You Can Thank Machismo For Our Dying Planet, Here’s Why
Machismo isn’t just bad for society — apparently, it’s also hurting our planet.
According to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, environmentally-friendly practices like recycling and using reusable canvas bags are considered “feminine,” so men aren’t that interested in doing it even if that means ruining our earth.
In their research, which included conducting various experiments, the authors of the study found that people who are green are thought to be more feminine.
One survey asked participants to describe a shopper with masculine, feminine and gender-neutral terms based on their shopping behaviors, like carrying either a plastic bag or a reusable canvas bag. On average, men and women saw consumers who engaged in green shopping practices as more feminine than those who did not.
Even more, the study found that men will intentionally avoid green products and practices if their gender identity is questioned.
“[Men] might be more attuned to this and try to make sure that they are projecting their masculine identity,” Mathew Isaac, one of the study’s authors and an associate professor at the Albers School of Business at Seattle University, told Broadly.
According to his research, men are more likely to adopt green behaviors when they consider them “masculine.”
When branding for green practices refer to it as doing it “like a man” or if logos for green products are visually darker and bolder, they are more inclined to purchase it or get behind it. For example, in one survey, researchers learned that men were more likely to donate to a nonprofit called Wilderness Rangers, which had a howling wolf as its logo, than an organization called Friends of Nature, which had a green and light tan logo.
“These findings identify masculine branding as a managerially-relevant boundary condition and complement prior research in suggesting that perhaps men would be more willing to make environmentally-friendly choices if the feminine association attached to green products and actions was altered,” the researchers write.
While the study could help green brands better market to men, it spotlights an unceasing problem: even as women advance in the workplace, academia and politics, even as gender roles begin to shift at home, even as we have become more financially independent, women are still considered inferior to men, so much so that associating themselves with something feminine, even if it means creating a better future for themselves and their offspring, feels dehumanizing for men.
“That says what’s feminine is bad, is lesser, is second class,” Carrie Preston, associate professor of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Boston University, told the Washington Post about the study’s results.
She continued: “Although men’s and women’s roles have changed significantly, masculinity hasn’t changed as much.”
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