In 1963, The Objectivist Newsletter printed a positive review by Edith Efron of what many regard as the founding document of contemporary feminism, Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. But in 1971, Ayn Rand had this to say about the women's movement:

Just as the egalitarians who ride on the historical prestige of those who fought for political equality, and struggle to achieve the opposite—so their special sorority, Women's Lib, rides on the historical prestige of women who fought for individual rights against government power, and struggles to get special privileges by means of government power. (Ayn Rand, The New Left. New York: Signet [1975], 173]

The heroine of Atlas Shrugged, Dagny Taggart, is one of the strongest women to appear in world literature—and she made her appearance in 1957, when virtually all Americans expected women to become full-time housewives. But in her 1971 comments, Rand wrote that "It is because men are metaphysically the dominant sex . . . that a thing such as Women's Lib could gain plausibility and sympathy among today's intellectuals" (New Left, 175).

When Alvin Toffler interviewed her for Playboy magazine in 1964, Rand said "I would not attempt to prescribe what kind of work a man should do, and I would not attempt it with regard to women. . . . Women can choose their own work according to their own purposes and premises in the same manner as men do." But in her "Answer to Readers" in 1969, Rand said that "By the nature of her duties and daily activities," a female president "would become the most unfeminine, sexless, metaphysically inappropriate, and rationally revolting figure of all: a matriarch" (The Voice of Reason, ed. Leonard Peikoff, New York: Meridian [1990], 269).

These paradoxes make us wonder just what Rand thought about sex, and why. They make us wonder what Rand's relationship to feminism was and ought to have been, and, more important, what ought to be our relation to feminism. These questions are taken up by the writers of a volume in Penn State Press's "Re-Reading the Canon" series of feminist interpretations of important philosophers. That volume, entitled Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, marks the first academic engagement with Ayn Rand not written almost exclusively by her own supporters. As such, it represents a tremendous advance in bringing Rand's work to the attention of the academy. Rand is now considered, at least by one academic publisher, to be as worthy of attention as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, and Nietzsche. It is time, then to re-assess Rand, feminism, and sex in the light of recent work.

Two Feminisms?

We should begin with some understanding of what feminists say, and why. In her new book, Ceasefire!, Cathy Young presents a detailed and well-researched critique of many of the wrongs of modern feminism, from its political action based on exaggerated accounts of rape, abuse, and sexual harassment of women by men to the return by feminist academics to arch-conservative accounts of women as intrinsically maternal, emotional, docile, and weak. Exposing the ambiguity and internal contradictions of feminism, Young asks

Do I still consider myself a feminist? No, if feminism means believing that women in Western industrial nations today are 'oppressed' or if it means 'solidarity with women.' . . . Yes, if it means that men and women meet each other as equals, as individuals first and foremost. . . . I still believe the feminist challenge to a woman's place was right. I think we can take pride in the fact that a woman is now expected to be her own person and make her own way in the world. (Cathy Young, Ceasefire! Why Men and Women Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality. New York: Free Press [1999], 9)

How did the same word, "feminism," come to be associated with the individualism and autonomy for women that Young supports, and also with the collectivism and state-sanctioned injustice that she deplores? Young suggests that the feminist movement "was always pulled in different directions by the belief in equality and female superiority, in individual rights and female community" (Ceasefire!, 3). Young also suggests that feminism, seeking to justify its existence as a movement even after winning its major battles, moved on to other, less plausible issues. Elsewhere, she proposes that some feminists seem to be employing the movement cynically, advancing certain goals by alleging that they are the just interests of women.

The Role of Betty Friedan

In her 1963 review of The Feminine Mystique, Edith Efron hints at an answer that runs deeper than these trends. Efron notes that Friedan's book is predominantly individualist in tone and advocates the training and independent employment of women's rational faculties in productive work. The mystique of which Friedan writes was the notion, sustained by neo-Freudian psychologists, that women are naturally maternal, that the development of their minds through sustained education stunts their sexual impulse and child-rearing capacities. Having a career, Friedan reports, was viewed by the mystique as something for men; a woman was to find her satisfaction through her children, her husband, and homemaking. Friedan relies on humanistic psychologists such as Abraham Maslow and Erik Erikson to support her claim that persons find satisfaction primarily in a career or career-like endeavor.

But, Efron says, the book is marred by political naiveté.

