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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.I was terrified that one of my female classmates would somehow find out that I sexually desired her, and that the instant she did, I would be scorned, laughed at, called a creep and a weirdo, maybe even expelled from school or sent to prison.

I left each of those workshops with enough fresh paranoia and self-hatred to last me through another year.

My recurring fantasy, through this period, was to have been born a woman, or a gay man, or best of all, completely asexual, so that I could simply devote my life to math, like my hero Paul Erdös did.

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!

I stand by a lot of it, but if somebody links you here saying “HERE’S THE SORT OF GUY THIS SCOTT ALEXANDER PERSON IS, READ THIS SO YOU KNOW WHAT HIS BLOG IS REALLY ABOUT”, please read any other post instead.

There’s a whole list of Top Posts on the Top Posts bar above.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.—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.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.

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