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Gender Roles In Sex: A Fresh Perspective

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Is implies ought. Indeed. Why and how does the is of one's particular sexual organs imply the specific oughts you are in favor of though, epistemologue? All I see for that in your text is "sex is important". All that means though is the oughts involved are important, nothing about what exactly those important oughts are.

You've answered everything but the issue at stake.

 

Let me put it another way, more directly. 1) What are the principles of M/F - does it differ from the OP or the Peikoff/Branden quotes from earlier? 2) Can you validate or reduce M/F to observations of phenomena in reality? It isn't enough to say "females are penetrated, males penetrate", or to say "principles exist!".

I have not said *nothing* about "what those important oughts are"; I have not *only* said "principles exist!".

Here are the things I have been saying about the origin and the nature of the principles of masculinity and femininity. You need to follow each step. Instead of jumping to any conclusions, I will explain step by step, in order to show the form that the solution should logically take, and the reasoning behind the conclusions that should ultimately be reached.

- In "The Objectivist Ethics" Rand describes the fundamental principle of morality as "life as the standard of value", and this principle is based on the nature of man - specifically his fundamental nature as a living organism.

- Rand then goes beyond this most fundamental aspect of man's nature - she specifically says it's not strictly man's physical survival as a biological organism, but rather the standard of life *qua man*. For example, she identifies another defining aspect of his nature, this one the most differentiating, his rationality, as also being essential to the standard of morality: "“Man’s survival qua man” means the terms, methods, conditions and goals required for the survival of a rational being through the whole of his lifespan—in all those aspects of existence which are open to his choice."

- In general, the principles of morality - the normative standards to which our volition is measured - follow from the form of man - the nature of his identity. Ethical principles follow from, and emphasize, man's form, identity, and metaphysically given nature.

- As a fundamental aspect of human nature and identity, this includes one's sex. Ethical principles, guidelines for emphasis, optimization, beauty, etc, do follow from this; Masculinity and femininity should be ethical principles which guide one's volitional choices - and going against those would be immoral. To the degree one surrenders, renounces, or betrays these principles one is committing an immoral sacrifice. In general, these principles should be expressed and emphasized consistently throughout every aspect of one's life - including one's choice of career - and should not be compartmentalized only to sex or romantic relationships, or as an abnormal exception in human life.

- A view that "eliminates specific roles based on being male or female", or views these roles as a "myth" or as "baseless social norms", would be a bad thing *in principle* - the principles of masculinity and femininity are prescriptive about the way one ought to be - in sex and in everything else in life.

- To "view himself as an individual" instead of to "view himself as man" is missing something important about his nature that should be part of his view of himself - for the same reason that to view one's self purely as a biological organism, or purely as a rational mind is missing important things about one's nature. Gender identity - based on one's innate sex - *should* be an important part of one's "psycho-sexual visibility".

One way Ayn Rand said it was this: "It means that she never loses the awareness of her own sexual identity and theirs." (About a Woman President).

Questions about one's life choices, like, "what should my goals be", "how should I develop my character", "what kind of relationships should I pursue", "what kind of career should I pursue", "what kind of person should I become", "how should I behave in social situations", "what kind of life should I live" - every question one has should be viewed and answered through the prism of Objectivist ethics - that one's life is the standard of value - as well as the rest of the moral principles that follow objectively from the fundamental aspects of one's metaphysically given nature, which includes masculinity or femininity according to one's sex.

That is, those characteristics which make one a man or woman by nature, and all of the expression and emphasis of those characteristics which should follow by rule - in aesthetics, in style, in manner, in behavior, in character - should be intentionally sought-out and learned, chosen, pursued, and practiced - in sex, and in every aspect of life.

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"- In 'The Objectivist Ethics' Rand describes the fundamental principle of morality as 'life as the standard of value', and this principle is based on the nature of man - specifically his fundamental nature as a living organism.

- Rand then goes beyond this most fundamental aspect of man's nature - she specifically says it's not strictly man's physical survival as a biological organism, but rather the standard of life *qua man*. For example, she identifies another defining aspect of his nature, this one the most differentiating, his rationality, as also being essential to the standard of morality: 'Man’s survival qua man' means the terms, methods, conditions and goals required for the survival of a rational being through the whole of his lifespan—in all those aspects of existence which are open to his choice."

Yup. All fine and good here. Steady as she goes.

"- In general, the principles of morality - the normative standards to which our volition is measured - follow from the form of man - the nature of his identity. Ethical principles follow from, and emphasize, man's form, identity, and metaphysically given nature."

