The findings of a new study on men's and women's eco-friendly habits suggest "toxic masculinity" takes on an astonishingly literal meaning when it comes to men's impact on the environment.
After a series of seven different investigations, University of Notre Dame business professor James Wilkie and his colleagues found "the concepts of greenness and femininity are cognitively linked," according to an abstract in the Journal of Consumer Research. That means many men — in deference to their "macho image" — will actively avoid green products and practices.
"Stereotypical feminine behavior and attitudes are more in parallel with taking care of the environment," Wilkie told the Washington Post. "Male traits tend to conflict with this idea of maintaining a nice environment for other people."
It's not just men who see caring for the environment as a gendered practice. According to the Post, an initial survey of 127 students showed that the majority of both men and women identified green products as feminine.
In a second survey, a majority of the 194 students identified a shopper with a reusable shopping bag as more "eco-friendly" and "feminine" while a shopper who had a standard plastic bag appeared to them more "wasteful" and "masculine."
Wilkie told the Post it's helpful to note that men are often punished for adopting traditionally feminine habits or behaviors, which causes them to hold masculinity more precious.
Who knew smashing gender stereotypes could be the key to saving the world from a literal garbage fire?