We know that toxic masculinity is slowly destroying our political system, but recent studies suggest it’s also wrecking the environment.
According to new research from the Penn State, anxiety about others questioning our sexual orientation can play a role in whether or not an individual will engage in pro-environmentalist behaviors such as recycling or using a reusable shopping bag.
Additionally, the research notes how specific types of pro-environmental behavior often aligns with either masculine or feminine stereotypes. The authors “found men and women were more likely to question a man’s sexual orientation if he engaged in ‘feminine’ pro-environmental behaviors” and vice versa.
During the studies that informed the research paper, participants read fictional summaries of a person’s daily schedule, which included either feminine, masculine, or neutral pro-environmental behaviors. After reading the summaries, the participants then rated whether the person had masculine or feminine traits and guessed that the person’s sexual orientation might be.
The researchers discovered that “if being seen as heterosexual is important to a person, that person may prioritize gender-conforming over gender-nonconforming pro-environmental behaviors in anticipation of how others might see them.”
Basically, if you’re a guy, and you’re worried that stopping to pick up trash on the street might code you as “gay” — you might stop picking up trash. If you’re a woman, and you’re worried that installing a composting toilet in your home might make people think you’re a lesbian — you might not.
Dear straight men: if you think unnecessary plastic is what makes you straight, you’re doing it wrong.
— 💧Katherine of Tarragon (@katticus28) August 5, 2019
“Environmentalism is gay” is pretty much what we should’ve guessed was how the world would end https://t.co/fztqYdhewf— Rocketpilot (@ABillionSuns) August 5, 2019
The study poses some interesting questions, such as how can we combat gender stereotypes and encourage everyone to participate in pro-environmental behaviors.
It also provided Twitter with the opportunity to make fun of folks whose sense of self is so fragile that they will refuse to recycle in order to appear more heterosexual.
Some came up with helpful ways to make grocery bags more masculine, for the shopper who can’t bear taking his protein powder home in a canvas tote for fear of being perceived as gay.
“Just put the word… ‘tactical’ in front of it, and they will do it. Tactical grocery preparedness sack’
Just put the word…”tactical” in front of it, and they will do it.
“Tactical grocery preparedness sack”
— 🌺Iquey🐜 (@Iquey) August 5, 2019
Maybe if we make the reusable bags camo??
— carol (@venmo4feet) August 5, 2019
There were heartwarming coming out stories.
This is what made me gay. I used a reusable shopping bag once and suddenly all these dicks were in my mouth. This really is a scourge on masculinity!
— Feral Hogs Out of Context 🏳️🌈🙄 (@SJGrunewald) August 5, 2019
Delightful dunks on gun nuts and boomers.
Are these the same men that carry assault rifles while grocery shopping
— Oldrik Jansen (@OldrikJansen) August 5, 2019
— Boomer Porn (@boomerprn) August 5, 2019
at an old workplace a rumour went around that i was gay because i used an umbrella when it was raining. never underestimate what certain straight dudes will perceive as gay behaviourhttps://t.co/5WuckmUKJZ— Shaun (@shaun_jen) August 5, 2019
fellas, is it gay to save humanity?? when you get down to it, you'll be rescuing a bunch of dudes https://t.co/JQS6zWs7iZ— Nate Bethea (@inthesedeserts) August 5, 2019
And then someone had to go and remind us that there are grown men who refuse to wipe their butts after taking a sh—t because it’s gay. I didn’t know this until today, and I’m sorry that now you will also bear the burden of this knowledge.
Hey, remember when we all found out that there are grown men who won’t wipe because they think it’s gay? pic.twitter.com/rE6MXyid7v
— ⛈️ Schindler (@pluckylump) August 5, 2019
To make a long story short, please recycle! And wipe your ass!