Which is more fragile? environment vs masculinity
January 6, 2018 4:25 AM   Subscribe

Scientific American says: Men resist green behaviour as unmanly. Naomi Chainey responds.

The article is titled "Fragile Masculinity is harming the Planet."
Scientific American even suggests that "in addition to littering, wasting water, or using too much electricity, one could harm the environment merely by making men feel feminine".
Yes! Remove responsibility from men and place it squarely on those apparently responsible for wrangling them –– women! So ladies, don't mix him a Cosmo or ask him to buy tampons, you may be putting rainforests at risk!
In response to the call to 're-brand' environmental causes to make them more manly:
It's an idea, but here's another: work on dismantling the absurd fear men hold for the feminine. Because it is absurd. What on earth has men so terrified of being perceived as womanly that avoiding the colour pink takes priority over the impending destruction of ecosystems? It's entirely ludicrous, yet here we are, seriously discussing catering colour schemes to male insecurities in order to get men to take the air we breathe, the land we grow our food on and the oceans that might swallow us, seriously.
(Note: article is in a Fairfax publication, which may limit how many articles you can read, especially from non-Australian IPs.)
posted by freethefeet (80 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 
100%, yes. Toxic masculinity is literally toxic to the air and water we breathe. Fragile masculinity is literally making our ecosystem unsustainably fragile.

It's entirely ludicrous, yet here we are, seriously discussing catering colour schemes to male insecurities in order to get men to take the air we breathe, the land we grow our food on and the oceans that might swallow us, seriously.

Only WEAK, EFFEMINATE men insist on drinking their fancy micro-brews from SHINY NEW ALUMINUM cans. REAL MEN drink their Bud Lite from OLD AMERICAN METAL, recycled from a time before LADY SPORTSCASTERS.
posted by duffell at 4:39 AM on January 6 [25 favorites]


Can you even buy a hybrid electric pickup truck though?
posted by oceanjesse at 4:48 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


When will testosterone be reclassified as damaging to pretty much everything?
posted by kinnakeet at 4:48 AM on January 6 [20 favorites]


I thought the Scientific American article to be thought-provoking. I found Chainey’s response regrettably predictable, though.

Maybe in a few more generations, we’ll be able to have a much-needed conversation about toxic masculinity that doesn’t follow the same well-worn ruts that have been carved out for us all.
posted by darkstar at 4:51 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


I for one look forward to testing the limits of my masculinity in our The Road-style future, which will be infinitely preferable to our current society, where I have to suffer the indignity of people - often WOMEN - politely suggesting that I curtail certain behaviours in the name of securing a future for the human race.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:58 AM on January 6 [24 favorites]


> Can you even buy a hybrid electric pickup truck though?

Not now, but soon. If you'd settle for an F-150-sized SUV, there have been a few options on the market for the past several years.
posted by ardgedee at 5:00 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


When will testosterone be reclassified as damaging to pretty much everything?

I guess when we’ve given up any hope of a nuanced understanding, and given ourselves over entirely to reductive and damaging binary stereotypes so ingrained they even extend to hormones.

I’m no science chemicals expert or anything, but I’m pretty sure testosterone is a vital hormone for ladies and gentlemen, and everyone in between. Just like estrogen.

This is why a focus on altering the memes is more helpful than focusing on the genes. It’s culture that needs to have the dents hammered out, not biology.
posted by Construction Concern at 5:08 AM on January 6 [113 favorites]


One thing I've been thinking a lot about recently is the idea that we overuse the language of personal virtue in relation to environmental issues. It feels to me like "being green" is still fundamentally perceived as a personal moral issue, despite the fact that a vanishingly small number of individuals make any individual environmental choices that have any impact beyond the most local level, while the fundamental problems are global in scale.

While I don't deny that (like voting and union solidarity) there is some moral component to taking part in collective action, I wonder if undue focus on virtue in environmentalism distracts us from the reality that only national and international policy will make any real difference to our environmental future.

These articles make me wonder how much the perception of environmentalism being primarily about virtue affects the different responses to it between genders. Given that men engage in all kinds of pointless destruction and violence on a terrifying scale, I do wonder whether the problem men have with environmentalism is the same problem that we seem to have with decency in general.
posted by howfar at 5:18 AM on January 6 [52 favorites]


Maybe in a few more generations, we’ll be able to have a much-needed conversation about toxic masculinity that doesn’t follow the same well-worn ruts that have been carved out for us all.

