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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.
I’ve lost track of how many men have told me that they’re terrified of making a mistake, of being called a creeper or – as in Aaronson’s example, somehow ending up being thrown in jail because that’s how law works.
All these over-the-top consequences – the mockery, the social expulsion, even being jailed – are ways our brain protects us from the fear of rejection.
Don’t get me wrong: the discomfort and anxiety that Aaronson and so many others feel is very real – our bodies respond to imagined fears the same way they respond to fear: getting rejected by someone we’re attracted to.
But the point of Schrodinger’s Rapist and other feminist writings isn’t that men are evil rapists and everything they do is unwelcome, it’s that women live in a world where sex is used against them.
It’s a basic benefit of being a man – men don’t experience sexual harassment or risk sexual assault the way women do.
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.
And furthermore, that the people who did these things to me would somehow be morally right to do them—even if I couldn’t understand how.
Aaronson found information without context – in this case, the writings of Andrea Dworkin and other radical feminists – and took it as further confirmation that he was a horrible person.
The problem is that he – like many other nerds and Nice Guys – took all the wrong lessons from what he read.
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.
One thing you learn quickly in the dating advice business: some topics are more or less evergreen.