J500 Media and the Environment


The Struggle of the Eco-Man by brennad87

My roommate’s voice was loud through our shared wall.

“I’m just not sure,” she lamented. “I mean… get this, he drives a Smart Car.”

Her friend laughed.

“He what?”

“I know… and not just that, he calls it Smart Car… like ‘I’m gonna go get Smart Car’, like it’s a name or something.”

Eco-Man has his work cut out for him in fighting our cultural stereotypes.

Eco-Man has his work cut out for him in fighting our cultural stereotypes.

They continued discussing the goods and bads of Brad, but I pondered their comment. Brad’s environmental consciousness apparently compromised his masculinity. Did his green car made him undateable?

Girls like me can look cool with our canvas bags. Apparently, it is harder for men. As one blogger lamented in “Masculinity-friendly environmentalism, please!” his reusable shopping bag compromised his macho image. To test if other men felt the same, I conducted an informal survey of classmates. Of ten boys polled, 40% would feel their masculinity judged if they drove a Smart Car. Sixty percent would feel judged while carrying a canvas bag.

Can a man be a man AND environmentally conscious?

Can a man be a man AND environmentally conscious?

In our culture, advertising denotes real men as those who eat burgers and drive hummers. Environmentalists struggle against this image. As Holly Brubach wrote in the New York Times: “Vegetarianism may occupy the moral high ground, but among men it’s regarded as, if not a girl thing, then at least a girlie thing — an anemic regimen for sensitive souls subsisting on rabbit food and tofurkey.” Vegetarian women outnumber men by 2:1.

Gender stereotypes are a cultural barrier thwarting environmentalism. But what the mass public doesn’t know is that that real men eat locally grown rutabagas.

— images from http://www.acclaimimages.com and http://www.dpchallenge.com

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I think Smart Cars and canvas shopping bags are sexy. Then again, I’m a guy, and I’m interested in girls. If 40% of guys think their masculinity would be judged if they drove a Smart Car, I say they need to rethink their image of masculinity. Maybe they just need some creative advertising, like in that PETA ad.

Comment by justinl7

Aw, Justin! I didn’t see the PETA ad, for some reason the link was off. But as far as organizations go, I would say PETA is pretty stellar on linking environmentalism and sexuality!

Comment by brennad87

ha ha, yeah. I don’t know what happened! Here’s a better link to that ad. Apparently, even PETA’s website is a little unstable…

Comment by justinl7




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