Guest ElizabethLee

femininity vs heroine worship

299 posts in this topic

Bill Bucko posted a must-read description of meeting AR; he then added a question;

During the question and answer period a diffident young woman respectfully questioned Miss Rand’s views on femininity.* Miss Rand nodded gently, acknowledging that the issue was not self-evident, and politely recommended, “Well ... think about it.”

..... She didn’t look like a world famous writer. She was as natural and unpretentious as could be, and seemed innocently, almost childishly happy to be meeting people who loved her books.

An earnest young man reached her side, and uttered some solemn words of thanks. She listened quietly, then nodded her head in acknowledgment when he was done. As far as I could guess, though, she seemed more comfortable with the more casual attitude of the majority of her fans, whose mood I think I could sum up as: “Hurray! Isn’t it fun that we get to meet each other? (And please could you autograph this for me, as a souvenir?)”

After a while the manager came and told Miss Rand it was time to close the building. “Oh, couldn’t we stay just a little while longer?” she smiled up at him, and he relented.

.... overheard her plans for the rest of the evening: she was going to ride back to New York on the Greyhound Bus, with her beloved husband Frank O’Connor at her side.

....we saw a warm, friendly, youthful old woman, with the innocence of a young girl. We saw a person who was delighted to see us, apparently at peace with herself and deeply happy.

....

Copyright © 1992 by Bill Bucko

* Rightfully so, I think. I believe Miss Rand’s unique psychological situation—knowing herself to be at the top of the “pyramid of ability,” having no one above her—coupled with her passionate need to look up and admire—may have led her mistakenly (though understandably) to elevate the status of men above women (in the limited respect in which she did do so). But if “the essence of femininity is hero worship,” as Miss Rand said, why can’t the essence of masculinity be ... heroine worship?

Bill, are you out there? do you still have the question? does anyone else?

I did think about this a lot, and came to the conclusion, yet again; AR was right.

:) I'd be happy to share thoughts if currently people have this question.

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p.s. I included so much of the post because femininity is expressed, imho.

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this too;

..... We asked him, once, what Miss Rand was like in person.  He gave a big smile and replied, "A living doll!"

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I'd love to hear what you have to say, Elizabeth.

thank you, Freecap! :) Could you tell me your particular question/thoughts? I work much better with specifics, then getting to the generals. And... despite my history here I try to conserve typing...

I had to come back and repost tonight because I didn't make my thought clear, I agree that "hero-worship is the essence of femininity" but I disagree that masculinity, in essence, is "hero-worship."

I think this topic may be able to bring up the other topic I'd thought of posting: sass vs crass vs tame humor/etc in women. I feel Bill's post answered my question, though, at least to first order...!

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I found a 55-replies, 3k-viewed thread here, that's related;

I beleive [an article] suggests that a man should be dominant in the bedroom when it comes to sex. 

Now I get to go read it :)

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Bill Bucko posted a must-read description of meeting AR; he then added a question;

Bill, are you out there?  do you still have the question?  does anyone else?

I did think about  this a lot, and came to the conclusion, yet again; AR was right. 

:) I'd be happy to share thoughts if currently people have this question.

Is your question just for Bill Bucko, or would you like others to post their thoughts as well? I certainly would! :D

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I didn't say anything on the "fantasies" thread because I was on deadline for my CyberNet, but since this topic is just getting started, I'd like to add some of my thoughts.

I agree that "hero-worship is the essence of femininity" but I disagree that masculinity, in essence, is "hero-worship."

Masculinity is, in essence, BEING a hero that conquers reality. A man's primary relationship is to reality. He seeks, creates, and achieves values in reality. Most of the time, so does a woman.

The difference occurs with respect to romantic love. Here, a man seeks a value -- the woman -- and the woman IS the value. IF he is the right man, she gives up control of her mind and body and LETS him.

Considering how much is at stake for a woman -- control of her whole self -- to the degree she values herself, she will only surrender to a man who can conquer her. How does a man conquer a woman, particularly an independent, rational, heroic woman? That is an interesting issue of uniquely feminine psychology.

When a woman feels intense admiration for a man, she can be overwhelmed with admiration to the degree that she actually loses control, automatically, and is reduced to the perceptual level and often the sensory level. Really!

