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Very intersting comments FeatherFall.

In regard to aequalsa's post. He is quoting comments from Miseleigh. I will put the appropriate comments in quotes.

"(Side note: being young = being weaker? What?)"
Younger is in most regards a weakness. Intellectually, financially, physically and otherwise. All strength requires time to develop. Very few people get weaker as they age. By young I mean being 19 as opposed to 40. Obviously at 97 years old you will be physically weaker.

I would not call a gymnast 'delicate', nor would I call a good softball player 'delicate'.

No, not necessarily. But her toughness is not what makes her sttractive to men. My point was only that the physical(not intellectual) attraction men feel is toward a woman's fragility.

I also did not say it was a moral failure to be delicate- I said that a woman does not have to be 'delicate' to be feminine/female/valued as a woman.

I didn't say that you did. I would agree that she doesn't have to be delicate to be valued as a person. But as a woman qua woman, I believe she does.

Granted, women (in general) are physically weaker than men (in general) but there are plenty of exceptions to that 'rule', and I don't see those women as being somehow immoral or irrational just because they're stronger than most of the men they know. Do you have some sort of proof that a woman would be unable to bench 200 lbs wthout the use of testosterone?
No, I just havn't met any that do. Men have on average 3X's the upper body strength of women. Most men can't bench 200 lbs so I thought it was a safe number. The hormones just are not there for women to bulk up to the same extent men can.

"First, what types of strength can women not possess? "

Great physical strength is the obvious one and probably what is most pertinant although I believe generally, greater psychological strength is the result of genetic roots also and is therefore a metaphysically given. As an example, a study recently showed that due to the fact that female infants have a tendency to hold the gaze of people longer do to better facial recognition abilities, they are held by caretakers 3 hours per day as opposed to 1 hour per day with male childern. The result is that from very early on males will tend to be less interested in the people around them and engage in more exploratory activities. This leads to a higher propensity for risk taking behavior and arguably more independence. Women on the other hand develop better linguistic skills and empathetic understanding in relationships with others. This early independence and risk taking behavior tends to create a greater degree of efficaciousness with regard to certain aspects of reality. One of those I think would be psychological strength. Soldiering on during difficult circumstances without emotional breakdown. (And yes, of course there can be exceptions)

"Second, how does someone being shorter make it harder to psychologically look up to them?"
When you think of a hero,abstractly, are they very often short and soft? Is that the understood definition of efficaciousness?

"Would you not look up to Dagny Taggart if she was shorter than you? "

I would look up to her as a person...but not romantically as a woman.

"Third, of course I would never leave out my ideas of moral strength, integrity, etc. out of my romantic relationships. Did you really think I said I would try? I'm not sure what you mean by this statement."
I think that you should try to. Rand is very clear that what a woman ought to look up to in a man is his masculinity, not any particular virtue she lacks. Those are necessarily in gauging a person but are not attached to either masculinity or femininity and as such are not a part of that attraction.

"My position is not that it is somehow wrong for a woman to look up to the man she's romantically involved with, or wrong for her to be physiologically weaker in any way. I simply do not agree with Miss Rand's idea of hero-worship as the essence of a woman's femininity or her reasoning for claiming that, or that all rational women ought to look up to her lover. I believe that is a choice based on personal preferences, not based on the fact that she's female. The third part of my argument is that Miss Rand's stance here seems to be morally lopsided, yet she advocates moral and intellectual equality throughout her actual philosophy.

OK...let me try another way....Ever watch one of those lame movies where the guy essentially sits locked up in the tower waiting for Rambet to come and rescue him. They are horrible not because a woman can't be heroic and a guy can't be weak, but because no one seriously believes that a woman like that would be romantically interested in a man she has to rescue. Women find firefighters and other heroic jobs like that sexy. Men don't(except the scantily clad firewomen in oversized suspenders you might see in a pinup :) ) There is a reason for that.

I don't have any official information to back this up, just my personal experiences, but in every relationship I have been a part of or been close enough to the parties involved to know what was going on, there has been a period of time toward the beginning where guys get "tested" in a way. The woman is usually trying to see on some level what he's made of and how much she can control him. If he gives in then she usually looses interest pretty quick, if not they do pretty well. Like I said, this is my personal subjective understanding of what I see, but it has done a lot to confirm the fact for me that women are generally attracted to men who are stronger then them physically and psychologically in the context of the relationship. Not a lot stronger mind you, just a little bit stronger. For men the opposite is generally true.