If we don't get climate change handled this generation, there won't be a few more.
posted by Caduceus at 5:19 AM on January 6 [13 favorites]


I will strive to conserve water by bathing even less frequently.

But, since "greenness" is itself a constructed marketing concept, did the professors of marketing who published this in the Journal of Consumer Research inquire as to whether it's actually been constructed to incorporate femininity or to target women? Unfortunately the journal page is paywalled.

It stood out to me that the anecdotes mentioned in the article mostly seem to revolve around buying something... rather than even just buying vs. not buying, a choice between a "non-green" versus a "green" product. The way the SciAm article is written, unreservedly attributing intention and particular thoughts to the subjects like "[Men] tend to want to feel macho", gives it the appearance of a bad piece of science journalism, but it seems to actually have been written by the researchers themselves.
posted by XMLicious at 5:22 AM on January 6 [9 favorites]


If we don't get climate change handled this generation, there won't be a few more.
I think that’s well intended but wrong in a way which encourages giving up fatalistically: “we’re doomed, why even try?” There will be many more generations, and they’ll hate us for making their lives harder and conflict prone because the earth won’t become uninhabitable like a cheap sci-fi plot but rather with more areas which are not well-suited for agriculture, too hot or dry, etc. and growing refugee crises as people flee to less unsuitable areas. The Syrian conflict seems like the model: the rural areas didn’t turn into some uninhabitable moonscape but a lot of people fled an increasingly bad lot as farmers and that provided the critical mass for a horrible urban conflict. Most countries aren’t starting with a government that bad but it’s going to put stress on every existing tension: religious, racial, political, etc.
posted by adamsc at 5:50 AM on January 6 [27 favorites]


If we don't get climate change handled this generation, there won't be a few more.

But that's the next generation's problem, right?
posted by Fizz at 5:51 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


I think "fragile masculinity" is a problem of insecure, lazy men whose only contact with nature or action is watching sports on TV while sitting on their fat asses. or shooting animals they do not eat with big guns. My husband and especially my sons, all "manly men" of various sorts who engage in many individual sports, Karate, surfing, mountain climbing, biking, for my sons and running for my husband, are all very concerned about the environment, climate change, and protecting the natural environment. One of my sons is an environmental activist fighting a pipeline, and he does not at all worry that makes him "feminine".

Toxic masculinity is the problem, and patriarchy, not all men. Some very "feminine" women (see the Trump family and supporters) are also climate change deniers and a detriment to the environment.
posted by mermayd at 6:06 AM on January 6 [14 favorites]


mermayd: I think a key aspect many older people miss has been the great ideological purge which the Republican Party went through over the last decade, which made opposition to specific people the only test which mattered, with environmentalists near the top of the enemy list.

We live in DC and a coworker’s spouse is a Republican lobbyist who had previously worked on environmental causes. He’s remarked on how even in the 2000s you could get western members of Congress on board for a lot of conservation causes because the fishing & hunting groups also valued clean rivers and healthy forests, and at some point when the tea party was moving from astroturf to a real movement it became political suicide to join on something like that even if a majority of your constituents supported it.
posted by adamsc at 6:21 AM on January 6 [23 favorites]


“Masculinity” as a pursuit needs to die in a fire. I camp, I woodwork, I ran Romex and Ethernet all over my house. I own hella plaid and can build a fire and use bay rum-scented beard oil and I will bore you to tears declaring that masculinity as a goal in and of itself is every bit as destructive as patriotism. It never stays a moderate virtue.

Because I also sew. I bake like a goddamn avatar of Betty Crocker. I wept during a George Saunders audiobook at lunch the other day. It took me years to get comfortable with these things, because of masculinity-as-concern. How utterly unsurprising that it’s killing the planet, when we already know that it’s oppressing women and LGBTQs and grinding the hearts of its very adherents to dust.

Masculinity is cosplay. Cosplay in which my fellow men are too fuckin’ lazy to accurately research what they’re cosplaying as. It’s poison, and even worse, it’s stupid poison. Let’s roll that “Roy Moore on a horse” tape one more time.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:30 AM on January 6 [71 favorites]


Can you even buy a hybrid electric pickup truck though?

