A recent report sheds light on men’s reticence to care for the environment. According to the study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, most men avoid being eco-friendly because they regard the behavior as “feminine”.
Researchers sifted through seven studies that involved over 2 thousand participants and discovered that both men and women associated preserving the environment with “being feminine”, something which confirms male perception towards embracing environmentally-conscious behaviors.
James Wilkie, a consumer psychologist from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and one of the authors of the report, claims that men are as concerned with maintaining their masculine identity as women are with their feminine identity.
“We, therefore, thought that men might be more open to environmental products if we made them feel secure in their masculinity, so they are less threatened by adopting a green product.” States Wilkie.
As part of the study, Wilkie and his team of researchers monitored several men and women’s shopping behaviors when it came to eco-friendly products to determine the limits of the “green-feminine stereotype”.
Previous studies revealed that men use more energy than women which, in turn, prompted them to recycle less and litter more. While the reasons behind this behavior were unclear in the past, recent findings point to men’s fear of having their manliness undermined.
Researchers pointed out to one experiment in which they asked men and women to describe an individual who brought a reusable canvas bag to a grocery store. Both sexes admitted that the individual would appear more feminine than someone who used a plastic bag, regardless if that shopper was a male or female.
Another experiment saw participants describe how they felt after they did something good or bad for the environment. Being eco-friendly was, again, perceived by the participants to be a feminine behavior.
Researchers suggest that future eco-friendly products be re-branded to cater to men’s self-image. They also stress the fact that man are not inherently ignorant towards preserving the environment but rather they fear their eco-friendly behaviors will brand them as feminine.
Image Source: Geograph.Ie
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