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Well, I can't claim to be a true Objectivist, because I don't agree with Miss Rand's idea that women ought to be chained to their men.

Well that's a pretty bold assertion. :)

Help me out on that one. Where do you come by that perspective?

(plus, I believe her personal views on women's roles aren't part of the Objectivist corpus. "true Objectivists" don't take everything Miss Rand said as gospel...)

[moderator, feel free to split the thread if needed...]

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There are a couple other topics on this subject:

Sexual Interactions and Values and Men & Women, Love & Sex. I haven't finished reading either one, but they at least outline several views Miss Rand held, and several that Objectivism appears to hold. I've also included several quotes from Miss Rand's works to show where I got that perspective, and some ideas of hers that they show.

"t was astonishing to discover that the lines of her shoulder were fragile - and beautiful, and that the diamond band on the wrist of her naked arm gave her the most feminine of all aspects: the look of being chained." -Atlas Shrugged

Domique wants to be/enjoyed being raped- this is odd, at best.

Miss Rand's female characters are almost all slender or fragile in build, almost as if she didn't think that a physically strong woman was a good one. In today's society, women do not want to be seen as weak, in any form.

"[Dagny's] naked shoulder betrayed the fragility of the body under theblack dress, and the pose made her most truly a woman. The proud strength became a challenge to someone's superior strength, and the fragility a reminder that the challenge could be broken." -AS

"[Dominique] seemed too fragile to exist; and that very fragility spoke of some frightening strength which held her anchored to existence with a body insufficient for reality." -Fountainhead

Karen Andre in Night of January 16th also has this body type.

"He will always be attracted to the woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself, the woman whose surrender permits him to experience - or to fake - a sense of self-esteem. The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of woman he can find, the woman he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer - because only the possession of a heroine will give him the sense of an achievement, not the possession of a brainless slut." (Rand 1957, 489-490)

This quote shows that Ayn Rand thought that women ought to be conquered and possessed; the thought that it could be otherwise never seems to cross her mind in any of her works.

"For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero-worship - the desire to look up to man. "To look up" does not mean dependence, obedience, or anything implying inferiority. It means an intense kind of admiration; and admiration is an emotion that can be experienced only by a person of strong character and independent value judgments ... It means that a properly feminine woman does not treat men as if she were their pal, sister, mother - or leader. ... To act as the superior, the leader, virtually the ruler of all the man she deals with, would be an excruciating psychological torture. It would require a total depersonalization, an utter selflessness, and an incommunicable loneliness; she would have to suppress (or repress) every personal aspect of her own character and attitude; she could not be herself, i.e., a woman;... she would become the most unfeminine, sexless, metaphysically inappropriate, and rationally revolting figure of all: a matriarch." (Rand [1968] 1988 267-69)

These ideas she expresses are in direct conflict with the idea that men are equal, with equal rights and equal morality. They are also in direct conflict with many of the ideas put forward by the feminist movement. As much as she tries to claim that hero-worship does not imply a superiority/inferiority dichotomy, there's barely any way around it. I have been in leadership positions to men, and have not felt that I have sacrificed my femininity by doing so, nor have I felt any loneliness or depersonalization.

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I completely disagree.

First, what type of woman is dominique? Is she an objectivist? What does she think of herself? Why does she act? Dominique gets off on destruction (She throws the statue out the window). Dominique does not enjoy life. One of her comments is something like. I like to destroy everything that I see is good because I don't want it to exist in this world. That is one of the key reasons she helps Keating and not Roark. Luckily, she changes over the course of the book.

If Rand had said, A large fat bearded woman, would this make any difference? The point is that Dominique, Dagny, etc... are proud of themselves. They are proud of the way they look. They enjoy it and the pleasure others take from it.

Again, we are only talking about physical appearance. Slender, and delicate are attractive to most people. Fat, butch, or muscular (extreme) woman are usually not. Also, if someone is fat, what does it say about them? They don't appreciate their body, they don't have much self-respect. If someone is slender, it means that they care & enjoy their body and want to be healthy. Having a good body and looking good says a lot about your personality and self.

Yes, there are the exceptions - looking good for others and not for the pride you get out of it. But these people usually lack something else.