Tesla are apparently working on an electric pickup truck. No word on whether it'll come with an electromagnetic rail gun rack.
posted by acb at 6:34 AM on January 6 [3 favorites]


Bollinger Motors is taking reservations for an electric truck.
posted by Mister Cheese at 6:44 AM on January 6


WOW those look like they’re going to be crazy stupid expensive but hoo boy do I want one.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:54 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Can you even buy a hybrid electric pickup truck though?

Yes, if by hybrid you mean gas engine plus electric motors (rather than primarily electric). I drove a hybrid Silverado on a project back in the mid/late 2000s, and I just saw one yesterday in a parking lot. They certainly aren't popular; maybe Ford's efforts will do better.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:56 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


"Real Men Don't Eat Quiche." -- title of an 1982 book.
posted by DMelanogaster at 6:57 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


According to the latest research, people are collectively stupid when assessed according to their shopping habits (p=0.01).

In the actual research, it appears that of the three products (batteries, backpack, lamp) only the batteries showed any significant effect when it came to the purchase decision. We can imagine that the choice was between batteries that advertised themselves to be "good for the environment" in an unspecified way, and some other ones that claimed they were "long-lasting" or the like -- something that would not really stand out as unusual or at all meaningful.

So an alternative hypothesis is that having feelings of threatened masculinity makes people more suspicious of dubious marketing claims.
posted by sfenders at 7:04 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


It’s culture that needs to have the dents hammered out, not biology.

Thank you.
posted by Annika Cicada at 7:04 AM on January 6 [21 favorites]


When was the last time you saw a woman throw a fridge in the river?
posted by adept256 at 7:28 AM on January 6 [6 favorites]


I think the problem is gender essentialism. If you believe that you are, ultimately, a Man or a Woman, rather than a human being, and all your experiences are Man Experiences or Woman Experiences, and thus fundamentally incomparable to the experiences of those who aren't Men/Women, that is in itself poor mental hygiene and conducive to all sorts of harmful beliefs.

Next to nobody other than a few Nazis and their equivalents believes that the essential fundamental level of being is being a White person, a Jew, a Hindu or similar, or that, say, Catholic experiences are ineffably, irreducably distinct form Protestant experiences. The same should apply to being male or female, except when it comes to a few areas like going into labour or peeing standing up. Then there can be empathy across gender lines.
posted by acb at 7:34 AM on January 6 [7 favorites]


Hey look everyone in the modern world is assigned cis at birth.

Babies with penisis are not the problem.

The problem is toxic masculinity. Gender essentialism sucks but that’s like, trying boil the ocean. We CAN work on toxic masculinity as its own specific boundaried thing and make progress in 20 years as opposed to waiting 500 years for the cis binary to morph into something else then hoping that fixes toxic masculinity too.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:00 AM on January 6 [19 favorites]


"Real Men Don't Eat Quiche." -- title of an 1982 book.

“You Can Tell I Am Strong Because I Am Terrified of Certain Foods and Colors” — The follow-up that I will probably never write because I am lazy
posted by middleclasstool at 8:04 AM on January 6 [23 favorites]


"Real Men Don't Eat Quiche." -- title of an 1982 book.

"Fuck that shit, quiche is delicious." – me
posted by entropicamericana at 8:21 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


I had a strange conversation with a farmer while researching a climate change article I wrote last year. I pointed out to him that the disruption in rainfall and growing cycles in the Mid South had already begun, and it was only going to get worse with time and make his life a lot harder. Out of nowhere, he said something like "Yeah, but I'm not going to get an electric truck. It won't have enough power for me to use on the farm."

Well wait, I said. Electric motors have a lot more low-end torque than internal combustion engines. That's what you need on on the farm, not top speed. That's why most train locomotives are diesel-electric hybrids.

"Yeah, but diesel is better."

But if an electric truck has more available power, and the electricity it runs on is cheaper than diesel, why not use it? There might be more up front cost, but, being a farmer, you're used to making the most of your equipment investment over time. "Besides, as long as it works, why do you care what powers your truck? Are you just attached to oil?"

