By Matt Rogan
What Is It?
The Eco Gender Gap is the disparity between the ethical choices made by men and women. The three most important green issues to the British general public are, climate change, animal welfare and plastic pollution.
Yet in 2020, studies have shown that ‘71% of women try to live more ethically compared to 59% of men’.
Women are usually the marginalised sex in social gender gaps, especially in pay, politics and education, and environmental contribution is no exception. Women are doing more, men are doing less and both are being equally affected.
Why Does It Exist?
Childhood conditioning could be one reason behind our differing attitudes. We have been brought up to allocate feelings to genders. Emotions have been weaponised and sensitivity in particular has been feminised.
There is a fear of being feminine attached to being conscientious because men think that it is a female trait and therefore undermines their masculinity. Where masculinity and femininity were once seen as binary concepts, nowadays it is much more socially acceptable to embrace both sides of the spectrum.
In addition to this, the ethical living discourse has been predominantly led by women. These prominent eco-trailblazers (including Greta Thunberg and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) are met in opposition to affluent conservative white men. In a world where men are disproportionately represented and revered in corporate settings, toxic masculinity has been allowed to intensify.
Toxic masculinity is a damaging mentality that correlates traditional masculinity as the ‘correct’ mode of masculinity. It is a heightened display of manhood at the expense of the greater good. It is still prevalent and poisonous to the ethical living movement.
Some marketing campaigns already feel the need to colour-code products in darker hues as though it would attract its testosterone-charged clientele.
Everyday ethical changes to waste or diet are seen as domestic adjustments and therefore (wrongly) for the attention of the woman. These regressive connotations of ethical living being exclusively catered towards a specific sex or sexuality is vapid.
The idea that men are these caricatures of instinctive, carnivorous cavemen only places pressure on women to be more progressive than their Stone Age counterpart.
How Can We Help?
We need to reverse this harmful gender stereotyping and pigeonholing of a global catastrophe. Ethical living is neither easier or more beneficial to any demographic, it is a human issue that needs to be addressed as such. The future of our planet affects the future of us all.
Firstly, stop designating a gender to ethics. Supporting and advocating for feminism isn’t feminine. Supporting female-led businesses isn’t feminine. Supporting a gender neutral product isn’t feminine. As a society, we have an unhealthy fascination with labels that are inevitably ranked by their societal degree of degradation.
Brands have learnt that women are their ideal audience for ethical living products, but this marketing inclination towards women has affected the appeal for men. If you do some independent research, you will soon come to realise that there is a lack of male-orientated sustainable products.
If there is no profitable opportunity, then it’ll be cast aside, regardless of its potentially positive impact. However, if men were to become more involved in reducing their eco footprint, then there will be an influx in products and businesses in support of the green revolution.
If the hyper masculine man is (expected to be) strong, stoic and simple-minded, then the modern man rejects this dated ideal. The modern man is socially conscious, chivalrous and comfortable in both his ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ qualities. Thankfully, the modern man is becoming more open minded about supporting a greener lifestyle. His skincare and style has to be of progressive substance.
With Father’s Day coming up, a subtle push in the right direction could prove to be a long-lasting solution (for them and the environment). One of our favourite unisex sustainable skincare brands is Evolve Organic Beauty. They offer unisex, vegan, cruelty free and eco-friendly products with no frills or fads. If we start implementing the idea that, regardless of packaging, the product is the same, we could perhaps spare everyone from extinction and men the ‘humiliation’ attached to ethical living.
KeiSei’s stance is that ethical living should never compromise on our integrity. But without fairly distributing the workload, we are compromising on equality.