Now you're starting to veer off course. I don't recall "form" as such being emphasized back in the ethics, especially not as separate from metaphysically given nature and identity. I think you probably stuck that in there to start talking about basic functional things that have a huge, very pervasive impact (like our "form" including arms and legs and eyes and ears and being solid as opposed to liquid or gas) and then shift to asserting that everything that is part of our form must be of really big, pervasive impact.

"- As a fundamental aspect of human nature and identity, this includes one's sex."

Yup, looks like I was right. I've said before "is implies ought" is true. One's sexual organs do imply oughts. Those oughts include though answers to things like, "Urologist or gynecologist?" and, "Would it likely be a disaster if I tried to pee while standing?" The only obvious way people's sex gets near being "fundamental" to human nature was that until very recently, one fertile male and one fertile female were required to combine certain cells in order to make another new human. Humanity continuing depended on it. On an individual level though, that's more or less just like a shopping list to keep in mind if one wants to make a baby, or a warning of what to be careful about if one doesn't want to. Last I heard, two females could now make another female baby too, but that would involve a lot more expense and hassle to accomplish. You haven't given any reason for one's sex to imply very pervasive things for a person's life and personality rather than much more specific, delimited things. One's hair color, ear size, possession or lack of an appendix are all part of our form too and as such have at least some implication for us, but nobody is arguing they should form a cornerstone of our personality and such.

This also says nothing about what would even constitute "masculine" and "feminine" exactly either beyond a very unclear, unspecific "man stuff" and "woman stuff", but perhaps first you wanted to establish them mattering before saying what they actually are.

 

 

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- To "view himself as an individual" instead of to "view himself as man" is missing something important about his nature that should be part of his view of himself - for the same reason that to view one's self purely as a biological organism, or purely as a rational mind is missing important things about one's nature. Gender identity - based on one's innate sex - *should* be an important part of one's "psycho-sexual visibility".

As I asked in your quote of me: What are the principles of M/F - does it differ from the OP or the Peikoff/Branden quotes from earlier? You need to cite what the principles are. All I have so far isn't prescribing anything past "what's a good sex position" or "urologist or gynecologist". At least "being penetrated or penetrating" is some principle to lead past important but not deeply fundamental aspects to one's very identity and personality.

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On 11/6/2015, 11:07:37, bluecherry said:

You haven't given any reason for one's sex to imply very pervasive things for a person's life and personality rather than much more specific, delimited things. One's hair color, ear size, possession or lack of an appendix are all part of our form too and as such have at least some implication for us, but nobody is arguing they should form a cornerstone of our personality and such.

This also says nothing about what would even constitute "masculine" and "feminine" exactly either beyond a very unclear, unspecific "man stuff" and "woman stuff", but perhaps first you wanted to establish them mattering before saying what they actually are.

 

On 11/7/2015, 11:43:37, Eiuol said:

As I asked in your quote of me: What are the principles of M/F - does it differ from the OP or the Peikoff/Branden quotes from earlier? You need to cite what the principles are. All I have so far isn't prescribing anything past "what's a good sex position" or "urologist or gynecologist". At least "being penetrated or penetrating" is some principle to lead past important but not deeply fundamental aspects to one's very identity and personality.

One's hair color, ear size, or lack of an appendix are not at all fundamental aspects of one's nature. Unlike one's sex, these are not deep, organizing principles about the human body and its anatomy, its physiology, childhood development, psychology, and so on, but rather small traits that are the not the basis of many other things.

If you start to think about:

- questions about one's life choices, like, "what should my goals be", "how should I develop my character", "what kind of relationships should I pursue", "what kind of career should I pursue", "what kind of person should I become", "how should I behave in social situations", "what kind of life should I live"

- or thinking about how the expression and emphasis of characteristics of one's self should follow by rule - in aesthetics, in style, in manner, in behavior, in character

- and how these should be intentionally sought-out and learned, chosen, pursued, and practiced

Little characteristics like one's ear size have relatively little bearing on any of these things - whereas fundamental aspects like one's sex, which are responsible for many characteristics of one's nature, have bearing throughout. Think about the innumerable ways one's sex plays into all of the above considerations: things like body image and mannerism - are you going to emphasize masculinity, by pursuing consistently a masculine physique and style; or will you pursue femininity by pursuing a consistently feminine physique and style; or will you ignore the prescription to learn, emphasize, and practice this at all? Of the things one values most in life, and the goals one has in life, things like sex and relationships play a central role. Are you looking for a relationship consistent with - and an expression of - your masculine or feminine character, and are you looking to learn the character and style of this type of relationship, or are you looking for a relationship which is actually inconsistent and contradictory to your nature in this respect, or are you ignoring these principles entirely? Are you looking to have sex in such a way that is again consistent with your masculinity or femininity, and is actually an expression of this aspect of your character - or are you looking for the opposite - or again ignoring the principle entirely?
 

