Gender, Sexualtity and Recycling
Gender, Sexuality and Recycling
A recent study asked people to guess someone’s sexual orientation based on how well they take care of the Earth.
"Janet K. Swim has focused a lot of her research on human behavior, especially as it relates to the environment, but she didn’t home in much on the influence of gender — at least not until one Christmas several years ago when she gave a quirky kitchen hand towel to an older male friend who was head of his retirement community’s recycling committee. The towel bore the words “I’m made out of recycled material!” — she knew how hard the man had been working to get his neighbors to recycle, and she thought he would love it. He didn’t....
"That prompted her to start thinking about environmental actions, and whether people view them as masculine or feminine, or even gay or straight. Swim, professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University, has focused some of her research in previous years on how people think about climate change and — most recently — how gender plays into that. In one study, she found that men tend to argue about the science and business dimensions of climate change, while women lean toward discussing climate change ethics and policy.
"Her most recent study found that people tend to see all pro-environmental behaviors as more feminine than masculine, mostly because people usually see women as being more nurturing, she said. This fact generally wouldn’t deter a man from buying an energy-efficient lightbulb or caulking the windows in his home. But it might prevent him from going vegetarian or buying green cleaning products, two measures that are regarded as particularly feminine."