If you look the actual personalities and traits of these woman, they are all strong. Dagny and Dominque always hold their ground and have very powerful personalities.

Compare this to Catherine. She was ordinary, you could probably think pretty, but she didn't really exist. She gave in to everything and it cost her life.

Rand does not make these characters delicate because they are woman and because they are unfit for anything. She makes them delicate and beautiful because its attractive and shows that they enjoy their bodies.

The fact that Dagny like the feeling of being chained to Hank did not mean that she was week or wanted to be the non-dominante person. It meant that she was connected to him, that he got pleasure out of her, and that she got pleasure out of him wanting her.

Once more you are have come to the conclusion that woman are inferior to men when it was not stated or intended. Why? Do you think women are? Do you think the rest of the world actually thinks that? Perhaps the people you grew up around thought this way or told you the world acted this way. I see it rarely.

Interesting: INTJ

I would say that the commentary found on the score page fits me rather well. I'd be interested to see if female Objectivists also score INTJ. I think they would more than the general female population. Not to sound like a mysogynist, but I've read that women's personalities are generally more inclined to follow emotions and feelings more than men. Objectivist women, though, would most likely score INTJ at the same rate than men - the Dagny type :D

for Miseleigh:

Yes, woman and males are different. We covered this already in another thread. Their bodies are physically different, their minds work differently (there are many tests that show this - I think John Stossel did a show on this). Most woman's minds do work more on intuition and feelings. But again, so what?

We are humans, we have this astonishing ability to adapt to our surroundings and change as we desire.

If someone generally acts on their feelings, it does not mean that they are not thinkers. Nor does it mean that they cannot work and play with their minds to make themselves more of a thinker than a feeler.

Note: Being different =/= inferior. So lets not have this argument.

Edited by Ragnar Danneskjold
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But it is only in the romantic aspect of their lives that women act in a different way than men do. That doesn't imply anything about the rest of their lives. A woman needs to develop the exact same virtues a man does to be a person worthy of admiration; only the way this is expressed in a romantic context is different from how she would deal with reality in her normal life.

I certainly don't see how women are inferior just because they approach romantic relationships in a different way, so I don't think it's fair to say that this is self-evident.

And what exactly do you mean with equal? I think we can safely say that there are differences between men and women; there are two different concepts to denote them and everyone can see the difference without too much trouble (in normal cases, that is). I assume you mean that whatever differences there are are not relevant?

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"He will always be attracted to the woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself, the woman whose surrender permits him to experience - or to fake - a sense of self-esteem. The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of woman he can find, the woman he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer - because only the possession of a heroine will give him the sense of an achievement, not the possession of a brainless slut." (Rand 1957, 489-490)

This quote shows that Ayn Rand thought that women ought to be conquered and possessed; the thought that it could be otherwise never seems to cross her mind in any of her works.

When you are with someone you love, are you posessing them? I think so.

When you say to the person you love "I am yours," are you not saying that they have conquered you?

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Moderator, Split the thread please. :D

Not much time to respond, but I'll clarify later tonight. A couple of thoughts:

1. all of the quotes you cite (with the exception of the "... President" excerpt which I'll address separately) are literary descriptions or metaphors as opposed to stated principles, and must be considered in context. Be very careful about "it's as if she thinks" sorts of generalizations. You might be psychologizing intent that was not there.

2. The Fountainhead rape scene has always been highly controversial. (I had one friend who said he couldn't take Rand seriously because she was a "misogynist" and could only point to this scene to justify his claim). You may have heard that of this scene Miss Rand said "If it was rape, it was rape by engraved invitation." Most people pay attention to the 2nd phrase, but the first phrase calls into question whether you could even call it rape, in the truest sense of the word, from Rand's perspective. But the real issue is:

3. In reference to the Jan 16th quote you say:

This quote shows that Ayn Rand thought that women ought to be conquered and possessed; the thought that it could be otherwise never seems to cross her mind in any of her works.
Whoa. You've equivocated on the word "possessed". My question for you is, "in what way did she think women ought to be possessed?" Did she mean literally held captive against their will? Show me one concrete character in any book or any statement that follows that up. In fact, if you look at the quote in context, it is all in regard to attraction, and a sexual relationship to which she is referring. She is looking at the male and female perspective within the context of attraction, and relationship. This applies to the "engraved invitation" as well.

