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Tue Jan 13, 2015, 02:58 PM

 

The plight of the bitter nerd: Why so many awkward, shy guys end up hating feminism (Salon)

snip:
I feel your pain, bitter, lonely, nerdy guys. I really do.

It sounds corny to say it like that, but I don’t know how to say it and be believed. I know that because, having experienced this emotion from the inside for most of my life, I sure as hell resisted believing it when I heard people saying it.

There’s no one more resistant to being empathized with or more prone to call attempts to do so “patronizing” than the bitter lonely guy, especially when women try to do it but even when other nerdy guys try to reach out. People like Captain Awkward and Dr. Nerdlove and the founders of the Good Men Project spend huge chunks of their lives trying to help nerdy guys, but still get regularly blasted with extreme vitriol as “feminist SJWs” by said nerdy guys.


snip:
The viral meme that inaugurated 2015 as the New Year of the Bitter Male Nerd is MIT professor Scott Aaronson leaving an emotionally vulnerable comment on his blog during a heated argument about misogyny and sexual harassment in the STEM community.

He talks about how in the “battle of the sexes,” awkward shy guys damn sure don’t feel “privileged.” How he, in particular, was plagued with guilt and fear over approaching women, constantly self-castigating over the possibility that he was a sexual harasser or a rapist, to the point where he asked a therapist about the possibility of chemical castration. He talks of reading Andrea Dworkin and other radical feminists who make him feel, as a man, like a monster.

And he concludes as a result of this that feminism is a destructive force for men like him, that the bias of the world is tilted in favor of women and women’s issues because everyone is talking about how to help victims of harassment and sexual assault and no one is talking about how to help him.


snip:
But I will say something that, as a guy who’s Been There, seems obvious to me and necessary to say.

None of the pain Scott talks about came from things that happened to him.They came from things that happened inside his head. He speaks in generalities about “sexual assault prevention workshops,” or of feeling targeted by feminist literature — himself saying that he was perversely drawn to the most radical and aggressive rhetoric he could find, eschewing more moderate writers for the firebreathing of Dworkin and MacKinnon.

He doesn’t talk about anyone targeting or harassing him personally — indeed, how could he be targeted by books written by second-wave feminists when he was a toddler? — but of feeling targeted, of having an accusatory voice inside his mind tormenting him with a pervasive sense of inadequacy, uncleanness, wrongness. It doesn’t seem like anyone in his life was particularly giving him a hard time, but that he was giving himself a hard time and picking up on any critical or negative messages directed at men in general as a way to amplify his negative thoughts.

As someone who’s no stranger to those conditions we call depression and anxiety, I can relate to Scott. As someone whose circle of friends is also no stranger to those conditions, and as someone who’s read David Foster Wallace’s seminal take on the topic, I also can’t blame anyone for being frustrated with Scott.


snip:
This is what Laurie Penny means — or one of the things she means — when she says that the harm the “patriarchy” causes women is “structural.” Not that all women have it worse than all men. Not that anyone gets away without getting at least a little screwed up by the arbitrary, unreasonable demands our culture makes of us. But that it’s women who disproportionately bear the burden of actual harm, of being directly victimized by other people.

I don’t know what the best way is to help guys like Scott Aaronson who wrestle with internal demons. Internal demons are slippery things. I do know that what could help women like Amy is to find the guys who are doing bad things to her and stop those guys from doing that. That’s why feminism is more focused on women’s issues than men’s, because women’s issues are the things happening out in the world where we can do something about them.

Similarly, no one gets away without having hang-ups and neuroses about race, but racism — the systematic denial of access to financial and social capital, the being kept out of jobs, the being harassed and shot by law enforcement — is something that happens to black people in this country and not to whites.

The questions of how to deal with the roles we’ve been handed down by our parents and our culture and how we parse how much of it is our own personality problems and our own psychology versus our cultural inheritance — that’s a problem all of us have and maybe will continue to have for the rest of human history.

