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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.

I’m equally grateful to have gotten interesting, compassionate responses from feminist women.

The most striking was that of Laurie Penny in the —a response that others of Penny’s views should study, if they want to understand how to win hearts and change minds.

Two weeks ago, prompted by a commenter named Amy, I wrote by far the most personal thing I’ve ever made public—what’s now being referred to in some places as just “comment 171.” My thinking was: I’m giving up a privacy that I won’t regain for as long as I live, opening myself to ridicule, doing the blog equivalent of a queen-and-two-rook sacrifice.

But at least—and this is what matters—no one will ever again be able to question the depth of my feminist ideals.

After reflecting on the many thoughtful comments here, there are two concessions that I’m now willing to make.

The first concession is that, as Laurie Penny maintained, my problems weren’t caused by feminism, but rather by the Patriarchy.

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.

Surely that’s a message any decent person could get behind? Twitter is now abuzz with people accusing me of holding precisely the barbaric attitudes that my story was all about even when life throws you into those nasty attitudes’ gravity well, even when it tests you as most of your critics will never be tested.

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