It was in busily thinking of an argument to counter a loud, brash and proudly antifeminist acquaintance that I had the (second or third) greatest epiphany of my life.
It is simple, so devastatingly simple – yet rather easy to miss – “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”
It is easy, I suppose, to live and think in extremes. Dismissing something as all bad or embracing another as all good is something many of us do naturally. And though this might be realistic or accurate to some extent in conceptualising simple entities and basic thoughts, one must admit, if one really thinks deeply, that when one considers a human being – an inherently complex human being it is not so simple. And if it is difficult for a human being to be all bad or all good, imagine that complexity and nuance multiplied a thousand or a million times over in an organisation, a movement or a religion.
As I said, it was in thinking of an argument to counter this guy – who declared feminism and feminists were useless and stupid because he had discovered a group of feminists who practised free-bleeding – that this occurred to me. At that time, I was going through an areligious phase myself, and I often proudly declared all religion to be useless and unnecessary. And yet in that brief pause in our argument, I saw myself for the hypocrite I was. You see, I was perfectly willing to accept that the different cultures, contexts and life experiences of different human beings resulted in different manifestations of feminist thought, and this was fine with me — and yet I refused to allow for this same nuance in religion. And when I put my mind to it, I started to realise other not-so-black-and-whites.
Life isn’t always black and white – there are usually several shades of grey.
Ever since I accepted the greys, it has become easier to understand and engage with different modes of thought. I almost never dismiss a complex ideology/ organisation/ movement because I do not agree with some of its tenets.