But the problem of people being assaulted, harassed, raped, killed? That’s an external, physical problem. That’s something we can do something about.



http://www.salon.com/2015/01/10/the_plight_of_the_bitter_nerd_why_so_many_awkward_shy_guys_end_up_hating_feminism/

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Reply The plight of the bitter nerd: Why so many awkward, shy guys end up hating feminism (Salon) (Original post)
YoungDemCA Jan 2015 OP
JustAnotherGen Jan 2015 #1
YoungDemCA Jan 2015 #2
ncjustice80 Jan 2015 #13
nomorenomore08 Jan 2015 #33
freshwest Jan 2015 #3
JustAnotherGen Jan 2015 #4
freshwest Jan 2015 #5
1StrongBlackMan Jan 2015 #6
JustAnotherGen Jan 2015 #8
1StrongBlackMan Jan 2015 #10
ismnotwasm Jan 2015 #12
Demeter Jan 2015 #7
JustAnotherGen Jan 2015 #9
ismnotwasm Jan 2015 #11
dawg Jan 2015 #14
seabeyond Jan 2015 #15
dawg Jan 2015 #16
seabeyond Jan 2015 #17
dawg Jan 2015 #18
chrisa Jan 2015 #19
MineralMan Jan 2015 #20
Tuesday Afternoon Jan 2015 #21
Manifestor_of_Light Jan 2015 #22
Tuesday Afternoon Jan 2015 #23
ismnotwasm Jan 2015 #24
seabeyond Jan 2015 #25
azmom Jan 2015 #29
el_bryanto Jan 2015 #26
DetlefK Jan 2015 #27
seabeyond Jan 2015 #28
DetlefK Jan 2015 #31
seabeyond Jan 2015 #32
Manifestor_of_Light Jan 2015 #30
nomorenomore08 Jan 2015 #34
nomorenomore08 Jan 2015 #35

Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Tue Jan 13, 2015, 03:07 PM

1. They Came From Things Inside His Head

None of the pain Scott talks about came from things that happened to him.They came from things that happened inside his head.



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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 13, 2015, 03:15 PM

2. Check out Laurie Penny's article on "Nerd Entitlement"

 

Hi there, shy, nerdy boys. Your suffering was and is real. I really fucking hope that it got better, or at least is getting better, At the same time, I want you to understand that that very real suffering does not cancel out male privilege, or make it somehow alright.n Privilege doesn't mean you don't suffer, which, I know, totally blows.

Women generally don't get to think of men as less than human, not because we're inherently better people, not because our magical feminine energy makes us more empathetic, but because patriarchy doesn't let us. We're really not allowed to just not consider men's feelings, or to suppose for an instant that a man's main or only relevance to us might be his prospects as a sexual partner. That's just not the way this culture expects us to think about men. Men get to be whole people at all times. Women get to be objects, or symbols, or alluring aliens whose responses you have to game to "get" what you want.

This is why Silicon Valley Sexism. This is why Pick Up Artists. This is why Rape Culture.

Scott, imagine what it's like to have all the problems you had and then putting up with structural misogyny on top of that. Or how about a triple whammy: you have to go through your entire school years again but this time you're a lonely nerd who also faces sexism and racism. This is why Silicon Valley is fucked up. Because it's built and run by some of the most privileged people in the world who are convinced that they are among the least. People whose received trauma makes them disinclined to listen to pleas from people whose trauma was compounded by structural oppression. People who don't want to hear that there is anyone more oppressed than them, who definitely don't want to hear that maybe women and people of colour had to go through the hell of nerd puberty as well, because they haven't recovered from their own appalling nerdolescence. People who definitely don’t want to hear that, smart as they are, there might be basic things about society that they haven’t understood, because they have been prevented from understanding by the very forces that caused them such pain as children.


http://www.newstatesman.com/laurie-penny/on-nerd-entitlement-rebel-alliance-empire

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Response to YoungDemCA (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 14, 2015, 08:30 AM

13. Their pain isnt real.

Theyre just another sexist pig who just happens to play Pokemon at the age of 30 :p

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Response to ncjustice80 (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 30, 2015, 10:31 PM

33. Long-term loneliness and lack of relationships is plenty painful for lots of people, myself included

Fortunately, I never indulged in the reactionary straw-manning that the guys discussed in the OP do. I consider it important to put my own personal issues into some kind of perspective.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 13, 2015, 03:20 PM

3. Is it terribly wrong for me to want to just 'slap him upside his head' so he can have both?



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Response to freshwest (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 13, 2015, 03:23 PM

4. Naaaah!

Go on ahead go upside the head!

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 13, 2015, 03:40 PM

5. Thank You!



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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 13, 2015, 04:04 PM

6. Yeah, I got that too ...

 

There is nothing more scary to me than having to deal with people who cannot distinguish between the narrative running in their own head and what has actually been said or done.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 13, 2015, 06:38 PM

8. There's a lot of that going around lately!

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 13, 2015, 08:30 PM

10. Yup ...

 

That was my unspoken thought, as well. It seems that a couple topics in particular promotes a lot of noisy heads.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 13, 2015, 11:25 PM

12. Craziness!

And You can't talk to the voices in other people's heads-- they just think you can, and they think they're making some kind of damn sense.

