Guest ElizabethLee

femininity vs heroine worship

299 posts in this topic

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 .  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  :) ).

I have listened to that lecture before, and I didn't really find Peikoff's answer terribly useful to me :D . Perhaps I phrased my ideas on masc./femin. differently, but I think that I am in agreement.

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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.

It is more than feeling like you are being pursued as a value. It is a matter of actually BEING pursued as a value.

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.

Many people act as they do, not as a consequence of chosen values, but merely as a result of "social conditioning" -- i.e., unthinking acceptance of cultural or traditional norms. That doesn't change the fact that men and women are very different in their biological / sexual activities and needs and, in many cases, cultural norms and traditions reflect or are built on those differences. Women bear children. Men tend to be bigger and stronger. As a result, in most cultures, women stay home and raise the children and men do the heavy lifting and the risky hunting and bring the food home to the wife and kids.

With regard to romantic love, the fact that the man is the initiator of the sexual act and that his desire is necessary and a woman's is optional has led to many biologically evolved as well as culturally optional additional differences.

Take the issue of dress, It is optional who wears the pants or the kilts, but in all cultures that value life on earth and the pleasures of sex, men and women dress differently unlike those who wear unisex garb that leave you guessing as to the wearer's gender as many militant, man-hating feminists do. In life-affirming cultures, women dress to attract men in clothing that emphasizes their uniquely feminine curves and reveals tantalizing glimpses of skin. Where sex and women are considered evil, women cover themselves completely in shapeless burquas to prevent a woman from arousing sexual desires in a man.

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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?

It is the biological fact that it is the man's choice. If he is not willing, there cannot be a sexual relationship. A man can force a woman to submit, but a woman can't force a man to perform.

I believe I understand Rand's viewpoint after this first distinction, but I don't understand from where the initial distinction comes.

Biology!

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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....

I'm talking about spiritual conquest that leads to sexual surrender.

The feeling of admiration a woman can have for her man isn't merely like the admiration she might feel for a hero in a book or a great figure in history. It is something that can cause her to feel physically weak, be unable to maintain a process of thought, and completely lose control. Under normal circumstances, this is not a good thing. When a woman is in the arms of the man she loves .... it is as good as it gets. :)

That's how a man conquers a woman: by overwhelming her with admiration until it wipes her resistance.

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It is the biological fact that it is the man's choice.  If he is not willing, there cannot be a sexual relationship.  A man can force a woman to submit, but a woman can't force a man to perform.

Why not? I'll take myself as an example. I love Sarah, and do not want to have sex with any other woman. However, if an extremely attractive woman put a gun to my head, tied me to the bed, and sought to stimulate me in a way that would cause me to get physically aroused, I cannot sit here and tell you that I would not become erect, nor that intercourse would be impossible. And, again, I say this, even though I would not want to have sex with such a woman. Are you denying this possibility?

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However, I do think that there (at least) seem to be instances where the woman gives and the man receives .

Yes, indeed ... but only if that is what HE wants.

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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?

A woman's need for hero-worship comes from something very specific to "female" species of mankind. A man and a woman are equal in all ways in their relationship to existence. Both are pursuers of values in reality. But while a man is always a man, a woman needs a man to define her sexual identity. For a rational, objective woman it is only in the presence of a man she can look up to and worship, that her feminity is aroused and she becomes the "feminine" counterpart.

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A woman's need for hero-worship comes from something very specific to "female" species of mankind. A man and a woman are equal in all ways in their relationship to existence. Both are pursuers of values in reality. But while a man is always a man, a woman needs a man to define her sexual identity. For a rational, objective woman it is only in the presence of a man she can look up to and worship, that her feminity is aroused and she becomes the "feminine" counterpart.

I had never looked at it in those terms before, and I find it really interesting. Of course, I can't introspect this, so I'm interested to see what some other women have to say.

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But while a man is always a man, a woman needs a man to define her sexual identity.

This is an interesting claim. Why is it that this is true? What does the man possess in terms of sexuality that the woman lacks? What does the man do to define her sexual identity?

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Why not?  I'll take myself as an example.  I love Sarah, and do not want to have sex with any other woman.  However, if an extremely attractive woman put a gun to my head, tied me to the bed, and sought to stimulate me in a way that would cause me to get physically aroused, I cannot sit here and tell you that I would not become erect, nor that intercourse would be impossible.  And, again, I say this, even though I would not want to have sex with such a woman.  Are you denying this possibility?

