“Like Saul on the Road to Damascus”: One Man’s ‘Conversion’ to Feminism

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The whole “conversion” narrative is a bit awkward, but I read with interest this opinion piece from the Ottowa Citizen by David Moscrop, a PhD at the University of British Columbia.  Here is an excerpt:

I became a feminist gradually and reluctantly. Some feminists convert instantly. Like Saul on the road to Damascus, the scales of misogyny fall suddenly from their eyes, and they see the light. For me, it was different. I entered my undergraduate degree as a casual misogynist. Or, more accurately, I was a philosophical liberal: I believed women and men were deeply and necessarily different, but legally equal. I thought that men should be men, women should be women, and that if the fairer sex wanted to improve their lot in life, they could pull themselves up by their bra straps. * * *

[M]y way of being a feminist includes choosing carefully the words I use, avoiding offensive gendered terminology; it relies upon the sometimes-uncomfortable task of calling out those who perpetuate gendered stereotypes in their words and deeds; it begs for the public advancement of alternative ways of shaping social and personal gender relations; and it absolutely requires constant attention to the way I think about and treat women, so that through practice I am able to re-write the narrative implanted in me through social structures hostile to true gender parity. It takes what the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche called “long practice and daily work at it.”

Someday we will pass the Event Horizon of gender equality, that point beyond which those who celebrate gender diversity and parity, those who refuse to participate in structures of gender domination, will have moved permanently beyond their intellectual and moral ancestors. Men today can choose to be a part of this movement or they can continue to hide behind false and overwrought notions of either liberal equality or gender exceptionalism. However, in choosing the latter path they will prolong the life of moribund — but still harmful — relations that keep so many women underemployed, under-represented, and in violent relationships, and that arrest the development of the male gender.

The full piece is available here.

-Bridget Crawford

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