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Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Tue Jan 13, 2015, 04:52 PM

7. It's the overwhelming failure of not being King

 

because we threw out kingship centuries ago.

There are men who grew up thinking that male privilege was theirs by birthright. They get so frustrated when anyone, but especially a lowly worthless woman, bursts that fragile little bubble of imagined royalty, that they literally go to pieces along with their cherished fantasy.

Women are more than ready to welcome men into Reality. But that's not where they want to go.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 13, 2015, 06:39 PM

9. My husband calls it the bubble

The bubble where men can't see a woman outside of himself.

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Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Tue Jan 13, 2015, 11:23 PM

11. So glad you posted this

I read it and was thinking "this exactly"-- such a good piece

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Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Wed Jan 14, 2015, 11:15 AM

14. "Women seem wicked, when you're unwanted ...

streets are uneven, when you're down.

When you're strange, faces come out of the rain ...."

Jim had this one sussed out all those years ago.

But I think most of the nerd bashing I have read lately has been overblown. These guys (and OMG, maybe I'm one of them) are victims of the same patriarchal society that oppresses women.

Because to the patriarchy, just being a man isn't enough. You have to be a *manly* man, with plenty of money and a gorgeous woman at your side. Otherwise, you are a loser. That is the message society has been sending to boys for years now.

Some of the "nerds" internalize that message, feel that they will never measure up, and blame women for it. But the real problem is the society that put all those crazy notions in their heads in the first place.

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Response to dawg (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 14, 2015, 11:28 AM

15. here is where i sit now. having raised two boys that were not the "in"

 

cause they didnt treat others like shit, while expecting not to be treated like shit. and dealing with all this manufactured maleness.

it is us women. it is us feminist moms. that are rejecting that male for our boys.

we get the effects of society on our men and boys and we have readily discussed it on the side of rejecting patriarchy. hey, it behooves us to. it works for us.

but, what i am seeing on the net with the supposed nerd, cause what is that? my family of boys and men? i dunnno. these nerds reject the support of them cause they want to hold onto the privilege and dominance.

that is the issue.

that is what we need to talk about.

they can insist it is their god given right. and us women are going to say no. po them. it is just not hard to see any more.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #15)

Wed Jan 14, 2015, 11:55 AM

16. I don't think any of these nerds feel privileged or dominant. They envy the so-called ...

"alpha" males and try to emulate them ... poorly.

These guys feel like society has unfairly shut them out of love, sex, and companionship. They rage over it. To them, these are fundamental aspects of human existence, and they feel like they have been told they don't deserve their chance. They blame women for that. It's sad, actually.

I'm not one of those guys. But I would be remiss not to admit that I can see little bits of myself in them at times.



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Response to dawg (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 14, 2015, 12:51 PM

17. here is the thing. it is about privilege while they see it or not. it a "i deserve" as you state.

 

cause it is promised to them, in all ways with society, by simply being male.

how often do we talk about the equal number of girls, that do not get? it is not even a consideration or thought. women do not "deserve" sex. men "deserve" the sex

that is the very basic in the issue of all this.

this is what they will not give up. tied up in patriarchy. that allows them their perceived privilege.

i get it is sad. and a bummer. as it is for all who do not get satisfied in this part of their life, one way or another.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #17)

Wed Jan 14, 2015, 01:11 PM

18. It *is* about privilege. But these guys aren't privileged when it comes to relationships.

They just think that they *should* be. (Which is, of course, a little assholish in and of itself.)

But I get the impression that a lot of the *men* writing these nerd bashing articles aren't very interested in reaching out and helping the nerds. They seem much more interested in pointing out how "superior" and "enlightened" they are in comparison to said nerds. So I recoil a little at the nerd-bashing.

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Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Wed Jan 14, 2015, 01:34 PM

19. It has nothing to do with being awkward or shy, imo. Plenty of likable, outgoing men are also raging

misogynists. They just don't talk about it on the internet - they act out their hatred or talk about it with their friends.

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Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Wed Jan 14, 2015, 02:23 PM

20. I was an awkward shy guy when I was younger, but I never was a bitter person.

I knew that my awkwardness and shyness was my own issue to solve. It didn't make me bitter against women or anyone else. It led me to work hard to correct both attributes. I was helped in doing that by a number of female classmates and women who saw me, rather than my awkwardness and shyness. Things got better as I got older. Bitterness would have been useless and would have interfered with my own personal growth. I recognized that throughout the process. I learned how to respect myself without disrespecting others.