4. Finally the "...President" quote. This is not realy considered part of Objectivism but reflects Miss Rand's personal opinion of feminity, so you can be a true Objectivist and claim Rand had some rotten ideas on feminity if you like. Note: I believe (don't quote me, and I don't have it in front of me) that she qualified this essay by some statement to the effect that these were her feelings only. You say:

These ideas she expresses are in direct conflict with the idea that men are equal, with equal rights and equal morality. They are also in direct conflict with many of the ideas put forward by the feminist movement.

Tell me how? She is not saying anything like this. Her statement here is: I believe the nature of feminity is X. A woman acting under that premise, would find being President psychologically unpalatable, and unenjoyable. I would find it so much so that I would never be President. Your experience is really not what she's talking about I think. I work with women who are my peers, supervisors, and such. While none of them "sacrifice" their feminity as such, I think in the context of the relationship with their male subordinates, they do sacrifice it a bit. Rand is just saying if I were in a situation where the majority of men I dealt with were subordinate to me, I'd sacrifice enough of my feminity that I wouldn't have a strong enough outlet for it, and would find such a situaion emotionally repugnant. She said nothing about the ability or right of a woman to be president, nor rights in general, nor the equality of men in general.

As an aside, someone tell me why my carriage returns are showing in triplicate. Annoying!

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"For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero-worship - the desire to look up to man. "To look up" does not mean dependence, obedience, or anything implying inferiority. It means an intense kind of admiration; and admiration is an emotion that can be experienced only by a person of strong character and independent value judgments ... It means that a properly feminine woman does not treat men as if she were their pal, sister, mother - or leader. ... To act as the superior, the leader, virtually the ruler of all the man she deals with, would be an excruciating psychological torture. It would require a total depersonalization, an utter selflessness, and an incommunicable loneliness; she would have to suppress (or repress) every personal aspect of her own character and attitude; she could not be herself, i.e., a woman;... she would become the most unfeminine, sexless, metaphysically inappropriate, and rationally revolting figure of all: a matriarch." (Rand [1968] 1988 267-69)

Considering this quote, how can you 'look up' to anything without implying inferiority unless 'look up' was just a poor choice of words. The statement that a woman can not act as a superior to all men means that a women must have some man that she considers superior. I understand the reasoning behind most of it, this is one of the fine points I'm still stuck on.

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Hmm, but that (looking up to a man) would simply imply that she is not that good in that particular aspect... Just because I am not the best mathematician in the world, and I look up to him doesn't make me inferior in every aspect...

Similarly, if women need to look up to men in a proper romantic relationship this wouldn't say anything about whether men are better than women; only in this particular highly delimited aspect of their lives would there be a difference.

You could just as easily claim that women are superior to men because they can do things we cannot do at all, but this is equally wrong as far as I can see.

Edited by Maarten
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... their minds work differently (there are many tests that show this - I think John Stossel did a show on this). Most woman's minds do work more on intuition and feelings.
Oh, no, you didn't say just that. :D You've got to keep an open mind with these findings, especially about such exploding field as brain science. I've got lots to throw here, but I will cut everything short.

About brain:

1. Brain science grows faster and ages faster than Software Engineering (where 5 years and you are ancient).

2. Brain, its growth, components, workings and their effects are understudied and misunderstood

About gender brain: (things I've followed during recent 6-12 months)

1. Men has statistically larger brains

2. Size is nothing (example: each brain goes through cycles of deletions and optimizations)

3. Growth from 0-25 years is crazy on the amount of changes the brain goes through (touch a wrong wire and everything explodes[wire=rearing, etc.])

To claim with all that that brains really do work different between men and women is just so brave, you'd have to come from future (100-200 years ahead) to know for sure. There are far too many things to study in the brain area before you can claim anything here.

But again, so what?
The 'what' is 'you get a wrong assumption.' How far you take it is how wrong you will be.
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You could just as easily claim that women are superior to men because they can do things we cannot do at all, but this is equally wrong as far as I can see.

