[x-post truereddit] Author of popular physics blog answers feminist commenter regarding his lived experience as a nerd.

wow, i am almost sad regarding how familiar this sounds. i have finished multiple technical studies, due to my weird scheduling of things i even was the outsider of the "outsiders" in the nerdiest fields you could ever imagine. self-loathing has been a constant companion - society has taught me as much.

once having "internalized" self-hatred to an extent that is killing you, the instinct of survival kicks in. you learn way of how to cope with things - for me, it was by focusing on self-improvement. people have treated me terrible for a long time, yet, it was women - who - through social image - i have never even felt the right to approach. my self-improvement does not only include the intellectual level, it also focuses heavily on maintaining a fit body. therefore, i am training 4-5 times a week. i have won research prices, yet i have never had a relationship in my whole life.

i require a level of "superiority" to 95%-99% of all people in any field i am engaged in to feel remotely "OK". over more than 10 years, there has not been any single diagnosis that would have rendered my thinking psychotic or anything related. i have had several people come to the conclusion that they understand my situation, that they understand how i had developed and that there are driving forces in the society that put and keep me in the position i am in.

so, approaching women - by common teaching - requires perfection: you have to hit a super-narrow sweet spot that is not harassing and not creepy. that sweet spot is up to the individual's choosing. as a perfectionist, this is something you can only fail at: i have had women approaching me, i have had women kissing me out of the blue, while i would have never found the courage to have done it myself ("what would that mean to my career if it was considered harassment or w.e.?", being something that i regularly think about).

even after extremely obvious signs of interest (e.g. kissing or w.e.), i was oftentimes very rudely turned down the most basic approaches like e.g. staring conversations on days after meeting. believe me, i need a crazy level of confidence to even initiate such a thing, but the interest is just not there, once people learn about yourself.

i am a perfectionist, i am a egalitarian, i want the best for all people and i judge myself by ideals that hardly any 1 in a 100 would be able to live up to. i use this as a constant driving force for improvement. it makes my life hell, it truly is miserable. yet, apparently, i am in the position where everything just falls into place by itself, since i am a privileged white male in a STEM-field. the fun just starts with you realizing how much sympathy you are expected to get: in school, for excelling, you are bullied to the extreme. afterwards people start fucking you over for being "awkward" due to a lack of social experience. then you have feminists bashing you for even feeling the most basic urge of interacting with the opposite gender, even though you are doing everything in your power to live up to unreal standards (this includes social etiquette - like the author, i would LOVE to be asexual, to be someone who could solely focus on science, but unfortunately, this is not what i got).

i cannot speak for a generation, i cannot speak out against feminists, i cannot speak against or for anyone - these are all personal experiences. yet, i am a keen observer. i am also someone who has had years of time for self-reflection (even guided by professionals) to come to grounds regarding why things are the way they are. i know that i am responsible for many of my problems - i am well aware that being "different" in a social context oftentimes appears strange and unappealing. yet, even though i am a self-hating person to an unhealthy extent, i cannot ground ANY reason for self-loathing in me being the "privileged white shit" i am. you know - i would even be perfectly fine, if i could come to that conclusion for myself. it would make my life a hell of a lot easier.

bottom line: in 30 years, of which more than 13 years i have dedicated myself almost entirely to social welfare through research, i have found myself in a position that justifies the point of view of being pro-"self-hatred" when it comes to self-improvement. yet, my "privilege" has not earned me a good life nor guaranteed success - quite the contrary actually.

/r/KotakuInAction Thread Link - scottaaronson.com