Michael Stuart Kelly

What would Ayn Rand think of the MeToo Movement?

Recommended Posts

What would Ayn Rand think of the MeToo Movement?

Everybody knows what the MeToo movement is. It started not too long ago after some high profile celebrity cases of sexual abuse against women resulted in penalties for the accused (except for Bill Clinton, of course).

I got to thinking... the rape scene in The Fountainhead has always caused a lot of cognitive dissonance in O-Land, especially Rand's "rape by engraved invitation" quip.

I've also been reading Rand's Journals (as part of my fiction writing studies). As I was reading, suddenly I blinked my eyes. I couldn't believe what I just read.

Does anyone know what Rand's original image of Dominique Francon was?

A priestess...

That's right...

A priestess...

Rand said it several times.

But the last time made me think of the MeToo movement.

Here are Rand's words for this last time. She is talking about Howard Roark and this quote is in her notes to herself before she wrote the book.

Quote

His attitude toward Dominique is not: “I love you and I am yours.” It’s: “I love you and you are mine.” It is primarily a feeling of wanting her and getting her, without great concern for the question of whether she wants it. Were it necessary, he could rape her and feel perfectly justified. Needless to say, it is she who worships him, and loves him much more than he loves her. He is the god. He can never become a priest. She has to be the priestess.

Hmmmm...

"Were it necessary, he could rape her and feel perfectly justified."

He did! He did!

:) 

"Without great concern for the question of whether she wants it," at that.

Well...

There we have it, then...

I guess Ayn Rand would not have been good material for the MeToo movement.

:) 

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

What would Ayn Rand think of the MeToo Movement?

 

I think that her view would have been that if Harvey drops the towel and asks you to watch him shower, with the possibly implied suggestion that if you play his little dirty games, you'll have a much better chance of becoming an actress, and perhaps and Oscar™ winning one, then it is your own decision to either leave or to accept the terms of his implied contract, and also possibly to threaten him with exposing his tactics, or any other method of leverage that you might want to use. Her view would be that you don't have a right be hired by Harvey, that he has the right to offer whatever specifics of exchange that he wants, including a sexual proposal, and that you have the right to accept or reject it. Also, if he gets grabby without permission, that would be an "initiation of force," and you would have the right to immediately retaliate in proportion to stop him, and to then press charges. I think Rand would also suggest being prepared, such as not putting yourself in a situation where you'll be alone in a traditional casting couch scenario, unless you make the informed decision to do so. She might also suggest that you bring concealed recording devices or similar means of protection when dealing with a known or suspected predator.

J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jonathan,

I don't know. I'm sure in Hollywood Rand encountered these situations. I imagine she liked the male attention. But if a man went too far, I imagine she didn't give any thought about rights and so on. I think she just went ballistic on the man and that was that. :) 

There's a great example that is not quite apt, but similar enough to mention. It's when Albert Ruddy (the producer of The Godfather) visited her to hammer out the details of the movie rights to Atlas Shrugged. He sat her down on a couch, put his arm around her, snuggled her close, and intimately explained how they could film the sexual sensuousness of Dagny getting the Rearden metal bracelet from Lillian at the party and putting it on. Talk about the big bad wolf and little Red Riding Hood! :) According to accounts, she loved it.

After they disagreed over the approval of the final cut, daggers came out of her eyes and Ruddy left hearing her say that she would give these rights to anyone on earth before she would sell them to him. All the sexiness disappeared and I can see him beating a fast retreat out of her apartment.

:) .

I can see her easily turning on a dime like that with a horny Weinstein, even if he were only interested in one thing. If he offered her a production or whatever in return for sex (and if she looked like she did in her younger days), I'm not so sure she would have objected to the proposal, even if she didn't take it. I think it's a good chance she would have liked the attention as a woman. But if she objected, I also think she would have laughed in his face and thrown him out and not even thought about rights.

This is all speculation, of course. But it's fun...

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Jonathan,

I don't know. I'm sure in Hollywood Rand encountered these situations. I imagine she liked the male attention. But if a man went too far, I imagine she didn't give any thought about rights and so on. I think she just went ballistic on the man and that was that. :) 

There's a great example that is not quite apt, but similar enough to mention. It's when Albert Ruddy (the producer of The Godfather) visited her to hammer out the details of the movie rights to Atlas Shrugged. He sat her down on a couch, put his arm around her, snuggled her close, and intimately explained how they could film the sexual sensuousness of Dagny getting the Rearden metal bracelet from Lillian at the party and putting it on. Talk about the big bad wolf and little Red Riding Hood! :) According to accounts, she loved it.