Here are some examples of Dagny's response to Galt:

They were alone in a silent forest, at the foot of a structure that looked like an ancient temple-and she knew what rite was the proper form of worship to be offered on an altar of that kind. She felt a sudden pressure at the base of her throat, her head leaned back a little, no more than to feel the faint shift of a current against her hair, but it was as if she were lying back in space, against the wind, conscious of nothing but his legs and the shape of his mouth.
She felt the light-headed, the easy, the almost frivolous sensation of triumph in the knowledge that she was holding him as surely as by a physical touch; for the length of a moment, brief and dangerous to endure, it was a more satisfying form of contact.

Then she felt a sudden, blinding shock, which was half-blow, half-scream within her, and she groped, stunned, for its cause-only to realize that he had leaned a little to one side and it had been no more than the sight of an accidental posture, of the long line running from his shoulder to the angle of his waist, to his hips, down his legs. She looked away, not to let him see that she was trembling—and she dropped all thoughts of triumph and of whose was the power.

A man feels empowered to act when he is sexually aroused. When a woman is aroused she is overcome with admiration for the man she loves and she completely loses control. THAT is feminine hero-worship.

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Is your question just for Bill Bucko, or would you like others to post their thoughts as well? I certainly would!  :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hi A! Yes, of course please do post your thoughts!

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How does a man conquer a woman, particularly an independent, rational, heroic woman?

hi Betsy! I was hoping you'd post :). I'm glad you kept your deadline too :D

I've been mulling the word "conquer." I recently saw the video, Taming of the Shrew, with Burton/Taylor (1967 Zefirelli); http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061407/

Imho, that's a classic dramatization of a conquering without mastery. The complete surrender has not occurred yet at the ending of the movie [hoping this is not a plot spoiler?]; in fact, the chase has just begun.

By conquering [Elizabeth], [Richard] now has the opportunity, but not the certainty, of mastering her. Similarly, when we wage war, we, alas, face the chance of losing mastery [in Afghanistan/Iraq] after a very successful conquering.

Perhaps this is where my view was departing from yours and Steve's?

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I didn't say anything on the "fantasies" thread because I was on deadline for my CyberNet, but since this topic is just getting started, I'd like to add some of my thoughts.

Masculinity is, in essence, BEING a hero that conquers reality.  A man's primary relationship is to reality.  He seeks, creates, and achieves values in reality.  Most of the time, so does a woman.

The difference occurs with respect to romantic love.  Here, a man seeks a value -- the woman -- and the woman IS the value.  IF he is the right man, she gives up control of her mind and body and LETS him.

Considering how much is at stake for a woman -- control of her whole self -- to the degree she values herself, she will only surrender to a man who can conquer her.  How does a man conquer a woman, particularly an independent, rational, heroic woman?  That is an interesting issue of uniquely feminine psychology.

When a woman feels intense admiration for a man, she can be overwhelmed with admiration to the degree that she actually loses control, automatically, and is reduced to the perceptual level and often the sensory level.  Really!

Here are some examples of Dagny's response to Galt:

A man feels empowered to act when he is sexually aroused.  When a woman is aroused she is overcome with admiration for the man she loves and she completely loses control.  THAT is feminine hero-worship.

Betsy, first let me express admiration for such a clear post!

When you say that a woman automatically loses control, do you mean that that is part of her nature as a woman? And won't that urge to give up control set up a conflict in her mind, or make her feel that she is being irrational? How should she handle that?

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I've been mulling the word "conquer."  I recently saw the video, Taming of the Shrew, with Burton/Taylor (1967 Zefirelli); http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061407/

Imho, that's a classic dramatization of a conquering without mastery.  The complete surrender has not occurred yet at the ending of the movie [hoping this is not a plot spoiler?]; in fact, the chase has just begun.

I don't remember that film, but "conquest," in the sexual sense, does not mean just physical conquest.

Sex is, after all, a pleasure of mind and body with (ideally) the "mind" aspect preceding the "body" aspect. It is in the mind that the conquest occurs.

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When you say that a woman automatically loses control, do you mean that that is part of her nature as a woman? 

Absolutely!

And won't that urge to give up control set up a conflict in her mind, or make her feel that she is being irrational?  How should she handle that?

She should realize that there is nothing irrational about such a conflict. It is inherent in normal femininity.

She should handle it like any other emotional conflict by looking at the facts of reality that give rise to the conflict. If she really understands what within her is responding to a man and whether the man really possesses those qualities, that will resolve the conflict one way or another. She will either no longer feel like surrendering or she will be 100% willing to let go.

