Study Finds: Men Are Reluctant to Recycle For Fear of Appearing 'Gay'

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Scientists say measures to save the environment are often seen as typically ‘feminine’ things to do...toxic masculinity

The Independent UK - August 7, 2019

Some men may choose not to recycle or buy reusable cotton bags because they are worried people will think they are gay, a new study claims. 

Scientists suggested looking after the planet was seen as a typically "feminine" thing to do which fits in with a woman’s traditional role of being a caregiver.   

This perception may hold men back from doing things such as buying a keep cup or turning off the air conditioning that could ultimately help the environment, according to the study published in Sex Roles

Janet K Swim, professor of psychology at Penn State University, said: “There may be subtle, gender-related consequences when we engage in various pro-environmental behaviours.

“People may avoid certain behaviours because they are managing the gendered impression they anticipate others will have of them. Or they may be avoided if the behaviours they choose do not match their gender.”

In three studies that involved 960 participants, researchers looked at the perception of men and women engaging in “feminine” and “masculine” behaviours. During the first two studies, participants read a fictional summary of what someone did that day which included typically male or female pro-environmental behaviours. 

They then rated on a 10 point scale whether the person had masculine or feminine traits and guessed their sexual orientation. The results suggested that when people did activities that conformed to their gender they were seen as more heterosexual than those whose behaviours did not conform to their gender.

This suggests participants believe traditional gender roles could give clues about someone’s sexuality. ...
Read full report at The Independent 

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