I want to quote so much of this article because I think it hits many good points in very clear and accessible ways. Most notably for me, Laurie Penny has absolutely nailed why I am so frustrated trying to talk about privilege and sexism with my software development peers. All of them have stories of personal misery and reasons why they don't feel privileged. The sea of whiteness, maleness, able-ness, cis-ness that they swim in is invisible to them; all they see is their own suffering, which Ms. Penny agrees is valid and real.
Here, just have one moment of brilliance:
[V]ery real suffering does not cancel out male privilege, or make it somehow alright. Privilege doesn't mean you don't suffer [...] [I]magine what it's like to have all the problems you had and then putting up with structural misogyny on top of that. Or how about a triple whammy: you have to go through your entire school years again but this time you're a lonely nerd who also faces sexism and racism. This is why Silicon Valley is fucked up. Because it's built and run by some of the most privileged people in the world who are convinced that they are among the least. People whose received trauma makes them disinclined to listen to pleas from people whose trauma was compounded by structural oppression. People who don't want to hear that there is anyone more oppressed than them, who definitely don't want to hear that maybe women and people of colour had to go through the hell of nerd puberty as well, because they haven't recovered from their own appalling nerdolescence. People who definitely don’t want to hear that, smart as they are, there might be basic things about society that they haven’t understood, because they have been prevented from understanding by the very forces that caused them such pain as children.
That, gentle readers, is a raw truth that took me a long time to grok: sexism and patriarchy hurt me. Not just growing up but now, every day. (And not just when horrifying sexism comes out of my mouth or off my keyboard - I swim in these seas, too.)
In response to another entry, one of the people I game with pointed out that part of the reason I have such a hard time with Gamergate is that I see female gamers as part of my success story. Without my main tank (female gamer) and highest DPSer (female gamer) I'm not going to be as successful. I don't understand why other people don't see things this way: we succeed together and we are harmed together.