for all the right reasons, and you are compatible with each other, who cares who is more or less sexually aggressive?

Otherwise: Why do women "look up to" men? What does that mean? How would you have a heterosexual couple revert to this type of behavior if it is not already a part of their persons? How could they force it? If it had to be forced to "be" at all, why should they do it?

I know what you're talking about, and I didn't mean to imply people don't have varying degrees of agression when they are happy and successful, I just think there must be something wrong in our culture that is making men interact funny around the opposite sex. My ideal man isn't some domineering womanizer, not in the least but if a man is the least bit "artistic" or whatever he seems to be way less sexually masculine than he should be these days.

Psychologically healthy women look up to their strength and view it as something they want to own not conquer. Since there isn't much strength to own I guess that's why so many gravitate towards feminism.

Edited by Dreamspirit

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To address rd, there is no indication as far as I can tell that feminism has anything to do with what has been discussed here. If anything, what promotes insecurity is gender essentialism of “women are from Venus, men are from Mars” where males and females are by nature different. Combine that with non-egoistic personal philosophy being the norm, and you'll have problems. Males may accept such a dichotomy of behavior, resulting in feeling a need to find a way to speak to females, when in fact there is no real different method that is needed. When a person sees another as almost a different species, insecurity is bound to happen. This sort of behavior is certainly taught. American culture seems to promote traditional masculinity (and femininity!) more so than the avoidance of those concepts.

For whatever reason, it is more acceptable for a woman to be “masculine” (not wearing makeup, enjoying video games, being a computer programmer) than for a man to be more “feminine” (wearing makeup, enjoying talking about fashion, being a hair stylist) is some sort of travesty to existence. This is in terms of society at large, so my point is that feminism only would have to do with lack of self-esteem to the extent that after a lot of time and changed minds, it's now okay for a female to be male-ish. Not nearly as much has happened for it to be okay for a male to be female-ish. There are programs to encourage girls to get into science, but there is no equivalent thing to encourage boys to do something traditionally female-oriented (cooking, fashion, sewing, styling). Still, for the most part, males and females being distinctly divided still seems prominent. Twilight, the book, is a good example of that sort of divide being promoted in popular culture.

What appeals to me more is a sense of equality amongst all people at baseline. Not just in the political sense, but in the conceptual sense. This is especially consistent with Objectivism because of how all people are choosers and act according to their own judgment, not attached to what their biology says. To ask what is more rational or less rational for a male or female to do is simply a pointless question. All this is in line with what I said earlier about evaluating your individual circumstances when deciding to pursue a person or not. You may know precisely what you prefer, and be really happy when you get those preferences met, but at times it may be necessary to make changes, lest you rely on luck to get by in life. I mentioned non-heterosexual relationships and identity before because I understand that to be evidence of how you can't possibly have a meaningful answer to how a person ought to act around the opposite sex. Or the same sex!

Not sure where to fit it in, but it's relevant to what Dreamspirit said in post 11. Testosterone probably increases aggresiveness, but there is also evidence that estrogen increases aggresiveness, too.

Edited by Eiuol

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To address rd, there is no indication as far as I can tell that feminism has anything to do with what has been discussed here. If anything, what promotes insecurity is gender essentialism of “women are from Venus, men are from Mars” where males and females are by nature different. Combine that with non-egoistic personal philosophy being the norm, and you'll have problems. Males may accept such a dichotomy of behavior, resulting in feeling a need to find a way to speak to females, when in fact there is no real different method that is needed. When a person sees another as almost a different species, insecurity is bound to happen. This sort of behavior is certainly taught. American culture seems to promote traditional masculinity (and femininity!) more so than the avoidance of those concepts.

For whatever reason, it is more acceptable for a woman to be “masculine” (not wearing makeup, enjoying video games, being a computer programmer) than for a man to be more “feminine” (wearing makeup, enjoying talking about fashion, being a hair stylist) is some sort of travesty to existence. This is in terms of society at large, so my point is that feminism only would have to do with lack of self-esteem to the extent that after a lot of time and changed minds, it's now okay for a female to be male-ish. Not nearly as much has happened for it to be okay for a male to be female-ish. There are programs to encourage girls to get into science, but there is no equivalent thing to encourage boys to do something traditionally female-oriented (cooking, fashion, sewing, styling). Still, for the most part, males and females being distinctly divided still seems prominent. Twilight, the book, is a good example of that sort of divide being promoted in popular culture.

What appeals to me more is a sense of equality amongst all people at baseline. Not just in the political sense, but in the conceptual sense. This is especially consistent with Objectivism because of how all people are choosers and act according to their own judgment, not attached to what their biology says. To ask what is more rational or less rational for a male or female to do is simply a pointless question. All this is in line with what I said earlier about evaluating your individual circumstances when deciding to pursue a person or not. You may know precisely what you prefer, and be really happy when you get those preferences met, but at times it may be necessary to make changes, lest you rely on luck to get by in life. I mentioned non-heterosexual relationships and identity before because I understand that to be evidence of how you can't possibly have a meaningful answer to how a person ought to act around the opposite sex. Or the same sex!

Not sure where to fit it in, but it's relevant to what Dreamspirit said in post 11. Testosterone probably increases aggresiveness, but there is also evidence that estrogen increases aggresiveness, too.

