Genius Aspirant

A Woman President?

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Are members comfortable with the idea of a woman President? I understand that Ayn Rand spoke out against this, though I wonder if she would feel differently today? And do you think her views about a woman President also apply to the office of the Vice President?

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Are members comfortable with the idea of a woman President? I understand that Ayn Rand spoke out against this, though I wonder if she would feel differently today? And do you think her views about a woman President also apply to the office of the Vice President?

Except for temporary disability leave because of giving birth, I see no problem with a female POTUS. For a woman beyond child bearing years I see no problem based on gender. The issue of whether that person would make a good President is a matter of character and experience, not gender.

ruveyn

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I understand that Ayn Rand spoke out against this, though I wonder if she would feel differently today?

What makes you wonder if Ayn Rand, the person that probably did more thinking on more subjects than many people combined, would "feel differently" today? Her fundamentals were set, and even in other areas she almost always gave detailed reasons for why she thought a certain way. She could explain why she liked and disliked all sorts of different things, from movies to musicians to her favorite color, she stated her reasons why. I am not trying to say that she could not be persuaded toward a different idea as she herself mentions in her lectures many times that she is open to debate on certain ideas. But, when it comes to fundamentals I have never seen nor met anyone that had such a rock hard foundation.

With that said, I do not care what sex a person is as long as they could do the job properly. Unfortunately, I do not see anyone of either sex in the political arena at this time that can do the job properly.

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I understand that Ayn Rand spoke out against this, though I wonder if she would feel differently today?

What makes you wonder if Ayn Rand, the person that probably did more thinking on more subjects than many people combined, would "feel differently" today? Her fundamentals were set, and even in other areas she almost always gave detailed reasons for why she thought a certain way. She could explain why she liked and disliked all sorts of different things, from movies to musicians to her favorite color, she stated her reasons why. I am not trying to say that she could not be persuaded toward a different idea as she herself mentions in her lectures many times that she is open to debate on certain ideas. But, when it comes to fundamentals I have never seen nor met anyone that had such a rock hard foundation.

With that said, I do not care what sex a person is as long as they could do the job properly. Unfortunately, I do not see anyone of either sex in the political arena at this time that can do the job properly.

I dont really know if she would feel differently today or not. But I guessed -- and so far I am seem to have guessed correctly -- that many/most/all? here would not have a problem with a woman POTUS. Since most of us have the same values and approach as Miss Rand, then I wondered if others thought that they just differed with her on this, or whether this was something of which she might be persuaded to change her mind. I really dont know -- and do not intend my raising the question or how I respond to suggest otherwise.

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I dont really know if she would feel differently today or not. But I guessed -- and so far I am seem to have guessed correctly -- that many/most/all? here would not have a problem with a woman POTUS. Since most of us have the same values and approach as Miss Rand, then I wondered if others thought that they just differed with her on this, or whether this was something of which she might be persuaded to change her mind. I really dont know -- and do not intend my raising the question or how I respond to suggest otherwise.

I don't regard Ayn Rand's views on the matter as a fundamental of Objectivism and neither does Dr. Peikoff. It was a personal opinion but, as usual for Ayn Rand, she gave her reasons (here).

Here's my reaction, in an essay I wrote elsewhere.

I can sympathize with Ayn Rand's view of a woman President, but not

agree. Being in charge of men is in conflict with psychological

femininity, and this can be difficult for a woman, but there are

contexts where this is necessary and desirable.

I first learned this when I was 24 years old and given my first official

management position as the technical supervisor of 11 men. My "real

women don't order men around" premise ran smack up against the

requirements of the job. I just couldn't bring myself to say, "You have

to work overtime," or "This isn't good enough. Redo it." Instead, I was

wimpish, indirect, and manipulative. Eventually, I got on the nerves of

one subordinate who was more than twice my age. "F@#* off, Sweetie,"

he told me, "You're my boss, not my mother." That woke me up.

