Dr. Helen

Is Your Manliness Hurting the Planet?

Great. In yet another men/bad, women/good article, this is the headline at the Washington Post for a piece on greenness and gender:

Researchers have known for decades that women tend to beat men on environmental metrics. They generally use less fuel and energy. They eat less meat. They’re more concerned about climate change.

James Wilkie, a business professor at the University of Notre Dame, wanted to understand what drives this gender eco-friendliness gap. After years of exploring psychological bias, he and his colleagues developed a theory.

“Men’s resistance may stem in part from a prevalent association between the concepts of greenness and femininity and a corresponding stereotype (held by both men and women) that green consumers are feminine,” they assert this month in the Journal of Consumer Research. “As a result of this stereotype, men may be motivated to avoid or even oppose green behaviors in order to safeguard their gender identity.”

Let’s see if we can rectify this. If men stop using so much fuel and energy helping women, maybe we could save the planet. If men stop eating meat like women, they could develop anemia and protein deficiencies and maybe they would finally start seeing a doctor and use up more healthcare resources, making it harder for everyone, including women, to get an appointment. Finally, if men become more concerned about climate change, they could shake their finger at any female they see who is not doing her part to help. In addition, they could get more leisure time since they would not be catering to women.

If a woman wants a ride in your car, tell her to use public transportation. After all, it could hurt the planet if you have to make extra trips. If she wants you to help with chores, tell her to go plant a tree to save the planet. If she is cold and wants to turn up the thermostat, tell her to get a blanket — her comfort is no match for politics. Well, you get the idea.