No doubt exceptions to this exist, and you may be one of them, but generally it is true. In most relationships men are the "metaphysically dominant" sex. It can be reversed of course, but Ayn Rand would argue and I would agree that in doing so, you are missing out on the most enjoyable aspect of a romantic relationship.

EDIT: This entire post (besides the bold at the top and this edit) are from aequalsa.

Edited by Ragnar Danneskjold
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Men's strength(the particular types that women cannot posess) is what women should should worship and women's "weaknesses" (the particular types that men ought not posess) is what men cherish.

"Cherish."

That's it! That's the word I've been looking for! Gordon, I am in your debt.

Femininity is hero-worship; the worship of the masculine.

I have strongly said in the past that what men do is not worship women or the feminine. Now I can say what we do, and not just what we don't.

A man cherishes femininity. He does not worship his woman. He fights for her, protects her, works to earn and achieve her love and admiration, acts to gain and to keep her. These are all actions of someone who values something, but the precise kind of valuing is not... repeat not that of "worship."

Ah, that feels good; to be able to express that properly in words.

Using Ayn Rand's concepts as examples, the pairings would be either the 'essence of femininity/masculinity is heroinism/heroism' or the 'essence of feminity/masculinity is hero-worship/heroine-worship'. Any mixing of those implies an inequality.

Of course it implies an inequality, and that's precisely why Ayn Rand mixed them, as it were. Because there is an inequality between men and women. Men and women are indesputably, biologically, unequal. What sense did you mean "inequality?" I take it to mean "not precisely the same."

Is a man supposed to worship a woman's femininity too, then?

No, he is supposed to cherish it. Worshipping a woman's femininity would be just about the most unmasculine thing a guy could do. You ever see one of those sweater-wearing "men" that attends feminist-manhater-rallies? Would you describe that man as "masculine?"

I'm not sure where Rand said that specifically, but the answer, for me, is yes. A woman's feminity is part of what I worship.

Don't use that word, man! It's so... emasculating. What you mean is cherish. :)

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"Cherish."

That's it! That's the word I've been looking for! Gordon, I am in your debt.

Femininity is hero-worship; the worship of the masculine.

I have strongly said in the past that what men do is not worship women or the feminine. Now I can say what we do, and not just what we don't.

A man cherishes femininity. He does not worship his woman. He fights for her, protects her, works to earn and achieve her love and admiration, acts to gain and to keep her. These are all actions of someone who values something, but the precise kind of valuing is not... repeat not that of "worship."

hmmm. I can go with that vocabulary too. I think that the common usage of worship is what you think is unmasculine.

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If any kind of essences can be properly defined, I don't think there should be a difference between them. Using Ayn Rand's concepts as examples, the pairings would be either the 'essence of femininity/masculinity is heroinism/heroism' or the 'essence of feminity/masculinity is hero-worship/heroine-worship'. Any mixing of those implies an inequality.
If there are such things as essence of femininity/masculinity, they'd have to be inequal. Otherwise we have nothing but milquetoast definitions as "the essence of femininity is whatever happens to be observed in women" i.e. nothing done by any woman could be considered unfeminine.

But the reason I ask is that (I believe) everyone has divergent standards of what is masculine and feminine. When most women date, the guy pays, the girl offers to pay. This may be a cultural thing, BUT... it's (generally) an accepted cultural thing. That is, a girl who merely offers to pay (as opposed to taking the check and paying) is implicitly accepting this as an application of femininity/masculinity, and to the extent that they aren't evading, explicitly agreeing with the inequality (otherwise they wouldn't act in such an elitist manner?)

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hmmm. I can go with that vocabulary too. I think that the common usage of worship is what you think is unmasculine.

Yes, I certainly think that one is. I'll have to think for a bit before I fully decide whether the other one is, as well. But my preliminary thoughts are "yes."

And then there would be the question of whether "worship2" is unmasculine or merely nonmasculine. After all, a man is not being masculine with every single thing he does.

