What’s up with the strong needs these days on the internet for “safe spaces.” Safe from what? If it merely meant safe from abuse or threatening behaviour that would be one thing.
What it boils down to, however, is a “safe space” means safe from someone challenging your opinion. Facebook algorithms might be partially to blame as we are only served the kind of information we want to see. The internet is sliced up so that mostly you have to go looking for dissenting opinion. “Don’t read the comments” is a common phrase; something I say as a joke to indicate the comments are rife with bigotry.
But why are we so strongly against our ideas and beliefs being challenged? Might it have something to do with the parent child relationship and how as children most of us were not permitted to challenge our parents ideas? We were told what to do, what to wear, what to eat and few parents even today think that it’s a good idea to let kids “talk back.” Kids get the idea that to be challenged is bad; something to feel distress about. They grow up needing safe spaces and only speaking with people who agree on every issue.
I once watched a debate about circumcision on an attachment parenting group. It was getting heated and someone decided circumcision shouldn’t be discussed in this group because you can join a pro-circumcision attachment parenting group or an anti-circumcision attachment parenting group to discuss your own unique views. Well, what the hell is the point of people who all agree on an issue like circumcision even having a discussion? Circumcision, like many topics in parenting and feminism, needs to be discussed among the varying view-holders.
Progress depends on it. Democracy depends on it.
It doesn’t have to challenge your entire self worth that someone has an opinion you don’t like and is challenging you with it. Either consider the other side or explain your side. Remain open minded but grounded. Take a break if you need to. I do frequently. But refusing to even hear the other side is dangerous.