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“ He misunderstands privilege pretty massively in his first post though.

There was something I was taught while taking a political theory class. The first thing you need to do when attacking a problem is ask if it is systemic or individual. A failure at this stage leads to bad theory and bad policy. He, without a doubt, erred on that question. He took an individual issue, wrapped up in his own experiences, insecurities, and misunderstandings, and tried to turn it into a systemic issue. Whatever the honesty of his position, and I respect him for that, his logic is still fundamentally wrong.

There was an excellent response to his article by another male "nerd" I'm trying to find currently. But as someone who fit the definition myself, though I don't work in any tech field, I can explicitly say blaming feminism or women is wrong.

I also question this attempt to suggest "nerds" do not have privilege. Being considered a "nerd" did not erase the fact that I'm white, or male. Just like being a poor "redneck" doesn't erase white privilege, even if you have no class privilege. Privilege, in the pure sense, is a complex system of interconnected and sometimes contradictory social views of an individual based on a given label or quality. You can have both positive ones (white, male) and negative ones ("nerd" or non-normative in other ways). The negative one does not erase the positive, and in this case I'd be very hesitant to suggest it is of equal force.

Especially since the view of "nerds" as effeminate and unmasculine is not due to feminism, but due to the same gender norms feminists try to move past. ”

BradanFeasaTHE ATLANTICFriday, January 23, 2015 3:27 PM

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“ You're referring to Arthur Chu in Salon, which I thought was pretty weak tea. ”

Matthew TarpyTHE ATLANTICFriday, January 23, 2015 3:52 PM

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“ You're right, thanks, but I disagree. In particular, this is important.

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

That's the money quote I think. It sums up his error quite well. ”

BradanFeasaTHE ATLANTICFriday, January 23, 2015 3:53 PM

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“ While I don't disagree with much of that, I'm not sure what one is supposed to take from it. ”

Conor_FriedersdorfTHE ATLANTICFriday, January 23, 2015 4:05 PM

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“ That there is a fundamental difference between external discrimination and treatment and internal feelings.

His point about "feeling like being a man was a greater burden" is rooted in internal feelings, not external events by others. So his attempt to shift the blame to others, particularly feminists, is extremely problematic.

He invented the persecution he feels. That does not mean he does not feel it. It does mean blaming others is particularly immoral in my mind. It's a false equivalence in the most basic sense. ”

BradanFeasaTHE ATLANTICFriday, January 23, 2015 4:06 PM

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“ When transgender individuals explain the harrows of feeling like a man in a woman's body, or vice versa, are you similarly inclined to label their experience as "rooted in internal feelings" as if that automatically makes it irrelevant? Yes, there is a difference between external discrimination and internal feelings–but how is that difference relevant here? ”

Conor_Friedersdorf THE ATLANTICFriday, January 23, 2015 4:21 PM

THE ATLANTIC2015-01-29T06:17:28.000Z

The comment that begat this small Internet miracle wasn't perfect. Neither were the responses to it–as ever online, some needless cruelty and lack of charity followed.

But Aaronson and his interlocutors did transform an obscure, not-particularly-edifying debate into a broad, widely read conversation that encompassed more earnest, productive, revelatory perspectives than I'd have thought possible. The conversation has already captivated a corner of the Internet, but deserves wider attention, both as a model of public discourse and a window into the human experience. It began with the most personal thing that the professor had ever publicly shared.