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If she really understands what within her is responding to a man and whether the man really possesses those qualities, that will resolve the conflict one way or another. She will either no longer feel like surrendering or she will be 100% willing to let go.

... in which case, rape will not be necessary. :)

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My question would be, is masculinity exclusive to males? Is femininity restricted to females? The obvious answer would be no, but I guess I am confused about femininity.

From my personal experience, I feel that men, if genuinely interested in a female, feel the need to be strong (esp. physically) in order to "protect her" - in a vague sort of way, because realistically a desired female usu. isn't under constant threats or is being attacked, but the male, in showing how much he cares for her, wants to keep it that way. So I can identify with the fact that masculinity means protecting, or pursuing a value. But is femininity the need to feel like you are being pursued as valuable? Like a prize? That seems to make sense to me. Overall, the justification for all of these conclusions lies in the simply what males and females are observed to do or act like.

Another question that occurs to me is whether there is any merit to the idea of social conditioning. I know, it really is a meaningless phrase, but what I meant to say is that perhaps females feel this way because of subconscious acceptance of societal norms - for instance, sexual roles have changed greatly throughout history, from the Victorian age, to present age, etc. Perhaps an answer to this would be that the question of masc./femin. and our perceptions of it have changed, but only by being honest and introspective can one come to the conclusion that I have presented so far.

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Also, could anyone talk about the roles of masculinity and femininity in Muslim countries? Why do women wear the full body robes?

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I recently saw the video, Taming of the Shrew, with Burton/Taylor (1967 Zefirelli); http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061407/

FYI, I once saw a very brief clip of a different version that starred John Cleese. It was absolutely amazing. If you ever find a copy, I highly recommend it.

Here is a link to it.

Ed

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Masculinity is, in essence, BEING a hero that conquers reality.  A man's primary relationship is to reality.  He seeks, creates, and achieves values in reality.  Most of the time, so does a woman.

The difference occurs with respect to romantic love.  Here, a man seeks a value -- the woman -- and the woman IS the value.  IF he is the right man, she gives up control of her mind and body and LETS him.

...

Betsy--

Would you say that it is only for the man to seek the value? Or rather, why can the woman not be the pursuer of the value? What is it about the nature of a man vs a woman that makes the man the conqueror and the woman the value in this instance?

The issues of femininity and masculinity have recently become of great concern to me. I believe I understand Rand's viewpoint after this first distinction, but I don't understand from where the initial distinction comes. I agree that what Rand claims follows from her initial claim, but I don't see from where she derives this claim.

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FYI, I once saw a very brief clip of a different version that starred John Cleese.  It was absolutely amazing.  If you ever find a copy, I highly recommend it.

Here is a link to it.

hi Ed! I love John Cleese! I found it not at my library, but one can buy it for $50; http://www.ambrosevideo.com/displayitem.cfm?vid=812 . And the review I found is very interesting; it makes it a little more intelligible how he could play Petrucio

http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/527447/

1980 BBC TV

Cast: John Cleese (Petruchio), Sarah Badel (Katherine), John Franklyn-Robbins (Baptista), Simon Chandler (Lucentio), Anthony Pedley (Tranio), Frank Thornton (Gremio), Susan Penhaligon (Bianca)

Show full cast and credits

Baptista seeks to marry his daughters off, but while Bianca has no shortage of admirers, the aggressive, troublesome Katherine provides a greater challenge...

Show full synopsis

The opening broadcast of the BBC Television Shakespeare's third series, The Taming of the Shrew was the first production supervised by Jonathan Miller after he took over from Cedric Messina as series producer. While Messina's conservative, broadly 'realistic' approach sought to simplify Shakespeare for the masses, Miller assumed a more intelligent and literate audience. Accordingly, he adopted a much more stylised visual conception based around great paintings of the era in which the play was set - the patterning and symmetry of Vermeer's interiors were the chief inspiration here.

Miller was also more adventurous with casting. Not only had John Cleese never performed in Shakespeare professionally before, he was not particularly enthusiastic about most of the performances that he'd seen, and took some persuading from Miller that the BBC Shrew would not be, as Cleese feared "about a lot of furniture being knocked over, a lot of wine being spilled, a lot of thighs being slapped and a lot of unmotivated laughter."

