Shy Male Nerds and the Bubble Strategy
By Bryan Caplan
When feminists say that the market failure for young women is caused by slut-shaming, I stop slut-shaming, and so do most other decent people.
When men say that the market failure for young men is caused by nerd-shaming, feminists write dozens of very popular articles called things like “On Nerd Entitlement”.
The reason that my better nature thinks that it’s irrelevant whether or not Penny’s experience growing up was better or worse than Aaronson’s: when someone tells you that something you are doing is making their life miserable, you don’t lecture them about how your life is worse, even if it’s true. You STOP DOING IT.
[Quick aside: In high school, I definitely fit the SMN profile. I played Dungeons and Dragons with my male friends every Saturday night, and did not go to prom. By my second year of college, however, the problem ceased to be personally relevant. I met my wife when I was 19, married at 23, and we just celebrated our 20th anniversary. My experience may color my advice, but I leave readers to decide if that’s a bug or a feature.]
My main question when reading Scott’s defense of SMNs: Is this really the best way to help them out? Sure, some SMNs may feel better after reading Scott. But Scott’s main intended audience seems to be the feminists who mistreat SMNs. And frankly, I can’t imagine even Scott’s earnest voice changing their minds. In fact, even Scott seems extremely pessimistic. He even ends his conclusion with a disclamer:
I already know that there are people reading this planning to write responses with titles like “Entitled Blogger Says All Women Exist For His Personal Sexual Pleasure, Also Men Are More Oppressed Than Women, Also Nerds Are More Oppressed Than WWII Era Jews”.
If helping SMNs is the goal, I think I know a better way. As usual, I recommend self-help. Specifically: SMNs should exclude hostile feminists from their Bubble. (Further background). Stop arguing with hostile feminists. Stop reading them. If you know any in real life, stop associating with them. Even if they have halfway decent reasons for berating you, you’re clearly not right for each other. The best response is to amicably go your separate ways.
I realize that this approach does not solve the deeper problem of SMN loneliness. But that’s no reason to amplify your unhappiness with unpleasant, fruitless social interaction with people who emotionally abuse you.