Sometimes, it’s hard for men to understand issues in the same way a woman would. It helps to give them a concrete example that relates to them personally in order to understand the gravity of the issue. So when some of the most important issues of our generation come up, I always ask them: What if it was your sister or your mother? And by ‘it’, I of course mean this three-toed sloth in the photo above.
Sure, it’s hard to empathize with someone when you don’t have a direct connection to their personal experience. Not everybody is as capable of empathy in the same way that you might be, so it’s important to bring difficult, abstract ideas down to earth and relate them to the people they care about the most. And in bringing it up, “it” being this three-toed sloth right here, I hope men would recognize just how much they’ve been blind to this issue. What if this was your sister? Would you believe her then? This is how I would put it in perspective for him.
Would he respond to his sister or his mother with things like ‘I don’t believe her’ or ‘She’s doing this for attention,’ or ‘Holy shit, what did you do with my real mom? You turned her into a sloth!’ I would hope not!
It’s baffling to me that a man simply couldn’t understand the problem unless you bring his family into it. Like, a man simply could not process what it would be like to be a tree-dwelling South American mammal until I specifically describe them as his closest female relatives. How could he be so glib about someone else’s lived experience?
In his defense, after awhile, he did get all worked up picturing his mother eating shoots and leaves but the fact remains: Men need to be asking these questions about lots of issues that plague our society today. What if this happened to a woman that I love and trust? And by “this” I mean “suddenly and inexplicably turning into a small, three-toed sloth?” The answer might be right in front of us.