Is the claim then simply that men can rule the country better than women? No. I do believe earlier in the letter she states that it is not a matter of whether a woman could do the job, it was if she should do the job. The reasons she uses is not that a man could negotiate better than a woman, or a man could handle leaderhsip better than a women, the reason is that a woman should not be put in a position of superiority of all men.

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You're both right- we have covered the actual physical and emotional differences between men and women. The repetition was helpful, tho.

'Fragile' was the particular piece of the description of an 'ideal woman' that I dislike. It is entirely possible to be both slender and physically strong. By the way, 'delicate' and 'tan' are at odds, and today a woman with tanned skin is seen as better looking than one who looks delicate, not to mention either 'delicate' or 'fragile' vs. 'athletic'.

My issue here is slightly different. If a woman's highest ideal is hero-worship, while a man's is heroism, what does this say about the woman's ability to take pride in herself without requiring another person? Why is it that the man is the one doing the conquering instead of the woman? Miss Rand makes it very clear that it ought to be one way and not the other.

For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero-worship - the desire to look up to man.
It meant that she was connected to him, that he got pleasure out of her, and that she got pleasure out of him wanting her.

Does this mean that she did not get pleasure out of him without the 'wanting her' part? Does he get pleasure out of her wanting him?

When you are with someone you love, are you posessing them? I think so.
Fine, but Miss Rand never says that the woman possesses the man as well as the other way around.

I would like to draw your attention to this sentence in particular:

To act as the superior, the leader, virtually the ruler of all the man she deals with, would be an excruciating psychological torture.

This says that for a woman to avoid psychological torture, she must allow men to lead her rather than leading them. This could be construed to mean 'equal', but it sounds a lot more like 'inferior', and is certainly against the idea of a woman in a leadership position such as the presidency. This is hypocritical with her ideas on what types of work are proper for women:

Playboy: Do you believe that women as well as men should organize their lives around work - and if so, what kind of work?

Rand: Of course. I believe that women are human beings. What is proper for a man is proper for a woman. The basic principles are the same. I would not attempt to prescribe what kind of work a man should do, and I would not attempt it in regard to women. There is no particular work which is specifically feminine. Women can choose their work according to their own purpose and premises in the same manner as men do.

I also have trouble reconciling 'What is proper for a man is proper for a woman' and her definitions of 'woman qua woman' and 'man qua man'.

Do you think the rest of the world actually thinks that? Perhaps the people you grew up around thought this way or told you the world acted this way. I see it rarely.

Let's see- Muslim women are still forced to wear veils, there is still a discrepency in pay between men and women of equal experience in jobs (it's slight, but it's still statistically significant), Mormonism still exists (even though the practice has been outlawed, the ideas are there), and I get a lot of flak for disagreeing with Miss Rand's view that the ideal woman should look up to her ideal man instead of possibly also the other way around.

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If you look up to someone, it means that you admire them/ some of the skills they possess. This means that you are impresses with their skills, value their skills, and if you don't already have them, that you want to aspire to gain them.

Thinking of romantic partners, you want someone who will improve your life. This means that he person must be someone that shares your values or someone that you admire and want to aspire to be like.

For instance, would you (anyone) want to date a person who sits at home and does nothing with their life? What about someone who is always on the road making a lot of money and doesn't give you the time of day? What about someone who values your company, want to spend time with you, works passionately on the things he(she) enjoys the most, and enjoys their life?

You are going to want the latter, because it adds the most value to your life.

Ok that was very convoluted.

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I also have trouble reconciling 'What is proper for a man is proper for a woman' and her definitions of 'woman qua woman' and 'man qua man'.

That's because they are contextual, and apply to different things. When she says that what is proper for a man is proper for a woman she is talking about all the areas of their life, except for romantic relationships; these are an exception.

In almost every aspect of their life they both act as man qua human being.

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That's because they are contextual, and apply to different things. When she says that what is proper for a man is proper for a woman she is talking about all the areas of their life, except for romantic relationships; these are an exception.

In almost every aspect of their life they both act as man qua human being.

Whether a woman can rule all men or not has nothing to do with romantic partners.