After they disagreed over the approval of the final cut, daggers came out of her eyes and Ruddy left hearing her say that she would give these rights to anyone on earth before she would sell them to him. All the sexiness disappeared and I can see him beating a fast retreat out of her apartment.

:) .

I can see her easily turning on a dime like that with a horny Weinstein, even if he were only interested in one thing. If he offered her a production or whatever in return for sex (and if she looked like she did in her younger days), I'm not so sure she would have objected to the proposal, even if she didn't take it. I think it's a good chance she would have liked the attention as a woman. But if she objected, I also think she would have laughed in his face and thrown him out and not even thought about rights.

This is all speculation, of course. But it's fun...

Michael

Totally. Rand would not buy into what I think should would call "the sob sister victim mentality."

J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, dldelancey said:

MSK, seems like you and Jonathan are in vehement agreement.

Well, what do you think, Deanna?

J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Garsh," said Goofy, "Dldelancey is as purdy as Minnie."

I have no doubt some women who dress modestly and want nothing to do with others are glad when they get old enough to not be such a temptation. And I am not so sure Ayn Rand liked to be harassed or thought women should simply tough it out. I am glad that our nation’s policies for sexual harassment are in place. Morally, there should be severe repercussions for being a predator. Even when a “work place romance” has preceded the current advances, a person should be protected from unwanted solicitation for sex, bodily exposure, etc. Company ‘no fraternization rules’ are a good thing.

I can remember standing at urinals when I was a teen and having voyeurs trying to see my privates, and a couple of times I was propositioned when I went on a job interview. Yuk. I am for cameras in public restrooms as long as they are not “focused” on anyone’s genitals. I am all for a company’s personnel department being watchdogs for the innocent. I am glad that stores have security personnel.

There used to be a park in the town of Delmar on the Delaware / Maryland border that had urinals. I remember stopping to use one and noticed the predators, especially homosexual men, hanging around and being a nuisance. Shortly after that there was a “sting operation” and someone I worked with was nabbed . . . and exposed . . . to the press. He was a predator at work too, but mostly with females. Good riddance.     

I used to sit on the benches in Ocean City and watch the girls in their bikinis strut by. By the time my own daughters were teens I stopped doing that, though it is still hard not to look at a pretty woman. Now I look, notice the attractive woman, and then I don’t stare any more.    

Peter

From: Jennifer Baker To: objectivism Subject: OWL: dependence on sexual harassment laws Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 00:01:35 -0700 (PDT)

One thing I should also make clear is that I attribute the lack of sexist obstacles in my life and career to the sexual harassment policies that are in place. I have been asking older women today what academia used to be like, and in the near past, before the culture changed as a result of sexual harassment policies, it sounds like it was ridden with lecherous behavior.

I asked my dad, who has worked as the vice president and COO of several hospitals what happened when sexual harassment became -- increasingly-- illegal. He described a complete change in the hospital's culture. The doctors used to do things like pinch women, with great frequency! My dad says the incidents would be reported, but there was little the hospital could do, and the doctors tended to get away with it. When a hostile environment became illegal, and the hospital became culpable, they cracked down on this sort of behavior. (And that is what I remember growing up, how doggedly my dad would pursue sexual harassers working in the hospital.)

I ha

ve only received harassing emails (which are, from what I understand, in Arizona and other states illegal to send, they fall under the cyberstalking laws.) There were a set of them, from someone I had just met (and barely spoke to) at an Objectivism conference. Anyway, this was the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to me. So I do not mean to suggest that the women today are doing so well because they would be able to overcome harassment on their own. The protections are working.

I am trying to give credit where credit is due: I don't feel burdened today by being a woman because of the recent changes in the laws and in the culture of the workplace (47% of managers, administrators and executives are now women, according to the U.S. Labor Bureau's 2001 report, at http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpswom2001.pdf.)The women who worked in earlier generations have my deepest respect, I know I could not have made it then.