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I didn't say that you did. I would agree that she doesn't have to be delicate to be valued as a person. But as a woman qua woman, I believe she does.

When I said 'valued as a woman' I meant 'woman qua woman.' As in, a rational, selfish woman. I'm interested in your view here though- as you might have realized, women don't always have control over their specific body type. Are you saying here that a woman who has a stockier build than most cannot be rational, or is your definition of delicate different from mine?

Great physical strength is the obvious one and probably what is most pertinant although I believe generally, greater psychological strength is the result of genetic roots also and is therefore a metaphysically given... One of those I think would be psychological strength. Soldiering on during difficult circumstances without emotional breakdown. (And yes, of course there can be exceptions)
Women tend to recover better and sooner then men after the death of a loved one, especially a spouse. That would indicate to me that it is in fact women who are psychologically stronger.

Rand is very clear that what a woman ought to look up to in a man is his masculinity, not any particular virtue she lacks. Those are necessarily in gauging a person but are not attached to either masculinity or femininity and as such are not a part of that attraction.

They are the biggest parts of that attraction. I would not be attracted to a man without any of those qualities no matter how 'masculine' he is.

OK...let me try another way....Ever watch one of those lame movies where the guy essentially sits locked up in the tower waiting for Rambet to come and rescue him. They are horrible not because a woman can't be heroic and a guy can't be weak, but because no one seriously believes that a woman like that would be romantically interested in a man she has to rescue. Women find firefighters and other heroic jobs like that sexy. Men don't(except the scantily clad firewomen in oversized suspenders you might see in a pinup :) ) There is a reason for that.
Yes, there is a reason... perhaps you watched a lot of tv as a child? Or perhaps you were raised in a society which instilled those ideas in you?

If he gives in then she usually looses interest pretty quick, if not they do pretty well. Like I said, this is my personal subjective understanding of what I see, but it has done a lot to confirm the fact for me that women are generally attracted to men who are stronger then them physically and psychologically in the context of the relationship. Not a lot stronger mind you, just a little bit stronger. For men the opposite is generally true.

That says you prefer women who will give in to your judgement. Is that what you meant? It's true that most women I know don't want a man who will just give in to her, but most men I know don't want a women who will just give in to them, either. Any rational woman will not 'just give in' unless they actually agree with what the man is saying. That's completely against Objectivism. I doubt that's what Ayn Rand meant.

In most relationships men are the "metaphysically dominant" sex. It can be reversed of course, but Ayn Rand would argue and I would agree that in doing so, you are missing out on the most enjoyable aspect of a romantic relationship.
I always thought the most enjoyable aspect was the companionship, not the domination factor...

Aequalsa, please be careful of generalizations. I didn't see where your reply addressed the fundamentals of this discussion - it might have been because of your neglect of the quote function.

It was not because of his neglect of the quote function. Aequalsa- by your logic, I would be completely justified in saying that men are a**holes, because men are more often a**holes than women are.

My question is this: Can my type of woman engage in hero worship? If she can, either Rand was wrong in her statement, or common notions about femininity and submission/weakness are bogus. Maybe both.
Well, Rand said that the 'essence of femininity is hero-worship', not that hero-worship <i>only</i> exists within a feminine woman. She could engage in hero-worship while not proving Rand to be wrong.

If there are such things as essence of femininity/masculinity, they'd have to be inequal. Otherwise we have nothing but milquetoast definitions as "the essence of femininity is whatever happens to be observed in women" i.e. nothing done by any woman could be considered unfeminine.

'Whatever happens to be observe in women' is an entirely different statement than 'Having qualities or characteristics that a culture associates with being female.' However, I should have used 'inequivalent' instead of 'inequal'.

But the reason I ask is that (I believe) everyone has divergent standards of what is masculine and feminine. When most women date, the guy pays, the girl offers to pay. This may be a cultural thing, BUT... it's (generally) an accepted cultural thing.

Just because it's generally accepted doesn't mean it's necessary for a woman to follow those standards in order to be a woman qua woman. Especially when everyone has different standards. The question at hand is if the hero-worship thing is a cultural or innate psychological difference.

@aequalsa: Please be more careful with the way you phrase your statements. I found your post somewhat insulting as a woman, as if you fully believe that women are inferior to men, and also mildly insulting personally. I assume it was unintentional, but please desist.

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That says you prefer women who will give in to your judgement. Is that what you meant? It's true that most women I know don't want a man who will just give in to her, but most men I know don't want a women who will just give in to them, either. Any rational woman will not 'just give in' unless they actually agree with what the man is saying. That's completely against Objectivism. I doubt that's what Ayn Rand meant.

I always thought the most enjoyable aspect was the companionship, not the domination factor...

I prefer a woman who will tell me when I'm being stupid rather than just giving in and letting me go on my way. I think most men will when they think about it, but most just lump it to women trying to control them.

They are the biggest parts of that attraction. I would not be attracted to a man without any of those qualities no matter how 'masculine' he is.

She addresses this. She says that for a 'hero' to be worthy of a woman worshiping him, he has to be her intellectual and moral equal. I take this to mean that they have to have the same values and virtues. This is where she breaks it out that the only thing left to worship is masculinity.

My only problem right now with her ideas of what constitutes masculinity and femininity is that women can not rule all men in a political position, that attribute of masculinity that puts it over femininity. What if she was a very masculine woman?

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Some people seem to be unclear on what we are actually discussing, so I'll try to clarify it. There are several related issues with Ayn Rand's views on gender roles.

"an ideal woman is a man-worshiper, and an ideal man is the highest symbol of mankind."
<- I have been unable to find the original source for this quote, but it appears in many essays about Ayn Rand.

"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."(Rand [1968] 1988 267-69)

The problem with this view is that it contradicts with Rand's idea of individualism- hero-worship requires a person to be worshipped, and requires a person to recieve that worship. These two quotes together imply (to me) that, although the ideal man can exist on his own, the ideal woman cannot.

"To act as the superior, the leader, virtually the ruler of all the men 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)

This quote, as I interpret it, says that a woman cannot be a woman qua woman without being feminine- without being a man-worshipper (admirer), and without having a man to worship.

The problems, as I see them, are as follows:

1) The idea of man-worship is at odds with individualism.

1a) If the ideal man can exist individually while the ideal woman cannot, they are not morally equal.

2) A woman who is unfeminine (not a man-worshipper) is denying her self (not being selfish) and is therefore irrational.

Does anyone interpret these quotes differently?

Edit: Lathanar, I think the answer to your question is what I've stated as problem #2.

Edited by miseleigh
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So maybe a thought experiment. Forget any perceived cultural norms for a minute and focus on your psychology, your emotional response. What traits make you feel "feminine"? tough to draw specific conclusions I know. Sit with it for while. If you say none in particular affect your pschology, then ask yourself if, in any given romantic situation, you can be confident that your boyfriend takes the exact same emotional perspective that you do. Heck, maybe ask him to introspect and try to share his emotional perspective with you. Are there any differences? (hmmm I have an idea for a forum experiment)...

The forum experiment is posted as a separate thread here. I need your participation to build up a dataset!

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First. Inspector. I need you to clarify your definition of inequalty. In what senses do you mean.

As you have probably noted, this term is very misleading. Please specify in which senses you mean (Psychological, biological, etc...). See one of Kendal's earlier posts.

My only problem right now with her ideas of what constitutes masculinity and femininity is that women can not rule all men in a political position, that attribute of masculinity that puts it over femininity. What if she was a very masculine woman?
If she was a very masculine woman (body-builder type, etc..), I think the logic would follow that she does not value femininity.

Either she can then be president, because loosing femininity would be of no loss to her.

OR - According to Rand she cannot be president because she would not be a rational being.

I think Rand's argument here is quite silly.

I always thought the most enjoyable aspect was the companionship, not the domination factor

Companionship can be with anyone. A dog is a companion. Other males/ females are companions. So this cannot be the feature that separates a relationship from friendship.

Is dominance (defined here as physical b/c it applies to masculinity) the differentiating factor?

Let me clarify that last statement....