[Friedan] advocates a "G.I. Bill of Rights" for women, which would finance the housewives' return to school, and would be paid for by taxation. She has clearly failed to grasp the moral implications of her proposal: it would financially penalize these women who have been loyal to their human status, for the sake of those who have betrayed it. (The Objectivist Newsletter [July 1963], 27)

Moreover, we can say, after the fact, that Friedan was wrong. There has been no "G.I. Bill of Rights" for women, yet women are nevertheless being educated and entering the workforce in numbers comparable to, and in some fields exceeding, those of men.

But Efron did not attend to the other, greater error in Friedan's book: the chapter on advertising. Here, Friedan shifts from her devastating critique of neo-Freudian anti-feminism, the educational system's disservice to women, and the damage done to women by then-contemporary notions of femininity, to a weird quasi-conspiracy theory that claims industrial capitalism, by way of advertising, is responsible for the propagation of the feminine mystique. Friedan asks about the mystique:

What powers it all? If, despite the nameless desperation of so many American housewives, despite the opportunities open to all women now, so few have any purpose in life other than to be a wife and mother, somebody, something pretty powerful must be at work. . . . In all the talk of femininity and woman's role, one forgets that the real business of America is business. But the perpetuation of housewifery, the growth of the feminine mystique, makes sense (and dollars) when one realizes that women are the chief customers of American business. Somehow, somewhere, someone must have figured out that women will buy more things if they are kept in the underused, nameless-yearning, energy-to-get-rid-of-state of being housewives. (Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, New York: Dell [1974], 197)

Friedan's argument in this chapter is substantially weaker, both logically and empirically, than most of her arguments. And her conclusion, that in some nebulous way which she never quite explains—it is advertising and big business that keep women at home, is preposterous. While she employs as evidence marketing research that displays the advertiser's awareness of the state of housewives, she shows no understanding of the theory of persuasion or the motivations of business people.

Ayn Rand, who believed that ideas were at the heart of historical change, would have been prone to accept Friedan's arguments finding neo-Freudian psychology, transmitted through the educational system, women's magazines, and therapists to blame for the state of women. And this theory was by itself sufficient to explain why women were unhappy in their psychologically sanctioned roles as housewives and mothers. Why, then, does Friedan feel the need to invent an unjustified second explanation? Answering this question will show us why Friedan advocated a "G.I. Bill of Rights" for women, and it also provides a clue to the tension within feminism between collectivism and individualism.

The question could not be answered until recently, because Friedan distorted her background. She presented herself as a housewife and mother, who, like other victims of the mystique, had been only vaguely aware of the dissatisfying aspects of her life. But a new intellectual biography of Friedan by Daniel Horowitz serves to give us a fuller picture. Friedan was hardly an average unintellectual housewife: her undergraduate thesis was a sophisticated attempt to synthesize elements of Marx and Freudianism. Though she was not lying—she had three children and was a homemaker in the suburbs—she never mentioned that she had been a leftist student activist in college, a journalist for militant union newspapers in the 1940s, and was closely associated with members of the Communist party. Horowitz suggests that Friedan suppressed these elements of her past because of her lingering (and justifiable) fears of Red-baiting. Horowitz, himself a political leftist, has written his biography not to expose Friedan or to condemn her but to uncover an important piece of the history of feminism. He has succeeded.

Horowitz's historical analysis shows where Friedan received both her strengths and her weaknesses. Her academic training in psychology was heavily influenced by gestalt theory, which seeks to understand the world in an integrated way. Horowitz notes that Kurt Koffka, one of Friedan's instructors,

said in 1935 in what became a landmark and rigorously scientific book, 'the acquisition of true knowledge should help us to reintegrate our world which has fallen to pieces.' Consequently, he emphasized the way experience was organized as a totality, a 'field' composed of the interactions between the ego and the wider behavioral environment. (Daniel Horowitz, Betty Friedan and the Making of the Feminine Mystique, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press [1998], 54)

Friedan's honors thesis attempted to "bring together the insights of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud in order to create the foundation for a social theory that would explain the relationship between the individual personality and the dynamics of social change" (Betty Friedan, 84).

