It was not until the 144th comment by a participants named Amy on Scott’s Aaronson recent Shtetl-optimized** post devoted to a certain case of sexual harassment at M. I. T. that the discussion turned into something quite special. Amy’s great comment respectfully disagreeing with the original post and most of the 100+ earlier comments gave a wide while personal feminist perspective on women in STEM (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, mathematics). This followed by a moving comment #171 by Scott describing a decade of suffering from his early teens. Scott, while largely sympathetic with the feminist cause, sees certain aspects of modern feminism as major contributors to his ordeal.
Then came a few hundred comments by quite a few participants on a large number of issues including romantic/sexual relations in universities, rape, prostitution, poverty, gaps between individuals’ morality and actions, and much more. Many of the comments argued with Amy and a few even attacked her. Some comments supported Amy and some proposed their own views. Many of the comments were good and thoughtful and many gave interesting food for thought. Some people described interesting personal matters. As both Scott and Amy left school early to study in the university, I also contributed my own personal story about it (and Scott even criticized my teenage approach to life! 🙂 ). Amy, over 80+ thoughtful comments, responded in detail, and her (moderate) feminist attitude (as well as Amy herself) stood out as realistic, humane, and terribly smart.
* The word triumph is used here in a soft (non-macho) way characteristic to the successes of feminism. Voting rights for women did not exclude voting rights for men, and Amy’s triumph does not mean a defeat for any others; on the contrary.
** “Shtetl-optimized” is the name of Scott Aaronson’s blog.