I have realized something fundamental about the way society interprets experiences like mine.
If I were to be judged by male standards- the ruthlessly rational scientist and engineer archetype that all boys are raised to aspire to- then I would probably be considered mentally ill. Men who have these experiences are stigmatized for talking about them because they’re expected to be leaders who only believe in one of a few socially-approved opinions about the nature of the universe. To believe anything else is to be a pariah.
Women, on the other hand, are expected to be more intuitive and emotional, and are also less likely to be dismissed for believing in supernatural experiences because the men in their lives expect women to be inferior to them in some way. They see the mystical side of women as validation for the patriarchal view that mysticism is nothing more than female eccentricity. I have seen comments by determined antitheists that were positively dripping with misogyny toward, for instance, modern witchcraft which is predominately female, describing them as fat and ugly among other things. While I no longer follow that path, I feel it’s wrong to chalk it up to female eccentricity simply because you don’t understand it or to put down the women who get involved in it simply because you don’t believe the same things they do.
As a transwoman, I get both reactions to my experiences. Those who still see me as male think I’m 100% off my shit, but those who accept me as female are much more likely to accept the past life thing as nothing worse than female eccentricity.
It’s really starting to sink in how this double standard works and it’s frustrating when you really think about it.