I really did internalize the narrative of Persecuted Saviour.
When I was first allowing myself to think about gender equity, I realized how persecuted I was a female. I’ve written about this quite a bit. That was real. It perhaps affected me more than it did other people who had a greater hold on the culture at large and didn’t really believe everything they were told.
During this time, I thought I could be the gender Savior to my church. I could teach them what gender was. We could talk about the narrow cultural confines of popular femininities and masculinities. Trans people could be seen as legitimate men, women, or whoever they identified as. Homosexuality, bisexuality and asexuality would be understood and welcomed.
Women would then be free to be as human as men and given the same respect. I could preach. My daughters would never be taught they were more prone to sin, or less able to lead. Then we could work on our relationship to Third World churches. Yes, I could save them. Ha ha.
After I deconverted, I was going to save friends and family from fundamentalist Christianity. Then I rediscovered prejudices towards atheists as they were directed at me. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging this, but I was making it part of my identity.
I’ve realized that I am carrying this narrative of Persecuted Savior with me.
Previously, I thought that feminists were all sorts of horrible things, including the personification of the Persecuted Saviour. However, through taking Women’s and Gender courses, I’ve learned that feminism is not all about whining how women are treated unfairly. What I am learning about is the study of privileges and oppressions. Much of the critical thinking we are encouraged to do is towards ourselves and our own attitudes. Gender, race, class, sexuality, ability, age and many other categories are used as shortcuts to make judgments about people, and I benefit from some prejudices. I am constantly challenged to acknowledge my own privileges and to learn to listen better to others especially when it makes me feel uncomfortable.
Surprisingly to me, it has been feminist critiques that are helping me work through my internalized Persecuted Saviour complex.
I am ridiculously privileged. There are some ways in which I am not, true, but that doesn’t change how privileged I am in so many other aspects.
I am not anyone’s Saviour. Except maybe my own. Not sure about that yet.