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After all, what better way could we ring in a new year than by looking at some old issues?
But first, some context: Over the last week or so, I had several people forward me links to this comment from MIT Professor Scott Aaronson’s blog about growing up as a nerd terrified of women and trying to be a Nice Guy and how this meant that nerds couldn’t be keeping women out of STEM fields.
[…] 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.
While I can sympathize with the emotion – I’ve had all the same worst-case scenario nightmares when I’ve approached women I like – the cold truth is that this anxiety is self-inflicted.
They’ve bought into the dating binary: you’re either good with women or you’re not and 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. Google effect – if you’re sick and enter your symptoms online, Dr.
Scott Aaronson is quick to remind us: he’s a feminist.
He I live in a world where feminists throwing weaponized shame at nerds is an obvious and inescapable part of daily life.
So let’s dive back into the Nice Guy debate, shall we?
As is the nature of the Internet, this immediately was an opportunity to comment on the topic. Flippancy aside, my purpose isn’t to add to the criticism per se; instead, I want to talk about some of the underlying attitudes at play here regarding nerds, entitlement and dating.