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As well it might—for in some sense, there was nothing “wrong” with me.In a different social context—for example, that of my great-grandparents in the shtetl—I would have gotten married at an early age and been completely fine.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.Alas, as much as I try to understand other people’s perspectives, the first reference to my “male privilege”—my privilege!—is approximately where I get off the train, because it’s so alien to my actual lived experience.But I suspect the thought that being a nerdy male might not make me “privileged”—that it might even have put me into one of society’s least privileged classes—is completely alien to your way of seeing things.Eventually he got over it and is now 97% on board with feminism, but wants people to understand that when done wrong it can be really scary.The feminist blogosphere, as always, responded completely proportionally.
Of course, I was smart enough to realize that maybe this was silly, maybe I was overanalyzing things.
Not meant as a criticism of feminism, so much as of a certain way of operationalizing feminism. In my heart, there is a little counter that reads “XXX days without a ten-thousand word rant about feministm.” And I had just broken three digits when they had to go after Scott Aaronson.
For those of you who don’t know, Scott Aaronson is one of the nicest, smartest, and most decent people there are.
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.
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.