I realized there are contexts that require me to act qua human being

or qua manager rather than qua woman. It wasn't easy getting

used to the idea, or putting it into practice, but I eventually got the hang

of it and got to like it. I found the same sense of efficacy getting a team

of men to accomplish my purposes as I do making a computer do what I

want. It means that sometimes I look at men simply as means to my

ends, and ignore the fact (temporarily) that this one is so attractively

assertive and that one's bottom looks great in those tight jeans.

This isn't a matter of compartmentalization or evasion, but of context

and emphasis. Sometimes femininity isn't relevant and needs to be set

aside. Dagny is certainly very feminine, but in terms of management

style, she is much more "masculine" than I am.

Other than in her artistic projection of Dagny, I don't know that Miss

Rand ever had to deal with reconciling "ordering men around" with

femininity. It may have seemed impossible or undesirable to her. It

once did to me.

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I dont really know if she would feel differently today or not. But I guessed -- and so far I am seem to have guessed correctly -- that many/most/all? here would not have a problem with a woman POTUS. Since most of us have the same values and approach as Miss Rand, then I wondered if others thought that they just differed with her on this, or whether this was something of which she might be persuaded to change her mind. I really dont know -- and do not intend my raising the question or how I respond to suggest otherwise.

I don't regard Ayn Rand's views on the matter as a fundamental of Objectivism and neither does Dr. Peikoff. It was a personal opinion but, as usual for Ayn Rand, she gave her reasons (here).

Here's my reaction, in an essay I wrote elsewhere.

I can sympathize with Ayn Rand's view of a woman President, but not

agree. Being in charge of men is in conflict with psychological

femininity, and this can be difficult for a woman, but there are

contexts where this is necessary and desirable.

I first learned this when I was 24 years old and given my first official

management position as the technical supervisor of 11 men. My "real

women don't order men around" premise ran smack up against the

requirements of the job. I just couldn't bring myself to say, "You have

to work overtime," or "This isn't good enough. Redo it." Instead, I was

wimpish, indirect, and manipulative. Eventually, I got on the nerves of

one subordinate who was more than twice my age. "F@#* off, Sweetie,"

he told me, "You're my boss, not my mother." That woke me up.

I realized there are contexts that require me to act qua human being

or qua manager rather than qua woman. It wasn't easy getting

used to the idea, or putting it into practice, but I eventually got the hang

of it and got to like it. I found the same sense of efficacy getting a team

of men to accomplish my purposes as I do making a computer do what I

want. It means that sometimes I look at men simply as means to my

ends, and ignore the fact (temporarily) that this one is so attractively

assertive and that one's bottom looks great in those tight jeans.

This isn't a matter of compartmentalization or evasion, but of context

and emphasis. Sometimes femininity isn't relevant and needs to be set

aside. Dagny is certainly very feminine, but in terms of management

style, she is much more "masculine" than I am.

Other than in her artistic projection of Dagny, I don't know that Miss

Rand ever had to deal with reconciling "ordering men around" with

femininity. It may have seemed impossible or undesirable to her. It

once did to me.

Very interesting, and thoughtful, article Betsy.

I guess I would really like to believe Betsy -- both about what Ayn Rand said, and also about the overall wisdom of having a woman President. But part of me thinks that Ray may be right on both counts (or at least what I think Ray's position is here -- I was not clear if what he meant when he said that Miss Rand thought deeply about all things meant that he thought her views on this issue were firm and fundamental to her philosophy or not).

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I dont really know if she would feel differently today or not. But I guessed -- and so far I am seem to have guessed correctly -- that many/most/all? here would not have a problem with a woman POTUS. Since most of us have the same values and approach as Miss Rand, then I wondered if others thought that they just differed with her on this, or whether this was something of which she might be persuaded to change her mind. I really dont know -- and do not intend my raising the question or how I respond to suggest otherwise.

I don't regard Ayn Rand's views on the matter as a fundamental of Objectivism and neither does Dr. Peikoff. It was a personal opinion but, as usual for Ayn Rand, she gave her reasons (here).

Here's my reaction, in an essay I wrote elsewhere.

