Is Eco-Friendly Unmanly? The Green-Feminine Stereotype and Its Effect on Sustainable Consumption

Citation:

Brough, Aaron R., James E. B. Wilkie, Jingjing Ma, Mathew S. Isaac, and David Gal. 2016. “Is Eco-Friendly Unmanly? The Green-Feminine Stereotype and Its Effect on Sustainable Consumption.” Journal of Consumer Research 43 (4): 567–82.

Authors: Aaron R. Brough, James E. B. Wilkie, Jingjing Ma, Mathew S. Isaac, David Gal

Abstract:

Why are men less likely than women to embrace environmentally friendly products and behaviors? Whereas prior research attributes this gender gap in sustainable consumption to personality differences between the sexes, we propose that it may also partially stem from a prevalent association between green behavior and femininity, and a corresponding stereotype (held by both men and women) that green consumers are more feminine. Building on prior findings that men tend to be more concerned than women with gender-identity maintenance, we argue that this green-feminine stereotype may motivate men to avoid green behaviors in order to preserve a macho image. A series of seven studies provides evidence that the con- cepts of greenness and femininity are cognitively linked and shows that, accordingly, consumers who engage in green behaviors are stereotyped by others as more feminine and even perceive themselves as more feminine. Further, men’s willingness to engage in green behaviors can be influenced by threatening or affirming their masculinity, as well as by using masculine rather than conventional green branding. Together, these findings bridge literatures on identity and environmental sustainabil- ity and introduce the notion that due to the green-feminine stereotype, gender-identity maintenance can influence men’s likelihood of adopting green behaviors.

Keywords: gender identity maintenance, green marketing, environmental sustainability, stereotypes, motivated consumption

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies

Year: 2016

© 2019 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.