After some HORRIBLE interactions online last week, things have been much quieter for me. Which is really lovely. It helps that I also unplugged this past weekend and enjoyed hanging out with family from out of town, including my adorable 2 year old niece.
With all this good stuff as the stage for me to get back to normal life on Monday, I was in a place to reflect on a few things. One topic in particular came to mind...I began thinking about how when I strip away all of the bullshit that is dealing with harassers and trolls online, I really appreciate how much I learn by doing what I do.
And I began to ponder the actual feeling of learning something new and how great it can be, if you let it.
One of the biggest lies that anti-feminists tell about us is that we only listen to people who think like us, who share our identities, etc. The truth is that I actively try to learn from others and I follow and read a TON of diverse social justice oriented people. (But they ARE right in that I don't read anything from folks who are actively trying to oppress others, because I don't have time or patience for that, nor will I learn anything from them. The kyriarchy already taught me those lessons.)
So through the reading I do online, I am regularly faced with my own biases and misconceptions. And when I read something that doesn't mesh with what I had been thinking, there is a pretty distinct feeling.
It's an initial "WHAT?" and then a "wait..." and then an "ooooooh."
This process is so important for me. It's how I have learned to begin the lifelong process of unpacking the knapsacks of my own privilege. It's how I have learned to stop hating myself, embrace fat acceptance, and reject healthism. It's how I have learned to focus on the intersections. It's how I have learned to stop judging other women.
I think too often people stop at the "WHAT?" and react negatively to the rub of cognitive dissonance. Instead of taking a moment to even consider that what they've always thought might not be the way it is...they react defensively, double back on their own view, and shut down. It's very easy to do.
Of course, I'm not perfect and it's still a process to be open and learn when I'm given the chance. But if you're not even at least receptive to the opportunity to listen to others, how will you ever know anything other than your own perspective?
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