She addresses this. She says that for a 'hero' to be worthy of a woman worshiping him, he has to be her intellectual and moral equal. I take this to mean that they have to have the same values and virtues. This is where she breaks it out that the only thing left to worship is masculinity.
Edited by Ragnar Danneskjold
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No doubt exceptions to this exist, and you may be one of them, but generally it is true. In most relationships men are the "metaphysically dominant" sex. It can be reversed of course, but Ayn Rand would argue and I would agree that in doing so, you are missing out on the most enjoyable aspect of a romantic relationship.

I always thought the most enjoyable aspect was the companionship, not the domination factor

Companionship can be with anyone. A dog is a companion. Other males/ females are companions. So cannot be the feature that separates a relationship from friendship.

I said 'the companionship' vs. 'the domination factor', implying as related to the topic at hand. We hadn't been discussing what separates a romantic relationship from a friendship. I could have phrased it as 'the romantic companionship, not the sexual domination factor'. I suppose I thought it was implied. I'll try to be more clear. Contextually speaking though, it should have been clear what I meant.

Edit: spelling

Edited by miseleigh
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The problem with this view is that it contradicts with Rand's idea of individualism- hero-worship requires a person to be worshipped, and requires a person to recieve that worship. These two quotes together imply (to me) that, although the ideal man can exist on his own, the ideal woman cannot.

Thanks for that clarification of what your seeing. This in a way goes to my question and your #2: Could the Amazon's be feminine or even rational, in a society without men?

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Thanks for that clarification of what your seeing. This in a way goes to my question and your #2: Could the Amazon's be feminine or even rational, in a society without men?

They cannot be femininie EXCEPT WHEN A MAN IS IN THEIR PRESENCE. They can be rational.

Femininity and masculinity only show up when there is a member of each sex present.

Anyone can be rational without femininity or masculinity.

Edited by Ragnar Danneskjold
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They cannot be femininie EXCEPT WHEN A MAN IS IN THEIR PRESENCE. They can be rational.

Femininity and masculinity only show up when there is a member of each sex present.

Anyone can be rational without femininity or masculinity.

So a bunch of Amazon's going about doing there thing, I'll throw in that they have a Queen ruling them, are fine, being rational, until a man shows up?

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So a bunch of Amazon's going about doing there thing, I'll throw in that they have a Queen ruling them, are fine, being rational, until a man shows up?

I take this two different ways:

1) "In a group that only consists of women, rationality exists. When a man shows up, it goes out the door."

2) "In a group that only consists of woman, with a queen ruling over them, rationality exists. When a man shows up it is only the queens rationality that goes out the door."

Which did you mean?

I responded to the the first one originally. My response follows:

Rationaly has no bearing on femininity or masculinity. It is a trait determined by the amount of extrogen/ testosterone and on how someone chooses to portray his/herself.

When the women are alone, they are rational. When the woman are in contact with a man, they are still rational. They also notice differences in his physical appearance. This noting of differences is what draws femininity and masculinity into the picture. I see no correlation between rationality and femininity/masculinitiy.

I will respond to the second one soon.

Edited by Ragnar Danneskjold
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The queen may or may not change things. Lets leave her out. Lets say just a grouping of woman.

So to restate what you just said in clearer terms:

"In a group of all women, rationality exists. When a man shows up, it goes out the door."

Absolutely NOT what I am saying.

Rationaly has no bearing on femininity or masculinity. It is a trait determined by the amount of extrogen/ testosterone and on how someone chooses to portray his/herself.

So. Let me state again..

When the women are alone, they are rational. When the woman are in contact with a man, they are still rational. They ALSO notice differences in his physical appearance. This noting of differences is what draws femininity and masculinity into the picture. There is NO correlation between rationality and femininity/masculinitiy.

Actually I need the queen.

They are fine having a queen rule them, as there is no men to look up to. A man shows up, now a woman is ruling a majority of the men so she is being irrational at that point by Rand's reasoning.

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They are fine having a queen rule them, as there is no men to look up to. A man shows up, now a woman is ruling a majority of the men so she is being irrational at that point by Rand's reasoning.

That's exactly Ayn Rand's idea. This is why I think she was completely wrong about the 'essence of femininity' and that femininity is always a characteristic of the woman qua woman. If she was wrong about that, the Amazons, and the Queen, would remain rational in any case.

The only part left in this chain is her basic premise that hero-worship is the essence of femininity, which is a required characteristic of a rational woman.