The Feminine Mystique, then, with its analysis of the relationship between the status of the individual, psychological theories, and the social means by which those theories, and the social means by which those theories were transmitted to the individual, is an expression of the integrated mode of analysis that Friedan learned at school. Indeed, it is this high-level of integration that makes the book seem so complete and compelling. But, unfortunately, Friedan was taught these methods by leftist instructors, many of whom believed that an integrated analysis of society had collectivist implications. Herself a Jew who had suffered from anti-Semitism in her youth, Friedan was eager to accept a theory that would explain anti-Semitic racism and integrate this issue to other questions of race, sex, and class. The rise of fascism in Europe made socialism seem particularly plausible.

Marxist analyses are concerned with showing the results of the organization and technology of industry on the lives of individual groups. And that may be why, after providing an adequate explanation for the unfortunate status of women, Friedan insisted on placing capitalism and advertisements at the root of the feminine mystique. Horowitz agrees, saying that "Nowhere in the book was the [radical] influence clearer than in the pivotal chapter of her more radical story, entitled 'The Sexual Sell,' where she sought to explain the forces that powered the feminine mystique" (Horowitz, 213–14). Friedan's leftist background may also explain why she did not hesitate to propose a politically collectivist solution to that mystique: "G.I. Bill of Rights" for women.

Feminism and Liberalism

Given that the word "feminism" can be used to refer to both individualists who seek autonomy and independence for women and to collectivists who seek state power for women, is the concept of "feminism" bankrupt? Joan Kennedy Taylor undertakes to answer this question in her essay "Ayn Rand and the Concept of Feminism: A Reclamation" in the Feminist Interpretations volume. Her paper seeks to defend the concept of feminism as valid. But Taylor also interviews David Kelley, who argues that Rand may, and probably should, have believed that "feminism" was not a valid concept at all. Kelley argues that "feminism" is invalid:

Because it brings together and tries to unite under a single label, a single concept, people and ideas that are too different to be classified together. They share only an accidental feature: that the issues they are most concerned with have to do with women. But what their position on those issues is, is as far apart as individualism and collectivism, or pro-reason and anti-reason. (Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, eds. Mimi Reisel Gladstein and Chris Matthew Sciabarra, University Park: Pennsylvania State UP [1999], 233) [henceforth FI]

When Taylor suggests the introduction of the qualifier "individualist," so that we can refer to ourselves as "individualist feminists" to distinguish ourselves from "collectivist feminists," Kelley replies

You have to keep adding qualifications, like individualist feminism, or pro-reason, or pro-liberty, so it becomes like stone soup. You call it stone soup, but all the flavor comes from the other ingredients you're putting into it, and the stone is doing no work. (FI, 248)

Taylor admits that this is a serious challenge with which feminists should deal. Now that we have some familiarity with the history of the two strains of feminism, we can appreciate the difficulty of the issue for those who would like to have "feminism" as a concept.

But Taylor's defense draws a richer historical context. She suggests that,

First, we have to look at the historical relationship between the terms 'liberalism' and 'feminism.' In the nineteenth century, liberalism, worded as it was in terms of men, was also applied only to men. It was 'men' who had rights— . . . women had the common law. In the United States, a movement to support the rights of women grew up parallel with the movement to abolish slavery. . . .

It shouldn't surprise people too much that when liberalism was modified by progressivism in the late nineteenth century, feminism was modified, too. The Enlightenment belief that government's role was solely to increase liberty by protecting the rights to life, liberty, and property gradually changed to include visions of improving society through expanded laws and regulations.

What was then called the Woman Movement became concerned with the duties of women toward society because of their supposedly higher nature. . . . At the turn of the century, there was a move to reclaim the individualist roots of this movement by calling it "feminism"—to reemphasize rights rather than duties. . . .

But as the liberal emphasis on rights and individual liberty was diluted with issues requiring an expansion of government power . . . feminism was not exempt from this dilution. (FI, 244)

Taylor is arguing that feminism is really almost a subset of liberalism—that it is liberalism applied to women. When "liberalism" meant rights and limited government, "feminism" meant women's rights and equality before the law. Now that "liberalism" means duties and unlimited government, "feminism" means men's obligations and legal sexism. We should not give up "feminism," Taylor suggests, because feminism is fundamentally an Enlightenment movement which has never been totally cut loose from its roots and because we do not give up words like "liberalism," we simply modify them for clarity: "classical liberalism."

