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Ironically, Aronson [sic] actually writes a lot like Dworkin- he writes from pain felt and relived and wrenched from the intimate core of himself, and because of that his writing is powerfully honest, but also flawed …What fascinates me about Aaronson’s piece, in which there was such raw, honest suffering, was that there was not one mention of women in any respect other than how they might relieve him from his pain by taking pity, or educating him differently. Aaronson is obviously a compassionate, well-meaning and highly intelligent man I’ll have more to say about Penny’s arguments in a later post—where I agree and where I part ways from her—but there’s one factual point I should clear up now.
Indeed, I’ve always felt a special kinship with gays and lesbians, precisely the sense of having to hide from the world, of being hissed at for a sexual makeup that you never chose, is one that I can relate to on a visceral level.I have seen responses to nerd anti-feminism along the lines of ‘being bullied at school doesn’t make you oppressed.’ Maybe it’s not a vector of oppression in the same way, but it’s not nothing. It is a real shame that Aaronson picked up Dworkin rather than any of the many feminist theorists and writers who manage to combine raw rage with refusal to resort to sexual shame as an instructive tool.Weaponised shame- male, female or other- has no place in any feminism I subscribe to.This whole affair makes me despair of the power of language to convey human reality—or at least, of my own ability to use language for that end.I took the most dramatic, almost self-immolating step I could to get people to see me as I was, rather than according to some preexisting mental template of a “privileged, entitled, elite male scientist.” And many responded by pressing down the template all the more firmly, twisting my words until they fit, and then congratulating each other for their bravery in doing so.