So there are two issues here. If the essence of femininity is not hero-worship, it's possible that it could still be a required characteristic of a rational woman. If the essence of feminity is hero-worship, it could not be a required characteristic. Anything else would say that any group like the Amazons were automatically irrational because there were no men around.

Edit: clarification, added some stuff, yeah...

Edited by miseleigh
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... They are fine having a queen rule them, as there is no men to look up to. A man shows up, now a woman is ruling a majority of the men so she is being irrational at that point by Rand's reasoning.
Oh, this is a very nice approach. :D

In details: (answer to "why?")

First, create an environment without men. (Futurama episode of characters landing on the planet Amazonia :) or one really old Polish movie) Apply Rand's view. Get stable women leader. Next, introduce an appropriate reactive solvent ( :) men ). And get a sudden reassignment of leadership and its validity as measured by values of hero-worship.

This shows an energetical imbalance in the system. While this alone doesn't prove any stance in the topic, it does show a possible problem. If this was in physics, one could say that we have a way to create free energy on our hands: small addition (1 man) leads to large reevaluation and repositioning of leadership in the system.

Since, free energy doesn't exist, this means that we have stored energy somewhere that is being released as men introduced into the system. The trick is to figure out if this extra energy is imposed by the theory, or if it actually exists. :smartass:

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1) "In a group that only consists of women, rationality exists. When a man shows up, it goes out the door."

Actually, I presented my idea horribly wrong, been thinking about it over lunch (not the queen one, that's a good one I think)

Masculinity and Femininity do not go away, they are always there, they are a metaphysical fact. What I really should have said with this one is that a bunch of women on their own are fine. When a man shows up, there is suddenly a masculine presence, are they suddenly unfeminine if they don't look up to that man. If the essence of femininity is hero-worship, are they equally fine in having no hero present as having no one present worthy of being a hero. If there is no man around who is masculine enough to look up to, then they should have no problem ruling them.

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...and, as the record will show, I disagree with this. It is not masculine to worship.
So you've said the word you mean specifically; cherish. Why not break down the essentials of worship and cherish, show us how they are different and how they necessarily apply primarily to women and men, respectively? Show us how a woman cherishing - not worshiping - her man is unfeminine or afeminine, and do the same for men and worship.

Megan, as I have said before, I think worship is an important part of a romantic relationship from both sides. And I think that is where the value rests in the statement of Ayn Rand's that lead to this discussion. I think the statement was, at best, worded poorly. At worst it was a description through non-essentials. But it does lead to an important conclusion: that some extreme form of valuing is required for a proper romantic relationship. Ayn Rand only made explicit one side of the puzzle. But everyone here seems to agree that the extreme valuing happens on both sides. Parsing words like cherish and worship seems silly to me, but maybe Inspector will show me how I'm in error.

To bring back the super hero analogy: It seems to me that some here like the idea of Superman saving Lois Lane. I prefer the idea of Cyclops and Marvel Girl fighting side by side. I think the first is silly, others think the same of the second. It's a matter of aesthetics and doesn't mean much outside of our own personal contexts.

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As for male/female differences...

If I understand you, miseleigh, you're saying that though there are some subjective cultural standards, you don't think there are objective, universally valid essences of femininity/masculinity. Is this correct?

Everyone either has equivalent standards of masculinity/femininity, or inequivalent ones. I doubt there is a strong argument why someone with truly equivalent standards ought to change to inequivalent ones. But similarly, for anyone possessing inequivalent standards, I think it would be contradictory to promote equivalent standards.

Regardless of whether it were subjectively cultural or innate, how could one choose to act on inequivalent, subjective cultural standards of masculinity and femininity, unless the idea of nonequivalent standards was thought to be correct?

They are fine having a queen rule them, as there is no men to look up to. A man shows up, now a woman is ruling a majority of the men so she is being irrational at that point by Rand's reasoning.
While I don't particularly agree with her statements against female presidents, this is not quite indicative of Rand's reasoning. As I understand it, Rand's point was that, in an Amazonia, women would (rationally) choose to become queen ("unlimited" government position) only when the queenship was necessary for government and other capable people (**male or female**) are unwilling. She wasn't saying that a previously rational action suddenly becomes irrational when Hercules pops up.
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