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Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Thu Jan 15, 2015, 12:28 PM

21. why should a man insist on impressing many women with his physical/mental prowess? instead

just find one woman with whom he is compatible and learn how to admire/grow/love/respect that One Woman?

and vice versa. for the women of the world.

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Response to Tuesday Afternoon (Reply #21)

Fri Jan 23, 2015, 01:21 AM

22. It's about not being macho. And they are considered abnormal in the larger society.

Smart guys often feel left out because they are many times not good at sports and not interested in sports. They think that because they don't fit the macho image, that they won't find a woman who is interested in them. Yes, they have male privilege to some extent, but have trouble talking to women and being sociable, because they have so many heavy thoughts going on in their heads in math and science, or engineering, or whatever.

There are many men who are intelligent and thoughtful and have no interest in sports, which makes them social outcasts in the general population. And there are some women who like that kind of man, and find that lack of interest in sports, and interest in more intellectual subjects, to be an attractive feature. Engineers can fix things and are very pratical, generally speaking.

And in the College of Engineering, they don't have a course in how to talk to women.

Reading radical feminists is not something that I think would help these men. I say all this as a woman who found out that extremely intelligent men who were hard science/engineering/math/physics/arch/CS majors and generally were ignored by most women, were good for having intelligent conversation with. This was when computers were the size of rooms.



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Response to Manifestor_of_Light (Reply #22)

Fri Jan 23, 2015, 02:02 AM

23. yes, I understand .... actually I was speaking to the macho type male and their mindset

why they generally feel the need to swagger and gain the attention/admiration of many. indulging in shallow/physical aspect and then crowing about it, as if they have done something that the common alley cat has not.

you and I are on the same page, I think.

And I apologize that I was not more clear with my first post. Sorry for any confusion.

Thank you for replying and giving me the chance to clarify and make my thoughts more clear and readable.

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Response to Manifestor_of_Light (Reply #22)

Fri Jan 23, 2015, 08:47 AM

24. Smart nearly men

Have the same relationship issues as smart nerdy women.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #24)

Fri Jan 23, 2015, 09:07 AM

25. exactly. in these conversations, it is huge concern they cannot attract the "hot" woman. as if owed

 

unattractive women, shy women, too smart women uninterested in much of the social aspect of life also have a tough time finding someone to partner up with.

we never consider them

this is always a one way conversation about the men that are not getting it.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #25)

Fri Jan 23, 2015, 01:10 PM

29. I have a nerdy 20 year old

Daughter in college. She likes to party with the dirty hippies from New Hampshire University. She says they are cool with feminism and are super friendly.

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Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Fri Jan 23, 2015, 10:21 AM

26. I really liked that article. I particularly think the distinction between what happens in reality

and what happens in the head is important. But it's also written with a lot of empathy.

Bryant

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Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Fri Jan 23, 2015, 10:28 AM

27. Ok. From a shy, lonely nerd to the other shy, lonely nerds out there:

Two things.


1. Perception and Self-Perception. The sexism in media has subconsciously trained us men to sort the people around us in 3 categories: Men. Hot pieces of ass. Strange blobs that obscure your field of vision.
Become aware of the filter you use in looking at the world.
SPOILER-ALERT: Women are people, too.


2. Saying hello to the world: It's all a matter of probabilities.

- Stack the deck: Get a hobby where you meet people of both genders. Or find a nice bar or club to hang out.

- You can practice social interactions with strangers: Greetings. Compliment. Question.

- How to start flirting with a girl: Greetings. Compliment. Question. (Notice the pattern?)

- How to keep flirting with a girl: Keep her talking. And listen to what she says. Don't even worry about fucking this up, you will fuck up most flirts anyway. It doesn't matter.

- How to score with a girl: "For just $14.99 you can learn all the secrets of seduction..." But seriously, it depends on the situation. It either happens or doesn't.

- What to do in case of fail: Shrug it off, move on. She's not into you? How many women are YOU not into? (Seriously, shrug it off. Noboy will point and laugh at you if she turns you down, because nobody fucking cares.)