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...I get a lot of flak for disagreeing with Miss Rand's view that the ideal woman should look up to her ideal man instead of possibly also the other way around.

Allright, how about this. I'll throw one of your Rand quotes back at you.

"The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of woman he can find, the woman he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer "

Now, is that not enough "looking up" for you? :D

For me, one of the biggest changes in my thinking as an Objectivist was around the meaning of love. I was raised with the Christian version, that love was "unselfish", that it was more about accepting your love's flaws. Objectivism turned it around for me 180 degrees. It took my a while to reconcile that statement above. I felt it emotionally, but didn't want to admit I felt it, out of "fairness" or "equalness" to the other person. Shoot, how can you conquer something you admire? Isn't conquer synonymous with destroy, crush, debase, force to submit? Doesn't a woman looking up to her love mean that she is somehow not as good?

Here's how I reconcile it. Love is about mutual admiration or worship. Not for your flaws, but for one's virtues. That's the Objectivist basis. What Rand posits is that it is one's emotional perspective toward that worship that is just slightly different. It's really a specific difference, in a very specific context, but feminists trip over the words, because they're "fighting words".

Edited by KendallJ
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Whether a woman can rule all men or not has nothing to do with romantic partners.

I am not replying to that, it was a reply to some of the other points she made... I haven't yet read the relevant article myself, and I would rather not base my opinion on just one paragraph of text. I was merely pointing out that those two statements are not in conflict.

Edited by Maarten
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I am not replying to that, it was a reply to some of the other points she made... I haven't yet read the relevant article myself, and I would rather not base my opinion on just one paragraph of text. I was merely pointing out that those two statements are not in conflict.

Sorry about that. Her statements of "woman qua woman' which you included in quote in your reply are from that article.

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Hey guys, its best to look at the original texts before making assumptions.

Miseleigh, your quote Woman Qua Woman is missing quite a bit. It has been edited. You can find it in the Lexicon as an explanation of Feminity. You can also read the original which is the article:

"An answer to Readers (About a Woman President)" <-- The Objectivist, Dec. 1968, 1.

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I know it's been edited, but unfortunately I do not own the Lexicon, and don't have a copy of that article. What was the context? Does it change the meaning of the quotes I did find online?

Also, are her views on gender roles even part of the Objectivist philosophy? I couldn't find them on ARI, which leads me to believe they're not. If they're not, there's really not much point discussing them because they have no bearing on a person's morality, and it is completely personal choice.

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Hey guys, its best to look at the original texts before making assumptions.

Miseleigh, your quote Woman Qua Woman is missing quite a bit. It has been edited. You can find it in the Lexicon as an explanation of Feminity. You can also read the original which is the article:

"An answer to Readers (About a Woman President)" <-- The Objectivist, Dec. 1968, 1.

The entire essay seems to be geared at stating that metaphysicaly, femininity means that a woman can not place herself in leadership above men because, and I almost hesitate to say it, it would damage the men's masculinity and if she does that there is no one to hero-worship. I've read it about 20 times now and just am not seeing what she's trying to get across, or seeing it and not liking it. (It's in The Voice of Reason also) I've seen a few threads and discussion on this one before because it seems to be the most pointed at with 'I disagree with Rand here but not anywhere else', and have yet to see a satisfactory explanation.

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I know it's been edited, but unfortunately I do not own the Lexicon, and don't have a copy of that article. What was the context? Does it change the meaning of the quotes I did find online?

Also, are her views on gender roles even part of the Objectivist philosophy? I couldn't find them on ARI, which leads me to believe they're not. If they're not, there's really not much point discussing them because they have no bearing on a person's morality, and it is completely personal choice.

Short answer. It is not part of the Objectivist philosophy. I pulled the whole essay from Voice of Reason. I'm not going to quote the whole thing here, but hopefully give you enough that you'll get a better context.

Ironically, the two sentences the open the woman qua woman paragraph denote clearly that it is not a philosophical issue.

The issues is primarily psychological [emphasis mine]. It invovles a woman's fundamental view of life, of herself and of her basic values.

As to the context of her specific beef with the presidency...

Women may properly rise as high as their ability and ambition will carry them; in politics, they may reach the ranks of congresswomen, senators, judges, or any similar rank they choose. ...

