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I was terrified that one of my female classmates would somehow find out that I sexually desired her, and that the instant she did, I would be scorned, laughed at, called a creep and a weirdo, maybe even expelled from school or sent to prison.
You can call that my personal psychological problem if you want, but it was strongly reinforced by everything I picked up from my environment: to take one example, the sexual-assault prevention workshops we had to attend regularly as undergrads, with their endless lists of all the forms of human interaction that “might be” sexual harassment or assault, and their refusal, ever, to specify anything that definitely wouldn’t be sexual harassment or assault.
I left each of those workshops with enough fresh paranoia and self-hatred to last me through another year.
My recurring fantasy, through this period, was to have been born a woman, or a gay man, or best of all, completely asexual, so that I could simply devote my life to math, like my hero Paul Erdös did.
As Bertrand Russell wrote of his own adolescence: “I was put off from suicide only by the desire to learn more mathematics.” At one point, I actually begged a psychiatrist to prescribe drugs that would chemically castrate me (I had researched which ones), because a life of mathematical asceticism was the only future that I could imagine for myself.
The psychiatrist refused to prescribe them, but he also couldn’t suggest any alternative: my case genuinely stumped him.
A few days ago, in response to a discussion of sexual harassment at MIT, Aaronson reluctantly opened up about his experience as a young man: I check Feministing, and even radfem blogs like “I Blame the Patriarchy.” And yes, I’ve read many studies and task force reports about gender bias, and about the “privilege” and “entitlement” of the nerdy males that’s keeping women away from science.
I don’t see myself as a model, and I’m married and have a family.
This is why my husband is not in this category :)””I got the idea from seeing many amputee women have their own website, pose for websites or have their own You Tube channel.
I’d never thought we would be this many, and we are all different.
And after the amputation, I received new strength for a new life, enabling me to think deeply about the soul, the inner world of man.
It is my belief we are tested to strengthen the spirit.