Unfortunately, despite the value of her historical argument, Taylor does not quite complete her task. While she knows that most of the history of the concept "feminism" is a history of which Objectivists can be proud, there is still a concept, "feminism," which seeks to integrate individualists and collectivists. Is this a problem? We should consider an analogy. Currently, most Objectivists think of "libertarianism" as a concept which means something like "opposition to the overextension of state power," and they think of it as closely related to "capitalism." But the concept "libertarianism" was originally created, as a self-description, by anarcho-socialists who feared state power even when guided by a socialist party. The concept was taken over by capitalists in the middle of this century, though many on the Left, such as Noam Chomsky, still employ the concept self-descriptively. Shall we then stop thinking of ourselves as libertarians? Obviously not. But if "libertarianism" can mean both socialist and capitalist opponents of state power, then why cannot "feminism" mean both individualist and collectivist opponents of the traditional ways of arranging relations between the sexes? This argument seems especially powerful in light of the fact that it was individualists who created "feminism," while it was socialists who created "libertariansim."

What Feminism Can Gain From Objectivism

By neglecting Rand, feminists have lost some substantial values. The most obvious, of course, is an integrated philosophy on which to found their theories. But here I want to discuss some more specific values of which feminists can take advantage.

We can look first to Rand's fiction. Rand's female heroes—especially Dagny Taggart, who succeeds romantically as well as in the business world—are unrivaled in their inspirational power for women, especially young women in need of heroes. Mimi Reisel Gladstein—who prompted a debate in the 1970s with a piece in the journal College English that is reprinted in the Feminist Interpretations volume ("Ayn Rand and Feminism")—took her concerns from curricula choices for her Women's Studies classes: "The particular difficulty in point is finding sufficient representations for that section of the course that should be entitled 'The Liberated Woman' or 'She Who Succeeds.' In American literature, the shortage is acute" (FI, 48).

Gladstein continues

Adding women writers to the reading lists . . . does little to alleviate the problem. The resultant mood created by material in women's studies courses in American literature is rage or despair. . . . One feels the need to search for a novel with a female protagonist who is active, independent, professionally successful, sexually emancipated, and doesn't pay for it by dying in childbirth, going mad, compromising, or giving it all up for the man she loves. (FI, 48)

Gladstein proposes Atlas Shrugged as the antidote to women's literature despair. Rand's individualism, her rejection of the traditions that had justified the lower status of women, and her uplifting view of human possibilities all make her work of special value to women. Judith Wilt, in another paper reprinted from 1978, agrees. She argues that Atlas's

opening sections on Dagny Taggart's childhood and adolescence depict with great power the most shattering discovery the awakening [mind of a woman] makes—this world is not the one the vigorous confident [girl] expected to find and help run when she 'grew up.' And second, the book's middle and final sections depict with still greater power, nay satisfaction, the destruction of that false usurpers' world. (FI, 58)

Wilt continues to extol the value of the "cleansing violence" of Rand's novel. For Wilt, Atlas is a celebration of the will, and the will in Atlas is dedicated to the destruction of the conventional world—the same world whose conventions had held women in the home and told them to sacrifice to their families. A new essay by Karen Michalson, "Who is Dagny Taggart?," sustains this line of argument. Michalson begins by fashioning a myth to explain the absence of female heroes—heroes in the epic sense—in Western literature:

The Great Mother was life and death, and so did not differentiate between them, for the intimacy Her cultures had with death meant that birth and fertility were values above all things. . . . Mother Earth was tomb and womb. Life and death are one in ritual. The Mother was All.

That is why, in the beginning, the Great Mother had no stories and no adventures and committed no heroic deeds. There were no differentiated character aspects of Herself for poets to make tales about. (FI, 202)

When women were regarded exclusively as mothers, there was no need to make them into heroes; their awesome power of giving life was more than sufficient. But when women were regarded exclusively as mothers, no heroically individual achievement was expected of them. But Dagny Taggart is heroically individual, a productive achiever.

Michalson's claim is that Dagny Taggart is the first fully individuated woman in Western epic literature. She acts like the men of previous epics, in that she performs great feats on a vast scale, which others can merely marvel at but could never replicate. On these grounds, Dagny Taggart is as great a value as feminists could have. She is the liberated woman who competes with men in the commercial sphere, but does not compete with men as such.

