SOPHIA BARTHELSON, SMEDJAN.COM 990824 (AUGUST 1999)
"Was Ayn Rand a Feminist?"
In this Swedish language essay published in the on-line journal, Smedjan.Com (a cultural free market magazine published by the think tank, Timbro), Sophia Barthelson views the volume as very interesting, a sign that academics have started to take Ayn Rand seriously. It is a good thing, says Barthelson, that Rand is being read from different perspectives. Some feminist readings definitely distort Rand's opinion, according to Barthelson, especially those coming from a "hardcore" feminist perspective. But these distortions emerge, to some extent, from the very paradoxes in Rand's thinking on men and women. Barthelson mentions especially Wendy McElroy's essay as an example of how constructive and enlightening a new perspective on Rand can be. She also praises contributions by Nathaniel Branden and Sharon Presley, though she criticizes Karen Michalson for "politically correct reinterpretations of Rand's sexual scenes."
Ultimately, the answer to the question -- "Was Ayn Rand a Feminist?" -- depends on what is meant by "feminism." Rand was not a feminist by today's standards; but if feminism can be seen in terms of "classical liberal feminism," with an emphasis on equal rights and a woman's right to self-development, she certainly was.