There’s a common misconception that women are more socially and environmentally conscious than men, especially when it comes to their shopping habits. Perhaps it’s just that more products and platforms are marketed towards women, creating an “eco gender gap”, where green branding might as well be pink. Other factors may include that women make 80–85% of household shopping decisions to begin with.
Even toasting good’s following is over 70% female, so let’s take a moment to focus on the men in our lives — after all, they do account for 50% of the world’s population! With Father’s Day approaching on June 21st, now is as good a time as any to consider how to have conversations about social and environmental responsibility with men, and with older generations. You can also spark his interest with a gift that gives back, from toasting good’s Father’s Day Gift Guide.
Meet him where he’s at
Whether you’re discussing politics, racial equality, women’s rights or climate change, it can be tough to overcome disagreement, differences in perspective and generational norms. That’s why it’s important to first, meet him where he’s at and understand that position. Then, you can move logically, step-by-step, towards your version of the subject.
“It’s always best to approach these conversations with curiosity and work to understand the other person’s views.” -Veronique Ehamo, a Black community activist
Even if you don’t reach a full agreement, having a calm and respectful conversation can work wonders to open someone’s mind to new ideas. Maybe Dad won’t commit to becoming a vegetarian overnight or rush to the next women’s march, but he might try Meatless Mondays and be willing to support women-owned businesses. Starting small is a way to say, “I’m here with you, and we can do the work together.”
Make it “manly”
While I’m not a fan of gender-stereotyped marketing, it can be effective for certain groups of people. If you’ve got a real tough guy on your hands, he may be hesitant to try those so-called “green is the new pink” branded products. So, to open to his eyes to sustainable or social enterprise brands, start with simple swaps of what he already loves and present it as “manly” or “heroic” to be conscious about what he purchases (but please, try to avoid white-savior rhetoric).
When it comes to eco-friendly apparel — sneakers, denim and outerwear lead the way in men’s preferences. Encourage him to try Patagonia over the value-brand at Dick’s Sporting Goods, or Nisolo boots and GroFive sandals over mass-produced shoes that don’t pay fair wages. Quality, durable leather and outdoor goods will satisfy his lifestyle (or his dubiousness and high standards!) while making a positive contribution to brands that value laborers and the environment.
Use positive reinforcement
Asking someone to change their perspective and habits is a difficult task, especially for anyone who is older. Try to avoid criticizing your family members’ current ways of life, and instead associate positivity with the new alternative you’re suggesting. This can help you avoid sounding “preachy” about ethical shopping. It also creates a mindset of gaining instead of losing.
Finally, stay positive for yourself!
Conscious consumption is a lifelong commitment, and we’re all at different points in the journey. It’s important to remind yourself of all the progress you’ve made, which will help you to bring your parents on board as well! Team up, support each other and have fun while making a positive difference with your everyday actions.