Rand is of value to feminists not only because she offers the greatest female hero in world literature, but because that hero is grounded in Rand's broader moral theory. Sharon Presley, in "Ayn Rand's Philosophy of Individualism," defends Rand's egoism against claims that individualism leads to alienation and social atomism. However, rather than relying on philosophical argumentation, Presley appeals to empirical research by social psychologists. Such research shows "a relationship between tolerant social attitudes and nonmanipulative acceptance of others on the one hand and a sense of personal identity on the other" as well as evidence for "a relationship between cooperating and helping behavior and . . . individualist characteristics" and "the idea that [individualists] have closer, more mutually rewarding social relationships than the average" (FI, 258–59). Such an egoism should be of great value to feminist theorists, many of whom are currently mired in an altruistic "ethic of care" which stresses suppression of one's own desires.

A final value that feminists can gain from Objectivism lies in the psychological realm. Objectivist psychological theories have rarely sought differences between men and women, which is certainly an improvement over the neo-Freudianism of the feminine mystique. But in his new book A Woman's Self-Esteem, Nathaniel Branden extends his psychological theories to deal specifically with women's issues.

The content of A Woman's Self-Esteem will be familiar to readers of Branden's other books, so one hopes that Branden will turn to this topic again with a more thorough study. The new book does, however, take two new steps. First, its examples and case studies are all of women, and so it applies the general lessons of Branden's earlier works clearly to women's lives. Second, he deals with certain issues that are often more troublesome to women than to men, such as the rational expression of justifiable anger, fear of success, and knowing one's limits.

Feminism, then, can gain from Objectivist morality and psychology and from Rand's fiction. What's in it for Objectivists?

What Objectivism Can Gain From Feminism

One value Objectivists might obtain from feminists are deeper insights into Rand's novels. Another is an original critical view to Rand's paradoxical claims about sex and perhaps help in bringing Objectivism to a consistent view of it.

Valérie Loiret-Prunet, in her essay "Ayn Rand and Feminist Synthesis," offers a feminist approach to Rand's first novel. Loiret-Prunet analyzes We the Living to find evidence of a dialectical method of thinking. She argues that, of distinct thinking styles, the approach known as "Synthesism . . . is the most dialectical alternative. It aims for a fusion of reason and emotion, 'feminine' and 'masculine' characteristics, and rejects the divisions of self as dehumanizing." Dialectics, as Loiret-Prunet describes it, seeks "the transcendence of polar opposites [which] is achieved through a higher synthesis" (FI, 84). That is, elements that are traditionally thought of as divided and opposed—such as the "false dichotomies" that Rand attacked—are brought together into unity through a higher level of integration.

Loiret-Prunet argues that, in We the Living, the two primary male characters, Leo and Andrei, show opposed character traits that the heroine, Kira, transcends. Kira is thus not limited in the way that Leo and Andrei are. Loiret-Prunet's paper has arguments of mixed quality. Initially, she argues that the simple repetition of the number three, which is associated with the integration of opposites, provides evidence of a dialectical mode of thought. That is not a plausible line of argument. But she is on better ground when she analyzes the psychological and moral relations among the three main characters. For Loiret-Prunet, these are especially interesting from a feminist perspective because "Rand's patterns of synthesis center on her female protagonist, rather than on her two male characters . . . who remain dyadic and fractured" (FI, 86).

Rand's second major work, The Fountainhead, is also subjected to scrutiny in Feminist Interpretations. Barry Vacker, in "Skyscrapers, Supermodels, and Strange Attractors," takes the architecture presented in the novel as an instance of an information-age aesthetic. Of most significance to this analysis is the breakdown of the beauty/utility dichotomy. In the information age, Vacker suggests, what is beautiful will be what works, and what works will be beautiful. He sees Howard Roark's buildings as a paradigm of this new, harmonious approach.

Vacker compares Rand's architectural aesthetic with the aesthetic views of Naomi Wolf, whose first book, The Beauty Myth, was an attack on the fashion and modeling industries. For Wolf, the ideals of beauty displayed by these groups contradict people's well-being. Thus we have the option: be beautiful or be well off. Vacker thinks that this replicates the beauty/utility dichotomy that Rand had broken down and that is out-of-date in the information age. For Vacker, Rand thus provides a superior aesthetic for feminists in the information age.

But in my view there is still more to gain from feminists than insights into Objectivists' favorite novels: Feminists can help correct errors in Objectivism. Several writers in the Feminist Interpretations volume argue against Rand's theory of sex relations and offer alternatives to it.

