Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
moralist

Ayn Rand thinks like a man?

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I think it is sensible to say Rand was responding to general misogyny more than anything regarding the letter response

Is that why Rand never used the term 'he/she' or 'woman/women' instead of 'man/men'?

It's now widely seen as sexist to only refer to one sex in writings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is that why Rand never used the term 'he/she' or 'woman/women' instead of 'man/men'?

Nah, I think that's just a matter of "man" being the word for gender neutral. Personally, I use "they" for gender neutral singular, but I'll sometimes use "he" when I really need to be clear that I'm using the singular. The letter response is a different context, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is that why Rand never used the term 'he/she' or 'woman/women' instead of 'man/men'?

It's now widely seen as sexist to only refer to one sex in writings.

The symbol "man" can refer to the concept of a sex or to the concept of a species of animal. They're two entirely different concepts. If using the same symbol to refer to two things is sexist, then your problem is with the English language, not just the billion or so people who use it properly (by using the symbol to mean what it means, without any further thought).

And, if you have a problem with that, you should see some of the ideograms Eastern languages use to write concepts related to the sexes.

But, of course, I don't think that using a language that, etymologically, can be traced back to sexist views (and most languages can be, English nowhere near one of the more flagrant ones), is sexist. Etymology is irrelevant to the current meaning of a language. Using "man" as a species does not imply any views about the sexes, and using a character that depicts a woman in a submissive position to write the concept "woman" in Chinese does not imply any views about women, negative or positive, on the part of a random user of the Chinese writing system.

In modern languages, symbols (be it strings of sounds/letters or ideograms) mean the concept they refer to, and nothing more. "man", used the way Ayn Rand uses it, means the species, and nothing more. It most certainly means nothing related to the sexes, or to the word "man" used as a sex.

Edited by Nicky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"man", used the way Ayn Rand uses it, means the species, and nothing more. It most certainly means nothing related to the sexes, or to the word "man" used as a sex.

I don't have a problem with using man to refer to all of womankind. :stuart: Was just wondering why Rand did it instead of using something more gender neutral. I was reading an essay online that an oist submitted to the oac, and I saw a number of negative comments regarding the author's use of 'man' and 'he' to refer to all people.

Normally, I would advise you not to say "man" when you mean people, but I guess the Objectivists won't mind. Be aware, however, especially if you are interested in studying psychology elsewhere, that such gender exclusive language is proscribed by most college style guides as well as the American Psychological Association style guide.

Just googling 'sexist language' brings up a ton of hits about this topic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rand learned English in Europe, where gendered language is more common. Also, today's rejection of gendered language is largely due to mid-20th century feminism, which Rand rejected.

Edited by FeatherFall
formatting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How to think like a woman. Here is a quote from the movie -As Good as It Gets- starring Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson who plays an author who successfully captures the essence and tone of women: Here is the quote:

Receptionist: I can't resist! You usually move through here so quickly and I just have so many questions I want to ask you. You have no idea what your work means to me.

Melvin Udall: What does it mean to you?

Receptionist: [stands up] When somebody out there knows what it's like...

[place one hand on her forehead and the other over her heart]

Receptionist: ... to be in here.

Melvin Udall: Oh God, this is like a nightmare.

[Turns around and presses the elevator button multiple times]

Receptionist: Oh come on! Just a couple of questions. How hard is that?

[Scampers up to Melvin]

Receptionist: How do you write women so well?

Melvin Udall: I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.

Share this quote

I thought it was amusing.

ruveyn1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From We the Living:

Peoples know nothing of the spirit of man, for peoples are only nature, and man is a word that has no plural. Petrograd is not of the people. It has no legend, no folklore; it is not glorified in nameless songs down nameless roads. It is a stranger, aloof, incomprehensible, forbidding. No pilgrims ever traveled to its granite gates. The gates had never been opened in warm compassion to the meek, the hurt and the maimed, like the doors of the kindly Moscow. Petrograd does not need a soul; it has a mind.

And perhaps it is only a coincidence that in the language of the Russians, Moscow is “she,” while Petrograd has ever been “he.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, a woman is a morally good female according to you.

No. That's wrong.

If you begin with that flawed premise you can only end up with flawed conclusions.

A woman is morally good... a female is not.