Suppose you have committed yourself to the consistent practice and the intentional expression of your masculinity (or femininity) in all of the innumerable ways implied by these considerations I've listed - including in your body image, in your physique, in your style, in your mannerism, in the type of relationships you want, in the type of sex you want to have - this is not a specific, delimited list at all, but is in fact a pervasive principle throughout the development of your character, psychology, and ultimately the course of your life.

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44 minutes ago, epistemologue said:

One's hair color, ear size, or lack of an appendix are not at all fundamental aspects of one's nature. Unlike one's sex, these are not deep, organizing principles about the human body and its anatomy, its physiology, childhood development, psychology, and so on, but rather small traits that are the not the basis of many other things.

If you start to think about:

- questions about one's life choices, like, "what should my goals be", "how should I develop my character", "what kind of relationships should I pursue", "what kind of career should I pursue", "what kind of person should I become", "how should I behave in social situations", "what kind of life should I live"

So, when one approaches the question of "what kind of career should I pursue," you believe that a person should (roughly) say to himself, "well... what shape are my genitalia"? If it is rod-shape, then the Presidency is a viable option. If it is hole-shaped, not so much?

I know this is a crude representation, but... this is the sort of line of thought we're talking about?

44 minutes ago, epistemologue said:

Think about the innumerable ways one's sex plays into all of the above considerations: things like body image and mannerism - are you going to emphasize masculinity, by pursuing consistently a masculine physique and style; or will you pursue femininity by pursuing a consistently feminine physique and style; or will you ignore the prescription to learn, emphasize, and practice this at all?

And if one were to "ignore the prescription" that the shape of one's genitalia has apparently set for one, in terms of career, goals, character, behavior in social situations, "the type of sex" one has, and etc., then what is the specific harm one should expect? If a woman has sex riding atop a man, she will suffer for it in what way?

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15 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

So, when one approaches the question of "what kind of career should I pursue," you believe that a person should (roughly) say to himself, "well... what shape are my genitalia"? If it is rod-shape, then the Presidency is a viable option. If it is hole-shaped, not so much?

To be fair, he means something to do with a wide assortment of characteristics that are heavily influenced by one's sex. One's sex includes genitalia, yes, but there's more to it than that, even on a physiological level. I just don't see a justification for saying sex has a role for one's psychology any more than being lactose intolerant has a role for one's psychology.

***

Epist:

Think about the innumerable ways one's sex plays into all of the above considerations: things like body image and mannerism
Which mannerisms, and how do you know it's caused by the nature of one's sex?

your masculine or feminine character
What is a masculine or feminine character, and how did you decide on the essentials for this distinction?

fundamental aspects like one's sex, which are responsible for many characteristics of one's nature
Existing research primarily shows sex is not fundamental to many characteristics at all.

Edited by Eiuol

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29 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

To be fair, he means something to do with a wide assortment of characteristics that are heavily influenced by one's sex. One's sex includes genitalia, yes, but there's more to it than that, even on a physiological level. I just don't see a justification for saying sex has a role for one's psychology any more than being lactose intolerant has a role for one's psychology.

If the claim is that physiology leads to psychology in some specific way, then the specifics of that claim matter. I refer to the shape of one's genitalia because that seems to be the source of Rand's claim about the Presidency, which is what comes to my mind when one refers to sex determining one's career path (in both the context of a discussion on an Objectivist board, and the context of this specific thread).

I agree that epistemologue's arguments in this post are vague, general, and non-specific (if I may redundantly repeat myself). But to make sense of those arguments, such as they are, I need to translate them into some form of concrete application. Some kind of reality. My question is meant to probe in that direction--to suss out the concrete claim(s) which here underlie a general observation that people have a physical nature and should act accordingly.

