I will never have grown up with another person’s social conditioning, environment, or family legacy.
That doesn’t absolve me from caring. Sexism (and sexual assault) affects women more frequently and than men, but it’s still “our” problem, and only will begin to be fixed when we agree on common facts. After that we can start finding practical solutions.
As a half-Asian man growing up in Hawai’i, racism and homophobia didn’t impact my life as seriously as it may have if I were a Black in Alabama, or gay in Tennessee, or Black and gay and female in Chicago, but that story is also a part of the grander American narrative, which includes courage and betrayal and joy and suffering and ingenuity and terror.
From one of the most contentious books in The Bible:
I don’t have to be like someone to love them. I don’t have to even really like them, and I don’t dislike a lot of people. I dislike bullies of all sorts, but that’s really about it. I will have empathy for everyone. I will affirm their right to basic human dignity and respect. I will not know what the pressure to fit a societal-defined standard of beauty feels like to a teenaged girl, but I don’t have to to admit that: 1) It probably isn’t easy and 2) it’s probably massively consumptive of resources. I will try to be aware of privileges that insulate me from being attuned to what other people are enduring, and I will try to shake those priveleges up like a snowglobe.
I respect you and I respect your struggle.