The feminist blogosphere, as always, responded completely proportionally.
Amanda Marcotte, want to give us a representative sample?
Because of my fears—my fears of being “outed” as a nerdy heterosexual male, and therefore as a potential creep or sex criminal—I had constant suicidal thoughts.As Bertrand Russell wrote of his own adolescence: “I was put off from suicide only by the desire to learn more mathematics.” At one point, I actually begged a psychiatrist to prescribe drugs that would chemically castrate me (I had researched which ones), because a life of mathematical asceticism was the only future that I could imagine for myself.No woman “owes” male nerds anything; no woman deserves blame if she prefers the Neanderthals; everyone’s free choice demands respect.That I managed to climb out of the pit with my feminist beliefs mostly intact, you might call a triumph of abstract reason over experience.There’s a whole list of Top Posts on the Top Posts bar above.
Trigger warning: social justice, condemnation of some feminism, tangential reference to eating disorder.
For those of you who don’t know, Scott Aaronson is one of the nicest, smartest, and most decent people there are.
A few days ago, in response to a discussion of sexual harassment at MIT, Aaronson reluctantly opened up about his experience as a young man: I check Feministing, and even radfem blogs like “I Blame the Patriarchy.” And yes, I’ve read many studies and task force reports about gender bias, and about the “privilege” and “entitlement” of the nerdy males that’s keeping women away from science.
Of course, I was smart enough to realize that maybe this was silly, maybe I was overanalyzing things.
So I scoured the feminist literature for any statement to the effect that my fears were as silly as I hoped they were. On the contrary: I found reams of text about how even the most ordinary male/female interactions are filled with “microaggressions,” and how even the most “enlightened” males—especially the most “enlightened” males, in fact—are filled with hidden entitlement and privilege and a propensity to sexual violence that could burst forth at any moment.
The psychiatrist refused to prescribe them, but he also couldn’t suggest any alternative: my case genuinely stumped him.