Take a Chill Pill, Dude: Your Toxic Masculinity is Hurting the Earth

Toxic masculinity is really toxic.

What if we told you that men and some of their toxic masculinity habits are reallllly bad for the environment?

Well. Technically it’s not mens’ fault… it’s society’s.

It’s all about branding

We all know how marketing works. A company’s marketing team gets an idea in its collective head about who their target market is.

So, when marketers caught wind that women tend to respond to healthy messages, and, on average, respond to messages about preserving the environment more, “caring about the environment” became a feminine… “thing.”

In fact, researchers have found a few instances that illustrate this phenomenon that could impact how women and men think about “being green.”

The research

Researchers, including James Wilkie, a business professor at the University of Notre Dame, recently published a study on this subject in the Journal of Consumer Research.
The study contained research gained from a set of experiments created to gauge if people ascribe gender to products. The study also examined if those opinions impact people’s buying options. Unsurprisingly, the study showed that people connect green goods to femininity.

The first two studies examined college students reactions to products and people.

One survey asked 127 students if they thought free products seemed more feminine, masculine, or neither. The majority of the participants—including women—said these products seemed more feminine.

The study also picked the brains of another 194 students via a quiz. The quiz asked students to imagine a shopper carrying a reusable bag and another shopper carrying a plastic bag.

The quiz asked participants which shopper seemed more eco-friendly, masculine, or feminine. The green bag toting shopper came off as feminine and eco-friendly. The plastic bag carrier seemed more masculine and less eco-friendly.

The researchers also discovered that when given the choice between green batteries and regular batteries, men bought the regular ones, and men also tended to respond better to environmental companies that use a more masculine logo.

“Stereotypical feminine behavior and attitudes are more in parallel with taking care of the environment,” Wilkie says of the findings.

“Male traits tend to conflict with this idea of maintaining a nice environment for other people.”

He also cites that historically, data has shown that men tend to feel like they will be perceived as weak, etc. if they drink, eat, etc. “girly” things.

Come on, guys. You’re better than this! Man up for the Earth already.

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Image of man via Shutterstock

Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy! Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.