Susan Love Brown, in "Ayn Rand: "The Woman Who Would Not Be President," explores the unusual attitude toward femininity expressed in Rand's "Answer to Readers (About a Woman President)." In that essay, Rand says that "For woman qua woman, the essence of her femininity is hero-worship—the desire to look up to a man. . . . The object of her worship is specifically his masculinity, not any human virtue she might lack" (Voice of Reason, 268). Rand denies that this implies a sense of inferiority on the part of the woman. Brown disagrees. According to Brown, Rand's objection to a woman's being president is that she wants to look up to a man, but the president cannot look up, because all others are his inferiors. Thus, those to whom one cannot look up are inferior to one. If a woman is to look up to a man, then, she is his inferior.

Brown might have also asked just what Rand means by "masculinity." Rand clearly defines "femininity" as worship of masculinity, but it is not clear just what is being worshipped. Brown finds a hint toward an answer in Barbara Branden's biography of Rand. Branden observes that, according to Rand, "Man . . . is defined by his relationship to reality; woman—by her relationship to a man" (Barbara Branden, The Passion of Ayn Rand, Garden City: Doubleday [1968], 18). Since an individual's primary relationship, according to Rand, is to reality and not to other people (of either sex), Rand here seems to be suggesting that men are autonomous human beings, while women are, somehow, not.

Rand's actual argument for male superiority is rather hard to piece together. Nathaniel Branden's comments, both in his essay "Was Ayn Rand a Feminist?" and in his psychological work while he was associated with Rand, provide the clearest hints. In his essay for Feminist Interpretations, Branden reports Rand as saying that "I see man as superior to woman . . . Man is bigger, stronger, faster—better able to cope with nature." When Branden asked her, "You mean, at a physical level?" Rand replied, "The physical is not unimportant" (FI, 228). Since the basic human means of dealing with reality, Rand reiterates in her essays, is not physical but mental, this argument is not impressive. But Branden, when he was associated with Rand and presumably agreed with her on the issue, also made this claim: "Physically, man is the bigger and stronger of the two sexes. . . . Sexually, his is the more active and dominant role; he has the greater measure of control over his own pleasure and that of his partner; it is he who penetrates and the woman is penetrated" (Nathaniel Branden, "Self-Esteem and Romantic Love, Part II," in The Objectivist [January 1968], 386).

If I understand this correctly, Rand was arguing that man is superior because he is the more active partner in sex. It is not at all obvious how this is supposed to follow. But moreover, the premise is not necessarily true. Why can't either partner be more active? Thomas Gramstad argues (in his essay "The Female Hero: A Randian-Feminist Synthesis") that sexual options are more diverse than Rand seems to be allowing for (FI, 350). Diana Mertz Brickell, in "Sex and Gender [sic] Through and Egoist Lens," agrees, arguing that "The biological facts cited by Branden do not sufficiently validate his connection of masculinity to dominance and femininity to surrender" (FI, 324).

Brickell does, however, try to develop a Randian approach to sex. While Brickell rejects Rand's "theme of male domination over the female" (FI, 324), she believes that Rand's egoism and individualism, and Branden's more recent work on sexuality, provide a solid basis for a theory of sex. She notes that "Ayn Rand's egoism . . . equips individuals with a method by which to judge norms of gender [sic] further their life and happiness or diminish it" (FI, 327). Brickell concentrates on the communicative function of sex-specific features such as dress, mannerisms, hair-length, and so forth. She argues that an individualist sexuality is one that does not adhere to tradition for tradition's sake, but that communicates itself authentically, whether it adheres to tradition or not. "Individuals can feel freer to express natural tendencies, in styles of clothing or ways of relating to others, for example, because they will, in all likelihood, find others who seek out those qualities" (FI, 327).

Should Ayn Rand have been a feminist? Perhaps so. While her own account of sexuality is in many ways quite traditional (and thus anti-feminist), her individualist ethics suggests an anti-traditional resolution to the questions of sex: As against the tradition, which defines the roles of all women and all men, individualism would suggest that particular men and women solve the questions of relations between the sexes in the way most appropriate for themselves. And, if feminism is to be defined around opposition to the tradition and its arbitrary impositions on the lives of individuals, then Rand's individualism is a powerful weapon in the hands of feminists.

Original Editor's note: To bring the preceding text into conformity with Navigator's policies on style, I have in two instances used editorial brackets to replace a quoted neologism, and I have three times used "[sic]" to indicate usage that does not conform to Navigator's guidelines on meaning. —Roger Donway