On Nerd Entitlement

These are curious times. Gender and privilege and power and technology are changing and changing each other. We’ve also had a major and specific reversal of social fortunes in the past 30 years. Two generations of boys who grew up at the lower end of the violent hierarchy of toxic masculinity – the losers, the nerds, the ones who were afraid of being creeps – have reached adulthood and found the polarity reversed. Suddenly they’re the ones with the power and the social status. Science is a way that shy, nerdy men pull themselves out of the horror of their teenage years. That is true. That is so. But shy, nerdy women have to try to pull themselves out of that same horror into a world that hates, fears and resents them because they are women, and to a certain otherwise very intelligent sub-set of nerdy men, the category “woman” is defined primarily as “person who might or might not deny me sex, love and affection”.

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.

And so we arrive at an impasse: men must demand sex and women must refuse, except not too much because then we’re evil friendzoning bitches. The impasse continues until one or both parties grows up enough or plumps up the courage to state their desires honestly and openly, without pressure or resentment, respecting the consent and agency of one another.

This usually doesn’t happen. What usually happens instead is that people’s sexuality and self-esteem get twisted into resentment of the (usually opposite) gender; they start to see that gender as less than human, particularly if they are men and learn at every stage of their informal and formal education that women are just worth less, have always been less, are not as smart, not as good, not as humanly human as men.

via On Nerd Entitlement.

HT Yang Ruan

This is a response to Scott Aaronson’s story concerning nerd entitlement [src].

I don’t understand her proposed action in the end, but I loved a bunch of parts of the response.

Tangent, which I’ll incorporate into another article soon, hopefully: Institutional sexism and society bias produce an environment in which women are automatically less of people than men. A by-product is of this is that women are raised to care more about what other people think of them and what they do. Some of this leads to a great skill in understanding other people, other people’s problems, and a general concern for other people. Empathy, basically. I believe that these skills place women (and others who have honed these skills) at an advantage when we consider the problems of the world, which continue to involve more and more people. We need more problem solvers who can also understand problems of people.

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