A new study shows that one of the reasons why women tend to be more environmentally sensitive and active than men is that men perceive that doing so is gay and makes them look gay. Seriously, my gender is that pathetic, that insecure about protecting their precious manhood when they think other men might question it.
New research points to another, more surprising disincentive for going green: the fear that others might question our sexual orientation.
As a 2016 study confirmed, environmentalism is widely perceived as feminine behavior. Even today, caring and nurturing behavior is associated with women—and that includes taking steps to sustain the environment.But as this new paper points out, specific types of pro-environment behavior can align with either masculine or feminine stereotypes. It also reports that engaging in the “wrong” type of environmentalism can lead people to wonder about your sexuality, and perhaps even avoid socializing with you.
“Behaviors don’t just help us accomplish something concrete; they also signal something about who we are,” lead author Janet Swim, a Pennsylvania State University psychologist, said in announcing the findings. “Line-drying clothes, or keeping tires at proper pressures, may signal that we care about the environment, but if those green behaviors are gendered, they may signal other things as well.”
I am so glad I was raised mostly without such an absurd macho complex. I remember in high school when my best friend had to be excused from gym class one day because they had dress rehearsal for the school play and the gym coach, who was also Mr. Super Christian, told him that acting was gay. I bet he loved Sylvester Stalone movies though.