Now consider the meaning of the Presidency. ... In the performance of his duties, the president does not deal with equals, but only with inferiors (not inferiors as persons, but in respect to thei hierarchy of their positions, their work, and their responsibilities)

In the early part of the article, she delimits what she does not mean by this preference.

I do not think a rational woman can want to be President. Observe that I did not say she would be unable to do the job; I said that she could not want it. It is not a matter of her ability, but of her values.

It is not an issue of feminine "inferiority," intellectually or morally; women are not inferior to men in ability or intelligence... It is certainly not an issue of the popular notion that women are motivated predominantly by their emotions - which is utter nonsense. It is not an issue of the false dichotomy of marriage versus career ... wether married or single, women need and should have careers, for the same reasons as men.

(apologies for the typos...)

Howzat?

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I know it's been edited, but unfortunately I do not own the Lexicon, and don't have a copy of that article. What was the context? Does it change the meaning of the quotes I did find online?

Also, are her views on gender roles even part of the Objectivist philosophy? I couldn't find them on ARI, which leads me to believe they're not. If they're not, there's really not much point discussing them because they have no bearing on a person's morality, and it is completely personal choice.

I don't write off the essay for the simple fact she says its not a question of wether a woman can do the job or not, but want to. She brings it down to a point of it being a matter fo a woman's values and metaphysics, and as such, I consider it part of Objectivism and not an opinion piece.

Hero worship is a demanding virtue: a woman has to be worthy of it and of the hero she worships. Intellectually and morally, i.e., as a human being, she has to be his equal; then the object of her worship is specifically his masculinity, not any virtue she might lack.

(bold for emphasis)

She tries to make it very clear that it's not a question of inferiority while at the same time saying only a man can be the big cheese.

Edited by Lathanar
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The entire essay seems to be geared at stating that metaphysicaly, femininity means that a woman can not place herself in leadership above men because, and I almost hesitate to say it, it would damage the men's masculinity and if she does that there is no one to hero-worship.

Read it again, then because that is not what it says. Where does she say anything about damaging men's masculinity? My best explanation was in a previous post.

Her statement here is: I believe the nature of feminity is X. A woman acting under that premise, would find being President psychologically unpalatable, and unenjoyable. I would find it so much so that I would never be President. Your experience is really not what she's talking about I think. I work with women who are my peers, supervisors, and such. While none of them "sacrifice" their feminity as such, I think in the context of the relationship with their male subordinates, they do sacrifice it a bit. Rand is just saying if I were in a situation where the majority of men I dealt with were subordinate to me, I'd sacrifice enough of my feminity that I wouldn't have a strong enough outlet for it, and would find such a situaion emotionally repugnant. She said nothing about the ability or right of a woman to be president, nor rights in general, nor the equality of men in general.

And she specifically applies it only to the Presidency, not any other situation where a woman "place herself in leadership above men". It really is so delimited, and as she said, based on psychology - not philosophy, that it should never have created the stir that it did [back then].

Edited by KendallJ
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Rand is just saying if I were in a situation where the majority of men I dealt with were subordinate to me, I'd sacrifice enough of my feminity that I wouldn't have a strong enough outlet for it, and would find such a situaion emotionally repugnant.

Why would a woman find it repungnant to have a majority of men subordinate and not a man. What is it about masculinity that would cause a woman to have to sacrifice femininity to rule while a man would not sacrifice masculinity to rule? What would cause her not to have a strong enough outlet for her femininity if she is in charge? Did she diminish the men's masculinity simply by being the ruler? The only logical reason I can think of is that to rule is part of masculinity and not femininity.

And she specifically applies it only to the Presidency, not any other situation where a woman "place herself in leadership above men". It really is so delimited, and as she said, based on psychology - not philosophy, that it should never have created the stir that it did [back then].

She applies it to any political position that involves a woman as highest authority. She uses the term matriarch.

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I don't understand why a woman qua woman could not want to be President. Why does a man not find it psychologically repugnant to be the President for the same reasons a woman does? Ayn Rand's reasoning here (or, at least, the bits and pieces of it that I've seen) seem to contradict much of what Objectivism is about. Can someone clear this up?

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