New Republic - August 28, 2019
"Climate science, for skeptics, becomes feminized—or viewed as “oppositional to assumed entitlements of masculine primacy.”
... The connection has to do with a sense of group identity under threat, Hultman told me—an identity they perceive to be under threat from all sides. Besieged, as they see it, both by developing gender equality—Hultman pointed specifically to the shock some men felt at the #MeToo movement—and now climate activism’s challenge to their way of life, male reactionaries motivated by right-wing nationalism, anti-feminism, and climate denialism increasingly overlap, the three reactions feeding off of one another.
“There is a package of values and behaviors connected to a form of masculinity that I call ‘industrial breadwinner masculinity.’ They see the world as separated between humans and nature. They believe humans are obliged to use nature and its resources to make products out of them. And they have a risk perception that nature will tolerate all types of waste. It’s a risk perception that doesn’t think of nature as vulnerable and as something that is possible to be destroyed. For them, economic growth is more important than the environment” Hultman told Deutsche Welle last year.
The corollary to this is that climate science, for skeptics, becomes feminized—or viewed as “oppositional to assumed entitlements of masculine primacy,” Hultman and fellow researcher Paul Pulé wrote in another paper.
These findings align with similar ones in the United States, where there is a massive gender gap in views on climate change, and many men perceive climate activism as inherently feminine, according to research published in 2017. “In one experiment, participants of both sexes described an individual who brought a reusable canvas bag to the grocery store as more feminine than someone who used a plastic bag—regardless of whether the shopper was a male or female,” marketing professors Aaron R. Brough and James E.B. Wilkie explained at Scientific American. “In another experiment, participants perceived themselves to be more feminine after recalling a time when they did something good versus bad for the environment,” they write.
In the past year, young women such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the U.S. and Thunberg in Europe have become the global faces of climate activism, often with tremendous political impact. In the United States, Ocasio-Cortez has helped transform what was once considered a bit of fringe rhetoric—the Green New Deal—into a topic of regular conversation. Across the Atlantic Ocean, in a recent poll, one out of three Germans said that Thunberg has changed their views on climate change. ...
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