This is such an insightful post that I’d like to collect and share it.
From reddit /r/TumblrInAction (archive: https://archive.is/rd8cZ#selection-2353.0-2397.122 )
Changing was a long process. I initially got into SJW groups sort of through popularity- feminism was supposed to be THE thing for equality, and I wanted everyone to be treated well, so I joined a bunch of feminist forums, which branched into more garden variety SJW circles. Initially I had no idea there was a dark side to it.
I had some weird views before; I think in a lot of ways I was a stereotypical white knight. I was depressed at the time, and being applauded for being progressive definitely was an ego boost. Fighting people I perceived as bigoted made me feel better about myself. My SJW tendencies were based mostly out of self loathing- I felt weird, like an outcast, had never had a girlfriend, hated myself, and thought that I was fixing myself by jumping deep into feminism. I armed myself with a lot of bad statistics (like the 1 in 4 rape stat) and felt smart because of it.
After a while it becomes second nature; you just sort of convince yourself that you’re on the right side and see your opponent as a stereotype out of reflex. That can happen here too, but SJW’s actively encourage it. You become utterly convinced that you’re part of an elite, enlightened group fighting an aging generation of uneducated racists and sexists.
But eventually I started to realize that I had incomplete information. I lost a lot of arguments to people I’d stereotyped as being dumb. The people I called allies just jumped to ad hominem attacks and semantic arguments, and that made them secure in their beliefs. That’s how they operate; when they lose, their mental gymnastics aren’t supposed to convince you. It’s to convince themselves, to justify not changing their sources or beliefs. And it’s very effective at that. It worked for me for a while.
But eventually it wasn’t enough for me. I started trying to revise feminist arguments with new, accurate sources. I’d correct people on my own side on forums and whatnot. They hated that, and jumped right to calling me a rape apologist and a woman hater. I was blown away, it contradicted my notion that we were the logical side.
At the same time I started college, my grades were pretty awesome and college was way less stressful for me than high school had been. I had so much more time I took an active interest in learning some real skills for the first time. I’m making my own indie game now in between my regular job, based on the skills I learned my first couple years of college in my free time. I also got a girlfriend for the first time. She was (and is) amazing, best thing that ever happened to me.
This stuff gave me a little bit of pride that was extremely harmful to the communities I was in. Whereas before when someone generalized most men as rapists, it had given me an opportunity to feel superior to other men while still hating myself, now all of a sudden it offended my new-found self worth. Their communities thrive on self loathing disguised as elitism. And then the womens’ studies class I took in college cited people absolutely insane- like Andrea Dworkin. Even as indoctrinated as I was at the time, I still knew that class was too far.
I still find it funny that, though most of the class started out conservative and was roped into SJW mentalities, I started out SJW and by the end of the class it had practically ruined feminism for me. Because I’d been a part of it before. I knew when the professor was wrong. I knew how hollow the “peace and acceptance” spiel they preached was. I knew the counter points to their sources. It felt like a bad joke to me at the time; I knew how my classmates felt, I’d felt the same way months earlier. But I was powerless to actually explain that to anyone, they just demonise and talk in circles until the argument goes away. As I had done months earlier. At first I felt bad, ashamed, for going against everything. I wanted to be convinced again, I wanted to be a good SJW again. And all of a sudden I realized it wasn’t going to get better. I was in a university class about feminism, overrun with SJW’s, and they had worse arguments than I’d seen online. There was no smarter next level to feminism that I was just too stupid to see. That was it. I was at the top and our arguments still sucked.
The last straw was when I made a desperate, ditch effort to convert my brown female girlfriend to feminism with me. It failed; she said feminists in her country were crazy. We argued a bit. Finally it felt like a curtain was being pulled back and I realized the ridiculousness of it all. I was a stupid white knight arguing with a brown girl that she should be more feminist. I deconverted on the spot. I stopped being ashamed of myself, a lot of things changed about the way I see myself and the world. Ironically, I stopped seeing every situation as a men vs. women or race vs. race binary. SJW’s insist their goal is to make everyone equal, and for a long time I believed it, but their communities actually enforce factionalism and division.
I know this post makes me look bad, I cringe every time I think about the things I used to believe and say. I feel bad about the good people I insulted and wrote off. The good news is, I’m not the same person as I was in my mid-late teens. My life actually functions and has a purpose now, so that’s nice. I try to see every situation in terms of individuals now, not sides. I’m not depressed any more, I have a regular decent paying job, I’m developing a game on the side, and I’m about to marry my wonderful fiance’.
Sorry for the tl;dr, it ran way longer than I expected. Once I started typing I felt like I needed to get it off my chest.