Right now, on this day, in this week, in this year, what is the biggest threat to our planet? Barely worn clothes dumped in landfill? (Yes, but for the purposes of this piece, no.) Plastic in the sea? (Again, yes, but no.) The President of the USA? (We’re getting warmer.) OK – I’ll tell you. According to a recent report, the biggest threat to our Mother Earth are men who refuse to be eco-friendly for fear that it will make them less manly.
Yes, I’m being serious.
A study carried out by Scientific American says that “men may shun eco-friendly behaviour because of what it conveys about their masculinity.” It states that men “tend to want to feel macho, and they worry that eco-friendly behaviours might brand them as feminine”.
The comprehensive study carried out between three US colleges, and involving more than 2,000 people, deducted that there is a psychological link between eco-friendliness and femininity. It discovered that people who took a reusable carrier bag shopping with them were considered more feminine than those who used a plastic bag. And that people regarded themselves as more feminine after thinking about a time that they did something environmentally friendly. In another experiment it revealed that when given a pink gift card, men were less likely to buy eco products than if they were given a non-pink gift card. Conclusion: eco-friendliness = feminine and for men, feminine = bad. In fact, feminine = so bad that men would rather shit all over planet than be regarded as such.
So what do we do about all of this? The report advises that eco-friendly brands should work a little harder at making their products feel suitably macho; “green products and organisations can be marketed as more “Men”-vironmentally-friendly, with more masculine fonts, colours, words and images…”. It uses the somewhat hilarious example that men were more likely to donate to an organisation called “Wilderness Rangers” than they were “Friends of Nature”. “Make the man feel manly, and he’s more likely to go green”, is the depressing conclusion.
Actually, I don’t know which part of this is more depressing; the fact that some blokes still – STILL – find the thought of being associated with anything remotely girly abhorrent (looking at you Lewis Hamilton). Or the fact that even when we know our planet is facing a massive waste problem and that our seas are full of plastic and that our streets have nearly three times the amount of pollution that they should, toxic masculinity is getting in the way of doing anything about it.
My advice? Get a grip. And quickly. Otherwise there will be no planet to be macho on.