I mean, if I were to make the claim that if one is lactose intolerant, then one should be guided by that fact in one's choices... well, okay, fair enough. But what specifically do I mean? It's clear that epistemologue has some concrete ideas as to how men and women should behave, per their respective gender. Otherwise, what are we even talking about? So let epistemologue step out from behind the veil of generality, and say specifically how (meaning by what processes) gender is meant to inform one's career choices, or sexual positions, or whatever. If it is the shape of genitalia that provides the mechanism, or something else, so be it, but we need to know the actual claim before it can be further dissected, for good or ill.

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epistemologue: You quoted both Eiuol and me mentioning that you gave no specifics about what these male versus female modes/effects would be, including that that was the only point you quoted by Eiuol, and yet you still left those things unspecified. We've mentioned specific examples of how/why other physical aspects ("is") lead to various "oughts" for a human being who has chosen to live. Our examples are "proof of concept" for a physical "is" leading to a moral "ought", but they also show that a specific "is" can't lead to just any old "ought" of course. I've cited some larger impact physical aspects in my last post, like having arms and being solid rather than liquid or gas in addition to some smaller ones like ear size or if one has an appendix. The larger ones can be shown to impact career goals too, but still in specific ways that are pretty clear why they are what they are. Baseball pitcher is probably out of the question without arms as the job requires throwing a ball with arms. Being solid also means we can't reasonably expect to make a living doing anything that would involve squeezing ourselves through a pinhole. We don't find anybody arguing for emphasizing even these bigger, more pervasive aspects of our "form" though in our personality or in our life in ways that can't be demonstrated as a matter of impossibility or potentially maiming or killing us. Even the relatively large and pervasive parts of our "form" don't become applicable or meriting emphasis just everywhere and anywhere all the time willy-nilly. Can you explain why one's sex would be an exception to this or can you make a case for why and how it is relevant and meriting emphasis in each of the specific areas you've cited earlier? ("what should my goals be", "how should I develop my character", "what kind of relationships should I pursue", "what kind of career should I pursue", "what kind of person should I become", "how should I behave in social situations", "what kind of life should I live")

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*recap post!*

it seems like there are different classes of things we can say concerning is->ought / form->function.

the simplest examples being what everyone here agrees on:

  • allergies like lactose intolerance -> should not drink milk
  • lack of arms -> baseball pitcher is not a viable career

and less functionally, more aesthetically- things along the lines of:

  • body type -> certain styles of clothing are more flattering and should be preferred
  • hair/skin/eye color -> certain colors look better on you than others

and from earlier on in the thread:

  • anatomy (including height, athleticism, flexibility, genitalia) -> certain positions and techniques for sex are more effective
  • women who are physically unable to orgasm from penetration alone -> rely on other methods

(these are all highly particular/individual, and are mostly in the negative- excluding options but not setting ideals.)

———
however, there is also an ongoing attempt being made here to link psychological characteristics to gender, and that hasn’t been substantiated.

so as far as epist’s list: 
“those characteristics which make one a man or woman by nature, and all of the expression and emphasis of those characteristics which should follow by rule - in aesthetics, in style, in manner, in behavior, in character…”

-we’ve agreed so far that gender can influence style and aesthetics to some degree, and in very limited ways (like seeing a “urologist or gynecologist”) behavior, but -not- manner or character, not to any significant extent decisions like “career, goals, character, behavior in social situations”, or "kind of relationship to pursue".

It has not been established that (or in what way) M/F 
“should form a cornerstone of our personality”, or are “deeply fundamental aspects to one's very identity and personality”

———

the key challenges are:

bc: “You haven't given any reason for one's sex to imply very pervasive things for a person's life and personality rather than much more specific, delimited things.”

eioul: “You'd have to first establish that the physical aspects translate to a fundamental psychological difference.” / “The whole problem is how you get from a physical difference to a fundamental psychological difference.”

bc: “Why and how does the is of one's [sex] imply the specific oughts you are in favor of?”

 

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"...that one's life is the standard of value". (Epistemologue)

??

Such a crucial distinction to be made, I couldn't help jumping in. I'm sure, an unintentional mistake.

"The Objectivist ethics holds man's life as the *standard* of value--and *his own life* as the ethical *purpose* of every individual man".

The differences: between man, qua man - and the individual; between the standard - and the purpose; the abstract principle - and the concrete application.

Edited by whYNOT
addition

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On 11/22/2015 at 0:42 PM, DonAthos said:

And if one were to "ignore the prescription" that the shape of one's genitalia has apparently set for one, in terms of career, goals, character, behavior in social situations, "the type of sex" one has, and etc., then what is the specific harm one should expect?

