I've just read a fantastic article by one of my favourite feminist bloggers, Greta Christina. In it she argues how confrontation can open doors. I generally agree with this sentiment, and as long as you're the kind of person who doesn't crave popularity I see how it can work. Because make no mistake, the moment you start to rattle cages you find out a whole lot about the occupants. Some people have dug themselves in, and no matter what you say or how you say it nothing's going to change their mind. Then there's the group that take offence at even being confronted in the first place, the kind of person who just doesn't want the apple cart upset. Sadly, there's also a group that literally cannot cope with thinking outside their proverbial box; I'm talking tears and histrionics and the kind of drama best practiced at the Globe theatre. Happily, there does exist a merry old crowd that thrive on hearing alternative viewpoints, and these are the kind of company I really relish. It doesn't matter that I disagree with them or them with me; it's the romp of having a good old discussion that expands the mind and fends off those dangerous biases that keeps people mentally locked up.
I've always puzzled over why alternative ways of thinking are so bothersome for many people? I guess we just spend so much time aggregating ideas and patterns of thought that they become too entrenched, too heavily invested, too impervious to revision.
Anyway, what about you? Yes, I mean you. You reading this, right now. How open are you to changing your mind, re-imagining old ideas, changing the way you think and perceive? You might think you're all just dandy, in which case try the following thought experiment. Go straight to your most entrenched perspective, that idea that you've carried with you since you first began forming a position about the world. How open are you to change? How tightly are you holding on to those cherished ideals? Can you ever envision yourself thinking another way? If not, I hope a little alarm bell has just gone off in your head. You've quietly confessed that you're not quite as open minded as you might want others to believe. Not quite as open as perhaps YOU might have wanted to believe. If this is the case then you've taken a small but very important step. You've acknowledged, whether you cared to or not just where the double standard sits. If it's any consolation we're all accomplished at self deceit, and you're not the first and won't be the last to come unstuck. In fact in a way take heart. You've taken a good step, an honest step towards seeing the world through better eyes.