Filed under: Cars + Transport, Nature + Travel, Society + Media | Tags: canvas bag, eco man, environment, environmentalism, masculinity, meat, Smart Car, vegetarianism
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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