First of all, it's not merely the "shape of one's genitalia". As I said, sex is a deep, organizing principle about the human body and its anatomy, its physiology, childhood development, psychology, and so on - not a small trait that is the not the basis of many other things.

To answer your question - it would be an enormous, ongoing sacrifice for the rest of your life.

One's choices of their most fundamental values affect one's decisions and actions over a long period of time as one pursues those values throughout their lives. Therefore, choosing an "optional value" which does further one's life, but does not further one's life as much as the choice of another value would have, requires the rejection or evasion of many higher-valued choices in many different instances over the long term. Errors in choosing one's fundamental values are the worst breaches of morality.

As I said before, 

"The sense of pleasure, beauty, pride, self-esteem, and happiness that proceed from the achievement of one's moral values culminates nowhere greater than in the act of sex itself. In the highest, non-contradictory culmination, the principles of masculinity and femininity, based on one's innate sex, are expressed and emphasized in the act of sex. And in general, these principles should be expressed and emphasized consistently throughout every aspect of one's life - including one's choice of career - and should not be compartmentalized only to sex or romantic relationships, or as an abnormal exception in human life. To the degree one surrenders, renounces, or betrays these principles one is committing an immoral sacrifice."

You would be doing specific harm along all of these lines of results, "pleasure, beauty, pride, self-esteem, and happiness" - and more.

As Peikoff describes in "certainty and happiness",

"Only he, the moral man selects ends and means consonant with the nature of existence and with the integrity of his own consciousness. Only he refuses to sabotage his person or his goals by indulging in out-of-context desires or fears. Only he therefore is *practical* - in other words able to acheive his values. And only he therefore can reach the emotional result *and reward* of such achievement. So we reach this crucial principle: *the moral, the practical, and the happy, cannot be sundered*. By their nature these three form a unity - and the explanation is in this principle. He who perceives reality is able to gain his ends and thus enjoy the process of being alive. He who perceives reality - the moral - is able to gain his ends - the practical - and thus enjoy the process of being alive - the happy. By the same token the evil, the impractical, and the unhappy, necessarily forms a unity. He who evades - the immoral - renders himself impotent - the impractical - and thus experiences life as suffering - the unhappy."

Edited by epistemologue

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5 hours ago, epistemologue said:
On 11/22/2015 at 9:42 AM, DonAthos said:

And if one were to "ignore the prescription" that the shape of one's genitalia has apparently set for one, in terms of career, goals, character, behavior in social situations, "the type of sex" one has, and etc., then what is the specific harm one should expect?

To answer your question - it would be an enormous, ongoing sacrifice for the rest of your life.

But you have not answered my question. I'm asking you (explicitly and repeatedly) for specifics, yet you continue to respond with generality. For instance, you make mention in this most recent post of "childhood development." So all right, let's talk about the specifics of childhood development, and how that relates to (equally specific) claims, such as a desire for the Presidency being irrational in a female.

My daughter has a vagina. As she grows, please explain to me how that biological fact shall conspire such that, when she dreams about the jobs she might one day hold, and develops a burgeoning personality throughout her childhood, the Presidency will not appeal to her like it might to one born with a penis.

 

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That's just a metaphor you used, it doesn't show that it uniquely derives from the nature of being male. I would just say assertiveness is important to any person who lives egoistically.

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On 4/15/2015 at 7:45 PM, splitprimary said:

[Rand] says in About A Woman President that femininity: “colors her attitude toward all men" ... ...

...  ...

Peikoff said: “The distinction is entirely in sex… it’s from that point of view only that she made that distinction”.

I was reading the introduction to the Kama-Sutra (really the only part of the book worth reading). Since the author is about to present a book about sex, he feels obliged to present a philosophy of sex, and explain why sex is an important value. In doing so, he tackles the mind-body dichotomy and says: reject it

Within this introduction was a quote that reminded me of Rand's view of male and female. In a sense, this book is anticipating her by centuries, but of course there have been echoes forever. So, here's the quote, as an interesting, related tid-bit.

Quote

"Vatsya [the philosopher of sex] says ... the ways of working as well as the consciousness of pleasure in men and women are different.

The difference in the ways of working, by which men are the actors, and women are the persons acted upon, is owing to the nature of the male and the female, otherwise the actor would be sometimes the person acted upon, and vice versâ.

And from this difference in the ways of working follows the difference in the consciousness of pleasure, for a man thinks, "this woman is united with me," and a woman thinks, "I am united with this man"

 

Edited by softwareNerd

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