I can sympathize with Ayn Rand's view of a woman President, but not

agree. Being in charge of men is in conflict with psychological

femininity, and this can be difficult for a woman, but there are

contexts where this is necessary and desirable.

I first learned this when I was 24 years old and given my first official

management position as the technical supervisor of 11 men. My "real

women don't order men around" premise ran smack up against the

requirements of the job. I just couldn't bring myself to say, "You have

to work overtime," or "This isn't good enough. Redo it." Instead, I was

wimpish, indirect, and manipulative. Eventually, I got on the nerves of

one subordinate who was more than twice my age. "F@#* off, Sweetie,"

he told me, "You're my boss, not my mother." That woke me up.

I realized there are contexts that require me to act qua human being

or qua manager rather than qua woman. It wasn't easy getting

used to the idea, or putting it into practice, but I eventually got the hang

of it and got to like it. I found the same sense of efficacy getting a team

of men to accomplish my purposes as I do making a computer do what I

want. It means that sometimes I look at men simply as means to my

ends, and ignore the fact (temporarily) that this one is so attractively

assertive and that one's bottom looks great in those tight jeans.

This isn't a matter of compartmentalization or evasion, but of context

and emphasis. Sometimes femininity isn't relevant and needs to be set

aside. Dagny is certainly very feminine, but in terms of management

style, she is much more "masculine" than I am.

Other than in her artistic projection of Dagny, I don't know that Miss

Rand ever had to deal with reconciling "ordering men around" with

femininity. It may have seemed impossible or undesirable to her. It

once did to me.

I understood Ayn Rand's view on the subject to be limited to the role of President of the United States. It seems from her statement that she is assuming that the Pres. is the most powerful person in the world, and the Leader of Leaders. I didn't take it to mean that it applied to any other roles, including heads of large corporations or even lesser political stations.

I thought she was saying that as the President of the United States a woman would have no equal and that no rational woman qua woman would want the job. But she could do it, much to her metaphysical dismay...

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I like Palin. She is forthright and, most importantly, indicates a loyalty to values I share. In short, she comes across as the most pro American. I think she would be a great President.

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I guess I would really like to believe Betsy -- both about what Ayn Rand said, and also about the overall wisdom of having a woman President. But part of me thinks that Ray may be right on both counts (or at least what I think Ray's position is here -- I was not clear if what he meant when he said that Miss Rand thought deeply about all things meant that he thought her views on this issue were firm and fundamental to her philosophy or not).

Just to be clear I do not think that Ayn Rand's view/thoughts on a woman President are fundamental aspects to Objectivism.

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I understood Ayn Rand's view on the subject to be limited to the role of President of the United States. It seems from her statement that she is assuming that the Pres. is the most powerful person in the world, and the Leader of Leaders.

The essence of her reason is this (stated as a verbatim quote from the article in the Dec. 1968 issue of The Objectivist):

Now consider the meaning of the Presidency: in all his professional relationships, within the entire sphere of his work, the President is the highest authority; he is the "Chief Executive," the "Commander-in-Chief." Even in a fully free country, with an unbreached constitutional division of powers, a President is the final authority who sets the terms, the goals, the policies of every job in the executive branch of the government. In the performance of his duties, a President does not deal with equals, but only with inferiors (not inferiors as persons, but in respect to the hierarchy of their positions, their work and their responsibilities).

This, for a rational woman, would be an unbearable situation. (And if she is not rational, she is unfit for the Presidency or for any important position, anyway.) 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 have to function only as a mind, not as a person, i.e., as a thinker devoid of personal values—a dangerously artificial dichotomy which no one could sustain for long. By the nature of her duties and daily activities, she would become the most unfeminine, sexless, metaphysically inappropriate and rationally revolting figure of all: a matriarch.

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I guess I would really like to believe Betsy -- both about what Ayn Rand said, and also about the overall wisdom of having a woman President. But part of me thinks that Ray may be right on both counts (or at least what I think Ray's position is here -- I was not clear if what he meant when he said that Miss Rand thought deeply about all things meant that he thought her views on this issue were firm and fundamental to her philosophy or not).

