Monday, November 14, 2005

Masculinity and Femininity

Though I think that Betsy Speicher makes some great remarks regarding masculinity and femininity (and I loved her description of how she felt at the speech), I think she makes some fundamental mistakes on this subject that have been part and parcel of Objectivism since -- well, since Ayn Rand herself spoke about the essence of masculinity and masculinity. There are two main points I'd like to address:

1) Hero worship refers to virtues and is, therefore, open to both sexes. You can worship only that which is virtuous (honesty, integrity, pride, etc.), not biological, and since women and men are equally capable of being virtuous, they are equally capable of receiving worship. So, it is not worship primarily that women (or men) are feeling in romance (and in the bedroom). It is the laws of nature. Many on this thread have already eloquently stated how a woman must feel complete trust with (and admiration for) a man to completely surrender to him in the bedroom. Very true. Where I think many of these folks are going awry is to relate that (and other forms of "melting" in a man's presence) to "hero worship." It is, instead, biological -- and therefore also psychological. It is a surrender to the overwhelming physicality of the man and the resultant psychological manifestations -- and the thought of what that means in a situation (bedroom, doorway, dangerous place) where the man's physicality comes into play. The animal kingdom has not released us (thankfully) from the laws of the jungle (protection, dominance) applying to our romance, but I think we go too far to bring "hero worship" along with it on only one side of the gender equation. Yes, the woman worships (deeply admires) the virtues in her man, and yes, the man worships (deeply admires) the virtues in his woman. And it is these virtues that give such extraordinary value to the caretaker/surrenderer/dominant/submissive/hard/soft (biological) aspect of romantic relationships.

2) Masculinity does not exist without femininity and, therefore, does not occur in a forest while alone -- without a prior reference point to a woman. (Though a man could do other things alone in a forest that would bring women directly to the forefront of his mind. ) Strength and virility may remind us of our masculinity, but only in relation to women. Unless a man or boy has already defined his differences in relation to women/girls, he cannot identify his forest work as "masculine." The same goes for women. Alone, on an island without reference to the other sex ever, one would not feel manly or womanly. Each would have a different way of responding to reality, but there would be no gender identification.

2 comments:

Tom Rowland said...

David,

When I clicked on the Betsy Speicher link I didn't get anything that resembled your description. Where should I look?

I disagree with your comments here, but want to read your reference before saying more.

Tom Rowland

mr1radical said...

Shoot me an email or call me. I need to talk

Stu in winston-salem