So despite Cleese's reputation as a manic physical comedian in the then recent Fawlty Towers (BBC, 1975/79), the production takes a cool, cerebral approach inspired by Miller's view of Petruchio as an early Puritan (the movement had its roots in Elizabethan England). Cleese's Petruchio is nothing like the traditional swaggering bully: despite some Basil Fawlty-like ear-tweaking of his servant at the start, his demeanour changes noticeably when he meets Katherine (Sarah Badel).

Instead of seeking to dominate her from the off, Petruchio appreciates her independence of spirit, and therefore decides to mould rather than tame her, demonstrating to her what effect her behaviour has on others, but at the same time letting her laugh at herself. This approach was emphasised by Badel's performance of a woman essentially driven by simultaneous fears: either of ending up with a man she doesn't respect (and therefore cannot love) or of never marrying at all, remaining on the sidelines while her younger sister Bianca (Susan Penhaligon) garners all the attention.

It's not a feminist reading - Miller acknowledged that this would be a distortion of the original text (presented mostly intact, the biggest cut being the removal of the opening Christopher Sly 'Induction') - but it does offer a convincing method of shifting its focus towards something more palatable for present-day audiences. This interpretative (and casting) gamble paid off handsomely, with the production regularly singled out as the most fondly-remembered of all the BBC Shakespeares.

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hi Betsy & Steve!

in reading the back -posts, I noticed the word "conquest" was used a few times. I've heard it before and sort of tossed it off as a metaphor. Certainly an interesting one. But I think it may be key to my issue here.

I don't remember that film, but "conquest," in the sexual sense, does not mean just physical conquest. 

Sex is, after all, a pleasure of mind and body with (ideally) the "mind" aspect preceding the "body" aspect.  It is in the mind that the conquest occurs.

So, can you tell me more about your definition of conquest? I propose that conquest is not literally true to the meaning of what we are discussing. Mastery, as was proposed, seems highly accurate and not misleading to me. The problem with the word conquest is that it implies 'rape' also is appropriate, or at least not inappropriate. That's my rub....

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won't that urge to give up control set up a conflict in her mind, or make her feel that she is being irrational?  How should she handle that?

It's -extremely- rational to feel and act properly mastered, in the presence of a master :)

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hi Coire & A!

Have you both read Betsy's essays and the other posts on bedroom dominance?

  Or rather, why can the woman not be the pursuer of the value? 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

it's not that she can't pursue, up to a point, but her success depends on the man when it comes to sex itself... several posts are on that...

My question would be, is masculinity exclusive to males? Is femininity restricted to females? The obvious answer would be no, but I guess I am confused about femininity.

  From my personal experience, I feel that men, if genuinely interested in a female, feel the need to be strong (esp. physically) in order to "protect her" - in a vague sort of way....

But is femininity the need to feel like you are being pursued as valuable? Like a prize? ....

  Another question that occurs to me is whether there is any merit to the idea of social conditioning.....

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

re Exclusivity, this is the issue of whether a blanket acting as a picnic 'table' is a table; really no...Maybe one of our better epistemologists can chime in.

re 'need', I need to get out my work on these definitions for a real answer to this. Imho, it's not a need nor a personal characteristic, but a -virtue-. I believe Dr. Binswanger gave me that.

re conditioning, no, the Speichers, I, and many others here believe it's rooted in facts. Of course culture changes the implementations.

It's great you both are aware you feel vague and want to figure it out!

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Another question that occurs to me is whether there is any merit to the idea of social conditioning. I know, it really is a meaningless phrase, but what I meant to say is that perhaps females feel this way because of subconscious acceptance of societal norms - for instance, sexual roles have changed greatly throughout history, from the Victorian age, to present age, etc. Perhaps an answer to this would be that the question of masc./femin. and our perceptions of it have changed, but only by being honest and introspective can one come to the conclusion that I have presented so far.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

According to Dr. Peikoff in the "Love, Sex, and Romance" talk, Ayn Rand saw the difference between masculinity and femininity as metaphysical- that is, as part of the nature of men and women. I transcribed the relevent part in this thread <{POST_SNAPBACK}>. I definitely think there is merit to this view of hers. However, I do think that there (at least) seem to be instances where the woman gives and the man receives (I'm not sure how explicit the FORUM rules allow me to be here :) ).

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