Just to be clear I do not think that Ayn Rand's view/thoughts on a woman President are fundamental aspects to Objectivism.

So when in response to my question you said that her "fundamentals were set," that was not responding to my question but to something else?

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I like Palin. She is forthright and, most importantly, indicates a loyalty to values I share. In short, she comes across as the most pro American. I think she would be a great President.

Absolutely! And she is pro life! I think she is the best candidate to come along in my lifetime!

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I understood Ayn Rand's view on the subject to be limited to the role of President of the United States. It seems from her statement that she is assuming that the Pres. is the most powerful person in the world, and the Leader of Leaders.

The essence of her reason is this (stated as a verbatim quote from the article in the Dec. 1968 issue of The Objectivist):

Now consider the meaning of the Presidency: in all his professional relationships, within the entire sphere of his work, the President is the highest authority; he is the "Chief Executive," the "Commander-in-Chief." Even in a fully free country, with an unbreached constitutional division of powers, a President is the final authority who sets the terms, the goals, the policies of every job in the executive branch of the government. In the performance of his duties, a President does not deal with equals, but only with inferiors (not inferiors as persons, but in respect to the hierarchy of their positions, their work and their responsibilities).

This, for a rational woman, would be an unbearable situation. (And if she is not rational, she is unfit for the Presidency or for any important position, anyway.) 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 have to function only as a mind, not as a person, i.e., as a thinker devoid of personal values—a dangerously artificial dichotomy which no one could sustain for long. By the nature of her duties and daily activities, she would become the most unfeminine, sexless, metaphysically inappropriate and rationally revolting figure of all: a matriarch.

Thanks Phil. That seems to be pretty clear that she thinks a woman should not be President -- in fact that it would be bad for her, and in fact bad for the country. It would seem to me that her reasoning here would also apply to other important leadership positions, whether it be a cabinet post or certainly the CEO of a big company. I guess the bad job Fiorina did (not sure if I have her name right?) at HP might confirm Miss Rand's view......

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It would seem to me that her reasoning here would also apply to other important leadership positions, whether it be a cabinet post or certainly the CEO of a big company. I guess the bad job Fiorina did (not sure if I have her name right?) at HP might confirm Miss Rand's view......
No, it would not. Have you read Atlas Shrugged? Do you really think Miss Rand would have been opposed to Dagny being the president of Tagart Transcontinental? It is only the President of the United States that she is concerned with. If you had to quote one sentence of her explaination as a final reason, it would be this one:
In the performance of his duties, a President does not deal with equals, but only with inferiors (not inferiors as persons, but in respect to the hierarchy of their positions, their work and their responsibilities).
However, the CEO of a company does deal with equals, as does a cabinet post. Notice that she never once argues against women being CEOs, Congresswomen, or in other positions of leadership. She only concerns herself with the President of the US.

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I like Palin. She is forthright and, most importantly, indicates a loyalty to values I share. In short, she comes across as the most pro American. I think she would be a great President.

Absolutely! And she is pro life! I think she is the best candidate to come along in my lifetime!

I think you and I have a different understanding of 'pro life'. Her sacrificial qualities are not what impress me. Despite these flaws, she comes across as a valuer. I hope she would not impose her anti abortion beliefs on those who believe they own their own bodies.

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It would seem to me that her reasoning here would also apply to other important leadership positions, whether it be a cabinet post or certainly the CEO of a big company. I guess the bad job Fiorina did (not sure if I have her name right?) at HP might confirm Miss Rand's view......
No, it would not. Have you read Atlas Shrugged? Do you really think Miss Rand would have been opposed to Dagny being the president of Tagart Transcontinental? It is only the President of the United States that she is concerned with. If you had to quote one sentence of her explaination as a final reason, it would be this one:
In the performance of his duties, a President does not deal with equals, but only with inferiors (not inferiors as persons, but in respect to the hierarchy of their positions, their work and their responsibilities).
However, the CEO of a company does deal with equals, as does a cabinet post. Notice that she never once argues against women being CEOs, Congresswomen, or in other positions of leadership. She only concerns herself with the President of the US.

