Is there anything toxic masculinity can't do? Protect the ozone, apparently.
New research has found that one of the deterrents for going green among men is the fear of their sexual orientation coming under question, according to the journal Sex Roles.
Researchers found in a previous 2016 study that environmental consciousness fell into perceived ideas of masculinity and femininity, with eco-friendly behavior widely perceived as feminine. In this new study, 960 participants were asked to evaluate whether fictional characters felt "feminine" or "masculine," based on several environmentally friendly activities such as paying bills online, turning off the air conditioner, caulking windows, recycling, or using reusable shopping bags. Participants were then made to give their impression based on a 10-point scale from heterosexual to homosexual. Kinsey is shaking!
Participants who learned that a male fictional character exhibited behaviors associated with women said that they were "uncertain of his heterosexual identity," the researchers write. In the example of the reusable shopping bag or recycling, men across the board deemed it as "feminine." Therefore, those "perceived as being more likely to have positive feminine than positive masculine traits" were not associated with manliness.
Professor Janet K. Swim at Pennsylvania State University who led the research determined that some men might be put off behaving in a more eco-friendly manner because of these stereotypes.
The research suggested that if being seen as heterosexual is important to them, men will opt out of gender nonconforming behaviors, with a stigma by that association. A latter part of the study showed that "men were most likely to socially distance themselves" from gender nonconforming behavior -- a social consequence to the construct of gender at large.
"People may avoid certain behaviors because they are managing the gendered impression they anticipate others will have of them," Swim said.