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Fri Dec 29, 2017, 10:30 AM

Men Resist Green Behavior as Un-Manly [View all]

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/men-resist-green-behavior-as-un-manly/

The research, conducted with three other colleagues, consisted of seven experiments involving more than 2,000 American and Chinese participants. We showed that there is a psychological link between eco-friendliness and perceptions of femininity. Due to this “green-feminine stereotype,” both men and women judged eco-friendly products, behaviors, and consumers as more feminine than their non-green counterparts. In one experiment, participants of both sexes described an individual who brought a reusable canvas bag to the grocery store as more feminine than someone who used a plastic bag—regardless of whether the shopper was a male or female. In another experiment, participants perceived themselves to be more feminine after recalling a time when they did something good versus bad for the environment.

Men may eschew green products and behaviors to avoid feeling feminine. In one study, we threatened the masculinity of male participants by showing them a pink gift card with a floral design and asking them to imagine using the card to purchase three products (lamp, backpack, and batteries). Compared to men shown a standard gift card, threatened men were more likely to choose the non-green rather than green version of each item. The idea that emasculated men try to reassert their masculinity through non-environmentally-friendly choices suggests that in addition to littering, wasting water, or using too much electricity, one could harm the environment merely by making men feel feminine.

Ironically, although men are often considered to be less sensitive than women, they seem to be particularly sensitive when it comes to perceptions of their gender identity. In fact, a previous study suggests that men find it to be more difficult than women to choose between masculine and feminine versions of everyday food and household items and will usually change their preferences to be more manly when allowed time to think about their decisions. Something as simple as holding a purse, ordering a colorful drink, or talking in a high voice can lead to social harm, so men tend to keep a sharp eye out for any of these potential snares.

So what can pro-environmental marketers do to buffer against the threat posed to men by the green-feminine stereotype? First, eco-friendly marketing messages and materials can be designed to affirm men’s masculinity and give them the confidence to overcome their fear of being judged as feminine when engaging in green behaviors. For example, in one experiment, men who received feedback affirming their masculinity were more interested in purchasing an eco-friendly version of a cleaning product. Men who feel secure in their manhood are more comfortable going green.


Patriarchy hurts everyone.

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