- What kind of man women like:
* If she's looking for a short-term relationship, women prefer the "adventurer"-type. (Good-looking, muscles...) If she's looking for a long-term relationship, women prefer the "provider"-type. (Caring, competent, smart, creative...)
* A woman prefers a man who shares her interests. If she's super-conscious about her looks, she wants a man who is super-conscious about his looks. To paraphrase a female Youtube-entertainer: What would you even do all day long if that superficial hot girl were your girl-friend? Have her watch you play videogames? You have nothing in common!

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #27)

Fri Jan 23, 2015, 12:53 PM

28. and get over the myth there is only adventure and provider. many women self provide.

 

they do not want to adopt the role of provider necessarily, but they are not looking for or need a provider.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #28)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 06:35 AM

31. I meant provider in an emotional sense, not a material one.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #31)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 08:47 AM

32. ah. thank you for clarification. i saw the examples for sure, but

 

the word provider doesnt fit that in my mind hence me going the direction i went. thanks for letting me know.

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Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Fri Jan 23, 2015, 04:11 PM

30. Looks/brains are not an either-or.


Brains and personality are more important in my opinion. People have a personality and a sparkle and things to talk about or they don't.
You could have very plain features and be animated and be very attractive. I see lots of people in the city with good regular features but they are not attractive--they are just drones in the corporate machine with no imagination. Their tastes are shaped by the mass media telling them what to pay attention to and they have no individuality. They don't have quirky hobbies or unusual kinds of music they listen to.


Looks, brains and personality all together--my two favorite astrophysicists, Dr. Brian May and Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Both very attractive men. Brian May is in a band you might have heard of -- Queen.


I refused to join a sorority in college because it looked like a bunch of dippy girls doing stupid stuff to get the approval of other girls. And I wondered WHY would anybody want to be exactly like someone else???? I never ran around with a pack of girls gossiping like the ones on Sex in the City. I went to a rush party when I was a freshman and some girl came up to me and gushed "You meet the NICEST people around here!!" I decided, "No intelligent life here. No boys. I'm leaving."


And I would have nothing to talk about with a frat boy. Classical music, the hot string quartet that was in town last week performing, latest theories in cosmology, what I'm doing in my biology lab? What I'm doing in chemistry lab? The latest paper by "Vicki" Weisskopf in Scientific American? Nope.


I think the awkward guys blaming feminism are blaming the wrong thing. They need to learn to say hello to girls, ask them questions, and listen, as has already been stated in this thread. There are going to be smart girls out there who have no interest in sports and the jock culture. I refused to play softball in high school P.E. and sat down in left field in 98 degree heat and refused to catch a ball, because I didn't want to hurt my fingers, because I was a musician. The gum-chewing idiot who was the "team captain" threw me out of the game and I said, "GOOD!". I also had six foot tall girls trying to run over me during volleyball to spike it and also bounced basketballs off my head when the teacher wasn't looking. Basketballs are HEAVY. They HURT. The PE teachers, who i thought were from another planet, because they seemed to be awfully masculine for a woman, wouldn't have done anything anyway.


I don't think the adventurer/provider thing is right. Provider isn't necessarily important. A woman wants a guy who shares her interests. And will listen to her and be sympathetic. Science majors who are NOT into sports are a major plus in my opinion. Neil deGrasse Tyson was a wrestler in high school and college, but the adults thought he should be a professional jock because he was big and black. He said that when he was nine years old he went to the Hayden Planetarium (which he now heads) and said "I want to be an astrophysicist" and all the adults ran away because black people were not supposed to be astrophysicists.


My version of that lack of guidance was "you're brilliant, you're smart" but did I get any specialized guidance about going into things I was really good at and that I really loved to do??? Nope, none at all. I got variations on, "Yeah, you're good at that, but it's not practical so you have to major in a natural science." And NOT make easy As. And I'm a white female.

I don't know if Brian May gets any exercise, but he certainly hasn't gotten fat, and he's in his sixties.




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Response to Manifestor_of_Light (Reply #30)

Fri Jan 30, 2015, 10:42 PM

34. "I think the awkward guys blaming feminism are blaming the wrong thing."

So very well said. Maybe the most important point of all.

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Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Fri Jan 30, 2015, 10:46 PM

35. Reading these kinds of articles, I always find myself thinking, "It could have been me."

Luckily I went to a very liberal University, so by my early twenties I had some passing familiarity with feminist ideas, and never found them especially threatening or unreasonable. The guys discussed in the OP are not only insecure and paranoid beyond reason (with their battle cry of "OMG MISANDRY!" but have a grossly distorted view of what feminism really is. Starting out with Dworkin is like diving into the deep end when you can't swim.

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