Categories
Objectivism

Ayn Rand on Women

Ayn Rand had incredibly disparaging views on women. It should not be any surprise that feminists and women studies groups rejected her–as a rebuttal to the men who think feminists should fawn over Ayn Rand because of Dagny Taggart. Here is Rand on American women:

As a group, American women are the most privileged females on earth: they control the wealth of the United States—through inheritance from fathers and husbands who work themselves into an early grave, struggling to provide every comfort and luxury for the bridge-playing, cocktail-party-chasing cohorts, who give them very little in return. Women’s Lib proclaims that they should give still less, and exhorts its members to refuse to cook their husband’s meals—with its placards commanding: “Starve a rat today!” (147)

Gee thanks, you bitch. Men are just so over worked. Women are nothing but cock tail chasing, lazy bitches. I have a refutation to this here: Relieving Mental Load: It’s a Power Structure Change. There is real data there about how much men versus women work, with links if you are at all curious to find out more. But if you can’t otherwise see the misogyny and abuse in this, I otherwise can’t help you.

I can just hear Objectivist men, “But it’s TRUE.”

Update: I wasn’t wrong:

8 replies on “Ayn Rand on Women”

It’s interesting that you would take her comment about “American Women” at a specific time in history and not just “women” as proof of her misogyny. This is a quote from the 70’s in response to the uprising of a very toxic brand of feminism coming from a Russian woman who could see things from the point of view a very different culture. I have seen and heard many modern non-western women echo the same things and they are not objectivists. American (and western) women *are* spoiled compared to non-western women. That’s just a fact, it’s not misogyny. Just because something is true of a majority of a certain culture’s women at one point in time doesn’t mean that all women of all cultures and at all times exhibit those characteristics as a result of their biology. If she had said that all women regardless of time, place, or culture are this way, it would be misogynistic and pretty weird considering she is a woman.

By the way, I’m an objectivist woman and I think there is a lot of truth in what she says, especially in the 70’s, especially among Americans, and especially among the new left feminists which is what she was addressing. It is even more true today, except most women extort from men via the government rather than directly. It doesn’t take a misogynist to recognize that American women are coddled in today’s culture (starting predominantly in the 60’s), prevented from maturing, and told to have zero emotional control or any other self-control for that matter. While men, on the other hand, are abandoned, told to have zero emotions, told that they must have extreme self-control even under severe duress from the people (especially the women) in their lives, and told that they are the scum of the earth if they make any protestation that their lot in life is to sacrifice and serve at the alter of the almighty female.

Not recognizing these problems is what gives REAL misogynists credence and cover. The more we panic at fair criticisms, the more misogynists use that to hide behind and spread their actual misogynistic BS. We must use words carefully and precisely and respond to criticism with more than just name-calling and whining. Women are given undue privilege in our society without nearly the amount of sacrifice or responsibility that men have to give (e.g. no conscription, preferential treatment at college, sexual assault taking seriously when the victim and less seriously when the perpetrator, lower severity of prison sentences, preferential treatment in family courts and on and on) . This is true, in the current era, within a specific culture, and among a vast majority of women in that culture. All women? No. It’s not a “woman” problem, it’s a western, feminist, leftist-altruist problem. Which is what Rand was actually addressing in the book, and not just women. Which also very clearly explains why women’s groups and feminist groups would reject her. She was talking about them, their philosophy, and what their philosophy did to women and men. Under that circumstance, it would be downright insane of them to accept her. It’s a complete non-sequitur to say “feminist groups don’t like someone” therefore “that person is a misogynist”.

I would highly recommend The War Against Boys by Christina Hoff Sommers (a feminist) and Discrimination and Disparities by Thomas Sowell (economist) for anyone interested in a serious look at these ideas.

“It is interesting you would take …” … so you’re accusing me of … something? It’s as misogynistic as it gets. Oh she said AMERICAN woman IN THE 1970S and not “ALL” women so it’s NOT misogynistic. Sure. You are a typical Objectivist: I am wrong so wrong THE WRONGEST and there is some “nuance” or “context” I am missing (which makes Rand totally enlightened and amazing). You’re the one who doesn’t recognize the problems. Women in the past AND NOW had/have a TERRIBLE time getting support as mothers or wives. This is constantly the Objectivist position, “THIS position deters from the REAL issue.” Oh. And are YOU on the front lines battling “actual” misogynists. Yeahhhh, probably not. It’s not a “non-sequitur.” She directly says American women are cocktail party chasing cohorts. And she (and you) can right buzz off. Live in your Objectivist bubble. There is no getting through to you and your utter prejudice.

I’m pointing out that you’re not using precise language, which is important if you’re going to accuse someone of something and then (successfully) support your claim. It’s also important to not use ad-hominem, non-sequiturs, or straw men in your arguments, which were the bases behind my other points.

Rand hated and opposed determinism and exalted the self and the power an individual has over their own lives. She didn’t believe in concepts of original sin, either from biology or God. To believe that all women are horrible by nature and doomed to be horrible (as being a bigoted misogynist would REQUIRE her to believe) would require her to take back all of her previous philosophical arguments or spit in their face (not to mention requiring her to loathe herself). If you have proof of her supporting determinism or pre-destination via biology, then I could believe your claim that she was a self-hating woman, but as it is, there isn’t because she didn’t believe that and because she wasn’t a misogynist. Bemoaning the state of women in a particular country and culture because she KNOWS their true potential and wants them to reach for it, sounds pretty antithetical to hatred to me.