I am going to have to cautiously disagree with you here:

While obviously it isn't like a light-switch, that one can casually flip on and off, I still think there is a degree of control. That is, if a man doesn't want his light turned on, he can keep it off so to speak.

Also, thank you Betsy for your excellent posts; because of your input this has been one of the most illuminating and interesting threads I have read on this forum :)

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While obviously it isn't like a light-switch, that one can casually flip on and off, I still think there is a degree of control.  That is, if a man doesn't want his light turned on, he can keep it off so to speak.

Or, in the case of any 15-year-old, he can't keep the light turned off. :)

Also, thank you Betsy for your excellent posts; because of your input this has been one of the most illuminating and interesting threads I have read on this forum :D

She tends to do that, doesn't she? :D

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[re Betsy adding terrific value to postings ] She tends to do that, doesn't she?  :)

YES!!! :D:D

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a woman needs a man to define her sexual identity.

yes!! I have said this many times; but it is actually even stronger: without man, ie contrast, there is no need for sexual identity. Man is the standard, literally, here.

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I'm talking about spiritual conquest that leads to sexual surrender.

......

That's how a man conquers a woman: by overwhelming her with admiration until it wipes her resistance.

This is progress! I'll try to keep myself slowed down so we can see it all clearly. Can you rewrite this; there is a typo here I believe. I want it to be perfectly your statement. :)

It needs to be crystal clear who is admiring whom and what happens. The 2nd sentence has passive tense for the woman.

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Or, in the case of any 15-year-old, he can't keep the light turned off.  :)

really and truly? it's so different for ladies...

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What does the man do to define her sexual identity?

hi Coire! Did you read the other posts? There are quite a lot of them... forgive me if I'm missing things you may have said...

Note also it's not that any individual man defines a woman's sexual identity, it's the fact of men existing. I've told the story before;

A man chopping trees in a forest, all alone, could feel masculine.

A woman, alone, couldn't feel feminine without including a man in her thoughts; e.g. choosing pretty clothes [oooh, he'll love this!]. She'd just feel ordinary, non-sexual, without that thought.

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I have listened to that lecture before, and I didn't really find Peikoff's answer terribly useful to me  :) .  Perhaps I phrased my ideas on masc./femin. differently, but I think that I am in agreement.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

hi A! You mean that now your questions are answered? If not, please post again :D

To all, fyi, [betsy knows this] about me;

Though I'm single now, I had a 12.5year "perfect" relationship with marriage; it truly shocked me to divorce. It became a passion of mine to understand masculinity/femininity more. Betsy, naturally, as having a 25+year marriage and a wonderful gift of communication, was one of many people who talked to me for delightful hours. At one point several years back I gave a lecture on the subject, which was huge fun. Then I contracted with Harry Binswanger to critique my audiotape.

I was -thrilled- that he gave me a passing grade! C-/D+ I believe, LOL. His ideas got me thinking and thinking.

At this point I've found that IRL I am very successful at communicating my [our] ideas one on one. It's time to for me to start writing things down, articles, etc. to help more people. Chewing is a big part of that.

The funny thing is, I'm not used to chewing on a co-ed board!!! It's a lot different! Anyway, this is just to say, this is my big topic, and one of my big life goals is to help more people have stunningly romantic relationships. If I'm not that good at eWriting, I will become so, with your help...

I'm so excited!!! This is great !

Oh! Also, Betsy wrote elsewhere she was primarily interested in the facts not the mores of sexuality. I'm interested in making the mores, the "oughts", as objective as possible, in the contexts that they ought to be oughts...

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It is more than feeling like you are being pursued as a value.  It is a matter of actually BEING pursued as a value.

This is the highest form of feeling feminine, as against just feeling feminine by dressing up with no specific man valuing me.

Similarly, the man in the woods may feel masculine, but when he's with his lover he will have that masculinity reflected back intensely.

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re the feeling of surrender;

[]I want to post more on this because I think gentlemen will benefit from hearing many stories, so that when they receive this emotion they will embrace it and bask in it.

Even without sex, I can feel surrender. A few times I've felt it and the man looked stunned, like, 'are you out of your mind? ' Yes! No! I was overwhelmed with emotion of admiration/love for -him-, for the fact that there -he- was, right in front of me! A real person! Not a storybook or a fable, but a real live hero, right there... a feeling of nearly infinite awe, that I'm part of such an incredible world to have such a one as him.

I'd love to hear Steve's response to this emotion, btw, ie what he feels and how he sees it; if he feels the light shining on him.

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I forgot to say: for me, the "out of control" feeling is, when it's not physical sex that we're talking about, definitely not as much out of control as overwhelmed, literally. Flooded with happy emotions, so big that they take up all the space, there's no crow left! My emotional crow is completely used up, but I wish for more!

...Again, I hope I'm not posting so much, like I say I just love this topic and I think Oists are the ones most important to send the messages to.... :)

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But while a man is always a man, a woman needs a man to define her sexual identity.
This is an interesting claim.  Why is it that this is true? 

It's true because a woman needs a man's willing participation for there to be a sexual relationship. A man doesn't need a woman's consent (just physically, and not morally, of course.)

What does the man possess in terms of sexuality that the woman lacks? 

The ultimate choice.

What does the man do to define her sexual identity?

He chooses her as a sexual value.

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Can you rewrite this; there is a typo here I believe.  I want it to be perfectly your statement.  :)

I meant to say "That's how a man conquers a woman: by overwhelming her with admiration for him until it wipes out her resistance."

It needs to be crystal clear who is admiring whom and what happens.  The 2nd sentence has passive tense for the woman.

Feminine admiration does make a woman passive in the sense that it causes her to lose control. I suspect that is a built-in feature of being female that developed because there is an evolutionary advantage when a woman cooperates with, rather than resists, a man's sexual advances.

Here's an example of one of my "admiration makes me passive" reactions. I was attending a lecture given by a self-confident, dynamic speaker I admired as a scholar and as a person. While he was lecturing, I found I was having an extremely hard time focusing on what he was saying. His words seemed to just float in the air devoid of meaning and all I could focus on were his hands, his voice, and the way he moved across the stage like a pacing tiger.

After a while, I just gave up trying to get what he was saying, figured I would order the tape of his lecture, and settled back in my seat to just enjoy the sight of him.

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Why not?  I'll take myself as an example.  I love Sarah, and do not want to have sex with any other woman.  However, if an extremely attractive woman put a gun to my head, tied me to the bed, and sought to stimulate me in a way that would cause me to get physically aroused, I cannot sit here and tell you that I would not become erect, nor that intercourse would be impossible.  And, again, I say this, even though I would not want to have sex with such a woman.  Are you denying this possibility?

There has been some research that when a man is feeling fear, shame or guilt, it is almost physically impossible for him to get an erection. Those emotions block the hormone release responsible for creating the erection. Even with a gun to your head, you would most likely not be able to get erect.

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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.

I believe this correct. However, a non-basic attribute of masculinity is heroine-worship.

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It is the biological fact that it is the man's choice.  If he is not willing, there cannot be a sexual relationship.  A man can force a woman to submit, but a woman can't force a man to perform.

Why not? I'll take myself as an example. I love Sarah, and do not want to have sex with any other woman. However, if an extremely attractive woman put a gun to my head, tied me to the bed, and sought to stimulate me in a way that would cause me to get physically aroused, I cannot sit here and tell you that I would not become erect, nor that intercourse would be impossible. And, again, I say this, even though I would not want to have sex with such a woman. Are you denying this possibility?

Physiologically, an erection as a strict response to physical stimulation can occur, as in direct physical stimulation to a man who is asleep. Or, a solely psychological component can cause an erection in the absence of direct physical stimulation. I note you referred to "an extremely attractive woman," implying that an extremely ugly woman might not be able to similarly arouse you. This just underscores the psychological aspect of erection, and also highlights a degree of control. To get more graphic than usual, I assume you would agree that you would not become erect if physically stimulated by a woman with a hideously disfigured body, with hair falling out and with puss oozing from sores on her face and hands, all the while reciting from Kant's Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics.

I submit that, in general, a large part of an erection is caused by this psychological element, and to the degree that one "would not want to have sex with such a woman" even "an extremely attractive woman," to that degree control over the erection can be exercised and the woman cannot force the man to perform. This is the component completely lacking in a woman, in that a woman can be penetrated by a man even if she lacks response and consequent lubrication.

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