I really don't understand your point of view. I'm focused on what kind of society benefits me (not that I'm into socially forcing people to be a certain way), and feminine men aren't my cup of tea even if they're heterosexual. I understand what you mean about going against nature, but most people have no desire to go against their nature. Fitting in does have something to do with it, but not everything.

I also sometimes wonder if it is female hormones in milk and meat that are making men more androgenous.

Edited by Dreamspirit

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It was mostly in response to rd, and also addressing why males might "act funny" around the opposite sex. I wasn't saying anything about going against nature. I was saying that there is no inherent nature of males and females anyway.

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You say that society still promotes traditional masculinity, yet it does not support the whole masculinity just aspects of it, and it also promotes men becoming effeminate. This creates a massive contradiction in the way young and impressionable ways are taught to act. The effeminate points tend to be the sensitive nice guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. Yet these boys are also encouraged to be 'masculine' which gives them a muddled roll in society and leads to lots of frustration. You also say that promoting gender equality leads to less awkward interactions, yet this tends to lead to the other end of he spectrum where men seem to treat women as friends with benefits. Promoting awareness of the differences between men and women and not trying to gloss them over will lead to a more harmonious interaction between the sexes.

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Promoting awareness of the differences between men and women and not trying to gloss them over will lead to a more harmonious interaction between the sexes.

Likewise, in other cases, getting people used to the similarities between some men and some women, and not acting like it shouldn't be that way, would also lead to a more harmonious society.

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Likewise, in other cases, getting people used to the similarities between some men and some women, and not acting like it shouldn't be that way, would also lead to a more harmonious society.

I like this, as well as Eiuol's "there is no inherent nature of males and females anyway."

I can't tell what went 'wrong' - but I think there has been an unpleasant shift in males' and females' behaviors in recent decades, but towards what, I'm not sure.

As an experiment I spent a few years asking men and women " Why should there be any difference between men and women" - and received all the predictable answers.

My standpoint is that there is often, maybe always, more difference between man and man (or woman and woman) than there may be between a man and a woman.

If both are being honest.

If both are highly focused on each other.

My conclusion is that individuality supersedes everything, including gender.

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus...a lot of BS.

So now, because of what? gender essentialism? the 'metrosexual' male? 'Sex and the City' and other popular 'models' of behavior? we men have become role-players of one extreme or other. I'm no macho male, but I believe I have my genuine strengths, and my vulnerabilities; this has been responded to on occasion by a woman who has her own strengths etc. - which I appreciated or loved, too.

(When I've met any role-playing woman, I have made a quick exit.)

To cut it short, it seems that men in "exploring their feminine side" have become wimpy pushovers; while I also think that men role-playing aggressiveness are pains in the ass.

A false dichotomy, that ignores honesty and individuality - and real strength.

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I guess it is frustrating because I want a particular thing, and there are only a small number of men who pursue me, so there is very little chance of getting what I want. Although I can find my type of men that will submit to being pursued by me they usually treat it like any other relationship, except with sexual attraction (ie. buddy with benefits) it is not very satisfying at all, but it yields more satisfaction than submitting to a guy who isn't very close to what I want.

A "glass half full" way to look at this is that is narrows down the pool to begin with- wasting less of your time.

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You say that society still promotes traditional masculinity, yet it does not support the whole masculinity just aspects of it, and it also promotes men becoming effeminate.

Aside from the fact there is nothing wrong with being effeminate, I have no idea where there you'd find any sense there being any promotion of any males being effeminate. The only example I can come up with is the phrase "getting in touch with your feminine side", though the phrasing of that implies some kind of foreign and strange world of the female species. If anything, you're just identifying that maintaining a feminine/masculine dichotomy creates problems for individuals. Promoting a dichotomy gets into a matter of trying to fit into a category, when the best thing to do is identify which actions will lead to which values. Promoting gender equality in the conceptual sense makes it easier to focus on who you are as an individual, and who best compliments your values. There is not that much legitimate evidence I know of which suggests there are essential ways of acting based on your sex. Cultural explanations I've found to be plenty sufficient. Sure, it would be good to promote awareness of differences, but what are the notable differences anyway? Which ones even count in how to treat other people? Even if you do think there are important differences, how do any of *those* differences make it necessary to alter how you behave towards other people of romantic interest?

Edited by Eiuol

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I am speaking entirely from my experiences with modern American culture. Where both popular media and mentors such teachers and councilors promote effeminate men, while there is nothing wrong with this if thats how you really are, teaching young boys that that is the "right" way to be confuses them and leads to a muddled and ineffective approach towards dating. I am not advocating all men be uber masculine, but I am saying that a people should not be discouraged from being so. In addition, while there is no scientific evidence of this, and many feminists will get up in arms over this, but it seems most straight women tend to want a masculine man in control (not controlling, but the dominant role of the relationship) even if they say they want something else.

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Promoting awareness of the differences between men and women and not trying to gloss them over will lead to a more harmonious interaction between the sexes.

And those differences are? The only thing I can think of as a big-ass difference off the top of my head (besides plumbing) is that women have a shorter time-frame, vis-a-vis their entire lives, to have children than men do. This might cause a reordering of life priorities IF AND ONLY IF having biological children is important to you.

What, in your opinion, are the salient differences between men and women from the perspective of "harmonious interaction"?

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