Misogyny has an actual definition, and it doesn’t mean pointing out negative character flaws in a particular group of women, or are we not allowed to criticize women, of any kind, in any way? Does criticism automatically mean “hatred” or “bias” to you? Criticism is essential for growth, and while there are positive and negative ways of doing it, criticism does not automatically (or even in the majority of cases) imply either hatred or bias toward the group/person being criticized.

I never claimed to be “battling misogynists”, only that the mindless emotion-driven panic at any criticism of women, just or not, empowers people to make ACTUAL misogynistic arguments and be FREE from any push-back because the people criticizing them have lost ALL credibility through these tactics. It’s the boy who cried wolf.

Losing credibility should be a serious concern if you were actually interested in convincing anyone of your ideas, but I think I’ve deduced by reading through your articles and your over-the-top emotional response to my comment, that you’re disingenuous and not at all interested in ideas, or convincing anyone. You just want to bait them on twitter to get some good “gotchas” to show how “mean” objectivists are for using laugh emojis in response to your arguments. You want to stop us, not convince us. You want force, not reason. Good luck. You don’t own me and you’re exactly the type of control-freak you’re claiming to hate. Using your “logic”, perhaps that’s why you were attracted to objectivism in the first place? You are far more obsessed with Rand than I am, and you have some intense bitterness that I don’t understand the root of. I have gauged from your blog that it derives from you not being free in objectivism to spend your time however you want, or do whatever you want without having to think rationally about your motives and whether you really should make those decisions. (Objectivists hate picnics, apparently??) You seem to be very bitter that you’re expected to take responsibility for your life, including your emotions. The posturing about a philosophical disagreement seems to be a ruse to make yourself seem intellectual and like you’ve really thought about things, hence also why you strangely have to continually appeal to authority to convince your readers how smart you are (professor so-and-so *definitely* thinks I’m the smartest person ever, why won’t the mean “abusive” objectivists believe me?? maybe if I remind them that some other smart person thinks I’m smart in every article, they’ll be convinced. This says a lot more about how *you* are convinced by arguments than it does about objectivists, by the way).

Rand doesn’t argue that people are born emotionless but that emotions don’t exist outside of (prior to) values and that therefore you can change your emotions by changing your values. An infant has a mind, it uses it immediately, even prior to birth, to sense things. Through that sense perception it creates rudimentary values and therefore emotions. It doesn’t like being cold, hungry, or abandoned. Knowledge isn’t automatic, the child had to perceive these things first, recognize (judge) the sensation as unpleasant and as a lack of value, and then follows the emotional response to that lack of value. To argue that the emotion comes first is nonsensical. A person with no values has no emotions, hence the “numb” feeling of being a nihilist. To feel, you have to value. A child has certain values that *appear* innate like food, shelter, and attention but those values wouldn’t occur and the emotions wouldn’t transpire if the mind hadn’t first perceived and then judged. Her main argument is that you should *rationally* choose your values, not that rationally choosing them is the *only* way people can or do choose them. Values (and therefore emotions) are taught and can be un-taught. (Even the need for food and shelter as values and the emotions at their lack can be un-taught if you take into consideration certain monk’s achievements).

I’m “buzzing off” now. But I’m sure you *really* aren’t interested in convincing me that objectivism is evil and I’m evil. I’m sure that’s why you have a whole blog, website, and book dedicated to doing just that. The real answer is that you were caught in your mischaracterization of Rand’s ideas and had no response and so you want me to go away because you can’t form logical arguments. I for one am fine with you living in your bubble and won’t need to put your comments to me on a wall of shame or dedicate a whole blog to convince myself of how “fine” I am with those who disagree with me living in their own “bubble.” Seeing as how everyone else on the planet agrees with you and thinks like you, you just seem threatened that I’m not in *your bubble* with *you*. To your bubble, I say “No thanks”, my life is infinitely better with objectivism, I’m happier, more confident, have better relationships, no longer suicidal because of my failure to live out altruism absolutely, or afraid of God’s punishment in hell because I cared about people more than him. Objectivism saved my life.

This is typical Objectivist. In the name of “precision of language” they justify blatant insults and narcissism, such as Rand’s statement that American women are just a bunch of entitled party goers who do nothing. This is manipulation, period. There is nothing mysterious here. There is nothing deeper. No amount of “context” makes up for her statements. I am not interested in convincing you of anything. I am intent on showing people what Objectivism is. You are fine case example. Thanks for giving me a live example that anyone can read–and can read my counter, in case anyone gets sucked into your tap dancing about “context, logical fallacies, etc, etc.” You Objectivists, like any narcissist, have great word salad. Your goal is to confuse, manipulate, and keep the reader’s mind on one thing solely. I want you to buzz off because I want you to buzz off. There is no changing your mind–ever. I am done-zo with entrenched Objectivists. You will go to bat for the worst of Rand’s statements. Like. Seriously.

Leave a Reply to Faith Emmanuel Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *