boys will be boys

Toxic masculinity is probably destroying the planet.

A recent article in Scientific American shed light on why some men aren’t embracing eco-friendly behaviors. It may have less to do with what they think about the environment, and more to do with gender roles.

After conducting a series of studies with more than 2,000 participants in the U.S. and China, researchers found a cognitive link between greenness and femininity. Basically, eco-friendly behaviors like shopping with a reusable grocery bag are perceived as more feminine, so men are less inclined to do them.

This could be part of the reason why women have done more to reduce waste and curb global carbon emissions than men.

So is eco-friendly behavior just not macho enough? To get guys to go green, the researchers suggest using “men-vironmentally-friendly” (*shudder*) marketing with “more masculine fonts, colors, words, and images.”

Or we could, you know, choose to redefine what it means to “be a man.” After all, some of the impulses deemed “masculine” — like exerting power over others — are also behind the exploitation of women’s bodies and the earth’s resources. If gender roles are toxic for people and the planet, it’s time to rethink them.