When I showed people the emails I was sent, the most common reaction was "well, this is career suicide." I think it is significant that they meant this on his part, not mine. That is, even though the emails were full of accusations-- that I was an alcoholic, that I had sex with three men at once the last night of the conference, the erotomaniacal insistence as to why it was my fault this complete stranger was interested in me-- I have heard that in the past, if you were a woman and someone wrote these things about you, your workplace would not be sympathetic, and would instead be amused. Or interested. My workplace was disgusted and furious. I am certain that this atmosphere is necessary to my confidence, to my having a job at all, to my being able to sleep at night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guess what I saw last night on one of the nostalgia channels? “The Rainmaker.” Some of the John Grisham novel and movie “The Rainmaker’ concerns the horror of sexual harassment. I think it is one of Grisham’s best. Peter

The Rainmaker (1997) Rudy Baylor's a young lawyer who goes to work for an ambulance chaser. He brings with him a case wherein a woman wants to sue an insurance company, that stalled on paying her son's medical bills, eventually he got too ill that he's now terminal. When his boss is investigated for his unethical practices, Deck Schifflet, another man who works at the law office, suggests that he and Rudy open their own office which they do. Deck has gone to law school but for some reason has not yet passed the bar. And now the two of them, try to handle the case themselves but they are up against Leo Drummond, a powerful and wily lawyer. And Rudy would like to do things honestly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

What would Ayn Rand think of the MeToo Movement?

 

"But I don't think of [it]...and the more I see, the less I think".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just wanted to add, the policeman's perspective about sexual labels, like homosexual predator. A man who thinks he is straight but tries to force himself on a man or initiates sex with a man, even if he is "the one on top," well,  he is still committing a homosexual act, and in the eyes of the law, is a homosexual. If tomorrow, the same man, coerces a woman, then he is a hybrid predator.   From the NY Penal code, section 69.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Well, what do you think, Deanna?

J

I think you summed it up nicely. Rand had some quirky ideas about sex, but I believe she would have felt about MeToo just as you described. 

However, I’m not following MSK on the priestess bit. It’s not him. I’ve had a string of blonde moments today. ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, dldelancey said:

However, I’m not following MSK on the priestess bit. It’s not him. I’ve had a string of blonde moments today. ?

Deanna,

I've wracked my brain for something pithy to respond with, or at least a quip, but all my subconscious keeps serving up is a pun on god complex.

And that's just so lame...

But...

I'm workin' on it...

:) 

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, dldelancey said:

I think you summed it up nicely. Rand had some quirky ideas about sex, but I believe she would have felt about MeToo just as you described. 

However, I’m not following MSK on the priestess bit. It’s not him. I’ve had a string of blonde moments today. ?

What I don't know is how Rand would have felt and reacted prior to becoming the successful author and guru. When she was a naive new arrival who had just landed in Hollywood, and if she had been lured and cornered into being alone with a very powerful man who turned and locked the doors and suddenly made a shocking proposal and was giving off the vibe of potentially harming her, might she have had a different take than her seasoned older self? I would think so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest bob_hayden
Quote

Her view would be that you don't have a right be hired by Harvey, that he has the right to offer whatever specifics of exchange that he wants, including a sexual proposal, and that you have the right to accept or reject it.

I would be more sympathetic to this position if the help wanted ad, position description, and employment contract had spelled out the exact nature and frequency of these "job duties". Or maybe I misunderstand just what a "position description" is;-)

My least favorite of Rand's writings are her many rants on current events.  So often I felt she jumped on one aspect of a complex situation, elevated it to the "essential" point, and denounced it.  I have no idea what random aspect of MeToo she might seize upon.  That movement does not have a core statement of values such as Rand's writings, but to me it seems the main point is to make the general public aware of how widespread sexual abuse is.  Having known many victims, I think that a worthwhile goal.  No doubt there are false accusers and professional victims in there, but then there are plenty of "Objectivists" whom I am embarrassed to be lumped with;-) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, bob_hayden said:

I would be more sympathetic to this position if the help wanted ad, position description, and employment contract had spelled out the exact nature and frequency of these "job duties".

Bob,

That actually happens in show business.

I don't know about a tradition of yesteryear since the MeToo movement blew up, but I suspect it is still as popular as before. Maybe in a changed form.

The longstanding tradition is about actresses sending photos to directors when networking for roles. Many included "DRR" written in a bottom corner. This meant, "Director's Rights Respected." That meant sex.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Director's Rights Respected?" Damn. I remember Marilyn Monroe's second hand tell all book by Shelley Winter's (who was her roommate) quoted MM saying after her blossoming success, she would never "$u%k^&" a Jewish c^&k* again, but then she poked her head out again and said with a twinkle, "Unless I want to."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎7‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 6:54 AM, Jonathan said:

What I don't know is how Rand would have felt and reacted prior to becoming the successful author and guru. When she was a naive new arrival who had just landed in Hollywood, and if she had been lured and cornered into being alone with a very powerful man who turned and locked the doors and suddenly made a shocking proposal and was giving off the vibe of potentially harming her, might she have had a different take than her seasoned older self? I would think so.

I would expect so as well, but I wonder if she would have admitted as much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...