Is she then referring to the world? Because a CEO, at least internally, is also always dealing with inferiors, just like the President of the US. If the problem is based upon the nature of women, and of being subordinate and feminine, it does seem to me that there are at least some tensions produced by a woman being a CEO -- though maybe not as much as with a President of the US?

Of course I assume she also would not want a woman as VP -- if only because the VP might become the President -- which of course is a higher risk with the Republican ticket this year than in others. I think that does mean we can pretty safely say that Miss Rand would not vote for the Republicans this year -- which of course means she probably would not vote!

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I like Palin. She is forthright and, most importantly, indicates a loyalty to values I share. In short, she comes across as the most pro American. I think she would be a great President.

Absolutely! And she is pro life! I think she is the best candidate to come along in my lifetime!

I think you and I have a different understanding of 'pro life'. Her sacrificial qualities are not what impress me. Despite these flaws, she comes across as a valuer. I hope she would not impose her anti abortion beliefs on those who believe they own their own bodies.

Well she does not see the owning of ones own bodies as a belief issue - nor life. She is committed to protecting the fundamental right to life -- and actually takes a more principled and pure stand on that issue than many others -- thus taking life seriously even in cases of incest and rape.

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I should mention though that Miss Rand seemed to think well of Margaret Thatcher, or at least she mentioned somewhere (gads, memory, sorry can't remember...) that she had been told privately that her (Rand's) views did have an impact on Mrs. Thatcher, and the context seemed to have been one of approving having had that influence. Mrs. Thatcher's regime was marked by a much more serious calibre of advisers, to my knowledge, than Reagen's (whom Miss Rand once spoke well of, after his speech at Barry Goldwater's convention, but who she later denounced.)

I liked Margaret Thatcher a lot -- she is one of my very very few contemporary political heroes. And I always thought she balanced femininity with strength, and demonstrated you could be both. And I think the PM of Britain, especially then with the Cold War still on, the Hong Kong issue, etc., is a reasonably comparable job to U.S. president, for the context of this debate.

I also think Ayn Rand liked to shock... just an eensy teensy bit... in this realm, with such comments as "I am a male chauvinist, proudly!" and so on. :) I also liked her comment to the effect that feminism was for women who needed a movement to sanction their identity as human beings. :)

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I should mention though that Miss Rand seemed to think well of Margaret Thatcher, or at least she mentioned somewhere (gads, memory, sorry can't remember...) that she had been told privately that her (Rand's) views did have an impact on Mrs. Thatcher, and the context seemed to have been one of approving having had that influence. Mrs. Thatcher's regime was marked by a much more serious calibre of advisers, to my knowledge, than Reagen's (whom Miss Rand once spoke well of, after his speech at Barry Goldwater's convention, but who she later denounced.)

I liked Margaret Thatcher a lot -- she is one of my very very few contemporary political heroes. And I always thought she balanced femininity with strength, and demonstrated you could be both. And I think the PM of Britain, especially then with the Cold War still on, the Hong Kong issue, etc., is a reasonably comparable job to U.S. president, for the context of this debate.

I also think Ayn Rand liked to shock... just an eensy teensy bit... in this realm, with such comments as "I am a male chauvinist, proudly!" and so on. :) I also liked her comment to the effect that feminism was for women who needed a movement to sanction their identity as human beings. :)

Thanks Brad. That is all very interesting. So maybe she did change her mind, given the example of Thatcher. As you rightly point out, Thatcher is a good example of someone who in action may have disproved Miss Rand's earlier assertion.

Or, as you also suggest, she was being provocative and perhaps ironic- and thus did not really intend her words to be taken so literally. Though I am a bit troubled by this one, as I do think she was very deliberate in what she said and how she said it. I think saying she is a male chauvinist is a bit different than the statements we are addressing here. But of course I have no special access to her thinking on this!

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Thanks Phil. That seems to be pretty clear that she thinks a woman should not be President -- in fact that it would be bad for her, and in fact bad for the country. It would seem to me that her reasoning here would also apply to other important leadership positions, whether it be a cabinet post or certainly the CEO of a big company. I guess the bad job Fiorina did (not sure if I have her name right?) at HP might confirm Miss Rand's view......

[Emphasis added.]

Ayn Rand did NOT say that a woman presidency would be bad for the country. Please be sure to quote Miss Rand rather than put words in her mouth.

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I should mention though that Miss Rand seemed to think well of Margaret Thatcher, or at least she mentioned somewhere (gads, memory, sorry can't remember...) that she had been told privately that her (Rand's) views did have an impact on Mrs. Thatcher, and the context seemed to have been one of approving having had that influence. Mrs. Thatcher's regime was marked by a much more serious calibre of advisers, to my knowledge, than Reagen's (whom Miss Rand once spoke well of, after his speech at Barry Goldwater's convention, but who she later denounced.)

Kindly provide references for all these assertions and opinions Miss Rand supposedly made or had.

I liked Margaret Thatcher a lot -- she is one of my very very few contemporary political heroes. And I always thought she balanced femininity with strength, and demonstrated you could be both. And I think the PM of Britain, especially then with the Cold War still on, the Hong Kong issue, etc., is a reasonably comparable job to U.S. president, for the context of this debate.

There was nothing at all feminine about Margaret Thatcher.

I also think Ayn Rand liked to shock... just an eensy teensy bit... in this realm, with such comments as "I am a male chauvinist, proudly!" and so on. :) I also liked her comment to the effect that feminism was for women who needed a movement to sanction their identity as human beings. :)

Please provide references. It is important to insist on this because there are some out there who would, for the purposes of their "Open System Objectivism," like to see Ayn Rand's words interpreted out of context.

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I guess I would really like to believe Betsy -- both about what Ayn Rand said, and also about the overall wisdom of having a woman President. But part of me thinks that Ray may be right on both counts (or at least what I think Ray's position is here -- I was not clear if what he meant when he said that Miss Rand thought deeply about all things meant that he thought her views on this issue were firm and fundamental to her philosophy or not).

Just to be clear I do not think that Ayn Rand's view/thoughts on a woman President are fundamental aspects to Objectivism.

So when in response to my question you said that her "fundamentals were set," that was not responding to my question but to something else?

What do you think the fundamentals of Objectivism are?

I am baffled at how you draw so many wrong conclusions on what so many other people are stating.

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There was nothing at all feminine about Margaret Thatcher.

I think her husband might have disagreed with you.

Allow me to suggest a restatement to you: You should have said "-I- think there was nothing at all feminine about Margaret Thatcher".

The fact of the matter is that M.T. was all female complete with two X chromosomes per nucleus. She might have had bigger gongs than most male members of the House of Commons, but that is so only in the metaphorical sense.

ruveyn

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I think her husband might have disagreed with you.
Reference please?
The fact of the matter is that M.T. was all female complete with two X chromosomes per nucleus. She might have had bigger gongs than most male members of the House of Commons, but that is so only in the metaphorical sense.
The "fact of the matter" is whether or not MT was feminine, not whether she was a female. As I'm sure you know, not all women are necessarily feminine. You'll need to provide more of an argument than that to convince people here.

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I think her husband might have disagreed with you.
Reference please?
The fact of the matter is that M.T. was all female complete with two X chromosomes per nucleus. She might have had bigger gongs than most male members of the House of Commons, but that is so only in the metaphorical sense.
The "fact of the matter" is whether or not MT was feminine, not whether she was a female. As I'm sure you know, not all women are necessarily feminine. You'll need to provide more of an argument than that to convince people here.

The Thatchers had two children. Having a baby is a matter of being female. Getting the husband (or whoever) into bed to make the baby is a matter of being feminine. A man has to have a certain incentive to arise to the occasion (so to speak).

Being female is a matter of fact. Being "feminine" is a matter of opinion. There is no objective measure of "femininity", just as there is no objective standard for being beautiful. It is a matter of perception and opinion, rather than a matter of fact. That is why beauty contests are judged by people, not computers.

ruveyn

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