Here, you're saying thinking like a thinking masculine has blunt honesty. Since you say masculine, you are also including rationality, and objectivity, by your own definition of what is masculine. This could be metaphorical.

This where you go off on the deep end. It's one thing to be metaphorical, but it's another to be literal. You already said a woman is a morally good female. Here, you're saying it's rare for a morally good female to think rationally and objectively.

Quite the opposite. I'm saying that thinking rationally and obectively is what distinguishes a woman from a female.

By your definition, to think like a man is to think rationally. The only other ways to think are not at all, and irrationally. Therefore, you're saying it's rare that morally good females will think rationally.

Again...

"Morally good females" is a term you made up. I have never used that. Only you do... and that is why the conclusions at which you arrive are flawed.

I'm saying that women are far more rare than females. And in contrast, males who think like females are as common as dirt.

I think it is sensible to say Rand was responding to general misogyny more than anything regarding the letter response, perhaps she was only responding to one aspect of being acknowledged as rational. I don't know though, it's just a thought. Plenty of people probably thought as you did: "a woman who talks about rationality is a rarity! She must have the mind of a man!"

Underlying presumption? Women are inferior thinkers to men. I hope you see the implications of your words.

I hope you see how you change what I actually say. For example, you just said:

"Women are inferior thinkers to men."

I never say that... only you say that. I say that females are inferior thinkers to men, and that females and males think in a similar manner because they both failed in a similar manner to grow into men and women.

Edited by moralist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it makes no difference in that context, "woman" in place of "morally good female". I'll just place "woman" in place of that *each time* I say morally good female. You said Ayn Rand is a woman thinks like a man more or less, and said it's rare. You explain how a man thinks rationally and objectively, therefore Ayn Rand thinks like a man. Basically, I'll phrase it this way:

How does a woman think? You said rationally and objectively. Okay... is there any difference from how men think, then? If so, what is the difference? If there is no difference, then "Ayn Rand thinks like a man" is a meaningless phrase.

I know you didn't say what you bolded, but it is implicit in what you are saying, whether or not you realize it.

Edited by Eiuol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is what made Ayn Rand so truly remarkable: She had the rare quality of being a woman who could think like a man.

I've always wondered why she used exclusively masculine words to refer to people; my wife and I have speculated that she may have subconsciously considered herself a man.  But that is absolutely not what made her remarkable.

If you replaced "he" with "she" and "men" with "women" in each and every philosophical essay she ever wrote, would it change the content?

 

Just to be clear, you are disagreeing that conservatism is a masculine ideology, and that liberalism is a feminine ideology.

Everyone knows that Republicanism is the rich white ideology and Liberalism is the poor ethnic ideology.  That's why you hate Obama, right?  No?

 

In the last election, 67% of single women voted for Obama.

And most black people voted for Obama, too.  How far are you willing to take this premise?  Eventually you'll find that it confirms all of the most hateful, viscous and despicable attacks against Conservatives.

 

For it is a remarkable and rare quality when a woman has the ability to think like a man. This is one reason she sold millions and millions of books. She appealed to the rational moral values and sense of justice of decent men. In contrast, males who think like females are a dime a dozen.... they're called liberals. ;)

The feminine-minded liberals would agree with that, but may dismiss every other word you say based on your ancestry and finances.

 

This premise, particularly the direction in which you take it, would logically sabotage every other premise of Conservatism.  Be aware of that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Women are inferior thinkers to men."

I never say that... only you say that. I say that females are inferior thinkers to men, and that females and males think in a similar manner because they both failed in a similar manner to grow into men and women.

There's a parallel here to people who differentiate between black people and N*****s, and insist that one is superior to the other based on A, B, C or D.  It seems like a very flimsy and poor excuse to me.

 

Ultimately, there's nothing inherently dangerous in this; you've conceived this convoluted line of reasoning in order to turn irrational sexism into something very nearly rational.  But check your premises; this idea has the potential to completely obliterate Conservatism.

 

P.S.: nothing inherently dangerous in this idea, to me.  You, on the other hand. . .

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there might be quite a cultural divide here, in my time the most hard headed people I've met have been women.

Wishy washy attitudes have been most intense in the men I've met.

 

But this is coming from a European, and though I'd classify miss Rand as American in every other respect she did come from this continent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×