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STUDY: ‘Toxic Masculinity’ May Be The Reason For ‘Climate Change’ – Research delves into ‘Green-Feminine Stereotype’ & ‘Gender incongruence’

Here we go again! Men are being blamed for ‘climate change again’. Also see: ‘White People’ blamed for causing Cyclone Idai in Africa – ‘Even the white man’s own science corroborates what we blacks know’

Flashback 2005: Men Warm Globe, Women Feel the Heat, Group Claims – The solution?! ‘Climate gender justice’

Climate activist: ‘Non-white, non-men climate experts’ sought for TV & radio


What If “Toxic Masculinity” Is The Reason For Climate Change?

By Carolyn Centeno Milton

When a person walks out of the grocery store holding an eco-friendly canvas bag instead of a plastic bag, what gender do you think they are? Most likely, your unconscious bias answers that they are female. This is the type of answer Dr. Aaron Brough of Utah State University is trying to get to the bottom of through his research.

Brough co-authored a paper with professors from four other universities to understand how gender norms affect sustainable decision making. They report data from seven experiments that included over 2,000 participants from the US and China. What they found was remarkable.

They found that both men and women associated doing something good for the environment with being “more feminine.” And when men’s gender identity was threatened, they tried to reassert their masculinity through environmentally damaging choices. The report states that “men may be motivated to avoid or even oppose green behaviors in order to safeguard their gender identity.” This unearths a deeply held unconscious bias that Brough and team call the “Green-Feminine Stereotype.” Once this unconscious bias is revealed, it has the potential to help society shift our increasingly precarious relationship with the environment for the better. If it remains hidden, it has the potential to greatly damage our environment permanently.

In one of Brough and the team’s experiments, both men and women were asked to recall a time when they did something good or bad for the environment. Those who recalled having done something good for the environment rated themselves as more “feminine” than those who recalled having done something bad to the environment. One might expect this type of gender stereotyping around green behavior to happen only when someone is concerned about how they appear to others. But even upon self-evaluation judged themselves feminine when acting responsibly towards the environment. This experiment shows how deeply held this bias is.

Another experiment took the idea further and applied the concept of the “Green-Feminine Stereotype” to product and brand selection. Male participants were exposed to one of two Walmart gift cards—one that used more comically feminine design elements like pink and floral selected to threaten masculine stereotypes or another gift card that was designed to not threaten masculinity. The men were then asked to make a series of choices between green and non-green products to purchase. Men who were shown the “gender threat” gift card chose more non-green products than men shown the other gift card. That means that when men felt emasculated, they asserted their masculinity and safeguarded their gender by making choices that would ultimately harm the environment.

To take this concept further, the group worked with BMW in China to test two print ads of the same car. The only difference between the ads was that the word eco-friendly was replaced in one ad with a more masculine Chinese word for protection.  What they found was that men evaluated the protection option more positively than the eco-friendly option even though it was the same car. Which begs the question, do brands need to pander to unconscious bias and affirm masculinity or use stereotypically masculine elements to positively move the needle in environmental impact?

It seems regressive to do so. With so many brands launching with a female-only audience due to lack of representation in products and market understanding, it seems like a perfect time to rebrand eco-friendly’s association with femininity as a positive thing. And men’s affiliation with positive environmental steps as a human-affirming truth that shifts us from negative and segregated gender identities into our roles as humans on this planet.

The more interesting opportunity seems to be in exposing the toxicity present within the unconscious bias that acting green is a feminine and therefore weaker or negative thing. Exposing the fact that our society creates a toxic hierarchy around femininity as a lesser thing. Brough himself cited gender research around “gender incongruence” and the great penalties that men (and women) face when they don’t fit stereotypical gender norms. Research suggests that men experience greater psychological damage or face harsher consequences when associated with feminine qualities. As a society, we are beginning to address these problems with corporate unconscious bias training, exposure, and conversation. But when it comes to our environment, our toxic masculinity is greatly affecting our shared environment for the worse.

Brough sums it up nicely, “We need to overcome our unhealthy judgments of gender incongruence. And men need to be confident in their self-identity and decide to live a sustainable lifestyle without caring what other people think.” Let’s begin the conversation to start overriding our natural judgments. Our future depends on it.

Interview with Dr. Aaron Brough of Utah State University

All research and insights are from Dr. Aaron Brough and team’s paper

I am a Strategy Director and Founder of The We Age. The We Age hosts conversations and workshops focused on becoming limitless in work & in life, individually & …


Mark Steyn reacts to study:

Via Daily Caller:

In an interview with Tucker Carlson, Steyn discussed a new study from Dr. Aaron Brough of Utah State University that concluded that behavior attempting to reverse climate change is a mostly feminine trait, and that men don’t engage in such behaviors as often because of some responsibility to their sense of self.

“Well, I confess I was at first skeptical,” Steyn said. “If I understand this thesis, my insecurities about my masculinity are causing rising sea levels in the Maldives. And at first I didn’t really buy that, but as I think about it, I think in fact it’s actually one of the least visible climate science thesis of recent years. I’m kind of on board with where they are going on this.” (RELATED: Not Enough Dems Showed Up At This Climate Hearing So Republicans Pulled This Power Move)

“I think, in fact, it’s very difficult to tell, with social science as with climate science, whether or not it’s an ingenious parody,” Steyn continued. “It’s almost impossible to tell, in fact, I think this goes back to, — I think the important point here is toxic masculinity. They are saying that they did a survey here. This is the kind of hardcore science behind it in which they gave someone a Walmart gift card and it was pink and had lots of flowery printed on it, looked a bit girlie and sissy and milquetoast pantywaist.”

“The guy giving this gift card went out and bought very macho masculine things that melt the polar ice caps. If you give him something, he is so impressionable—this toxic masculine male—if you give him a masculine-type card, he thinks, ‘Oh, that’s really nice,’ and he goes out and buys a Sierra Club tote bag and saves the planet. This is the kind of social science that the higher education institutions of America are spending a fortune investigating.”