And he went "Huh." I don't know if I changed his mind, but I made him think for a second.
posted by vibrotronica at 8:28 AM on January 6 [33 favorites]


I think that’s well intended but wrong in a way which encourages giving up fatalistically: “we’re doomed, why even try?” There will be many more generations, and they’ll hate us for making their lives harder and conflict prone because the earth won’t become uninhabitable like a cheap sci-fi plot but rather with more areas which are not well-suited for agriculture, too hot or dry, etc. and growing refugee crises as people flee to less unsuitable areas. The Syrian conflict seems like the model: the rural areas didn’t turn into some uninhabitable moonscape but a lot of people fled an increasingly bad lot as farmers and that provided the critical mass for a horrible urban conflict. Most countries aren’t starting with a government that bad but it’s going to put stress on every existing tens

I have an exceedingly hard time imagining that that the mass migrations triggered by the effects of climate change, which will make the Syrian refugee crisis look like a drop in the bucket, won’t trigger a nuclear conflict of some sort. I genuinely don’t think there will be any more generations if we don’t get a handle on climate change within the next decade.
posted by Caduceus at 8:30 AM on January 6 [3 favorites]


And I think toxic masculinity will play a key part in triggering that nuclear conflict as well.
posted by Caduceus at 8:31 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


I look on it as a matter of marketing. As cable cutters, we are flooded with charitable digital TV advertising, especially during the holidays. The ones with disabled or critically ill children are predictably maternal in bent. But there are also the wounded warrior ones for veterans. Very butch and machismo. And yet, they both target the same problem: crappy and expensive healthcare in the US, albeit in probably a cost inefficient fashion with a high administrative overhead. Still, marketing. A sufficiently "masculine" campaign emphasizing unspoiled wilderness, majestic wildlife, fresh air, clear water, hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, stewardship, conservation and husbandry might yield results from an unlikely sector with equally unlikely partners. Just a thought...
posted by jim in austin at 8:36 AM on January 6 [5 favorites]


Look on the bright side: This research could be the key to unlocking the gender-based marketing techniques that will finally save the world. Before long, we'll all be buying slightly more efficient cars to commute 60 miles each way in, using organic cotton re-usable grocery store bags to carry home our purchases of plastic kitchen trash bags, drinking from disposable paper cups made from 60% recycled material, using LED lamps for the permanently-on outdoor lighting, and otherwise feeling good about living the eco-friendly lifestyle while maintaining a gender identity we can be proud of.
posted by sfenders at 8:37 AM on January 6 [7 favorites]


This is a well known quantity, no? South Park nailed this over a decade ago, when the contrivances of the episode ended with the characters agreeing that cooperative environmentalism was ‘more gay’ than literally particupating in mass gay orgies.

Ironically, you can find video of Trump bragging to coal minors that he supports CFC hairspray. I cannot overstate that. We live in a society where antienvironmentalism is so masculine, it makes your hairspray cool to coal minors.
posted by es_de_bah at 8:38 AM on January 6 [25 favorites]


That's why most train locomotives are diesel-electric hybrids.

In North America - but the more advanced societies in Europe and Asia have electrified the whole track.
posted by Rash at 8:39 AM on January 6


Construction Concern and middleclasstool have got it.

I feel compelled to chime in too. Hanging out with classmates at University, particularly sustainability advocates, the impression I got was more ascetic, rather than thriving. That doesn’t sell sustainability at all, to much of anyone.

I own a red, white, and black Trek hybrid bike, with disk brakes and solid looking metal frame, in hopes of making a statement to stalled cars on the morning and evening commutes in the warmer spring, summer, and early fall months.

I did the unthinkable and leased a truck recently (two years, aim to downsize after) which for better mpg forces you and others to slow down. Closer to the reason I did this, however, is that the option to readily pick up used furniture is there, so my Fiancé and I can build up our future home with wonderful, usable, and pre-seasoned furniture from estate sales and the like.

I think selling sustainable living as a thriving way to go would be a good thing to do. You spend less, waste less, and can live, on the whole, very well. Position yourself correctly* and instead of being bound to a rolling 2 ton chunk of metal, you may, especially in the warmer periods, walk or bike to the places you need to go. You may, once in the zone of sustainability, feel like your thriving, and might look it too.

I guess a bigger point I’m trying to make is that a pragmatic approach to selling sustainability would help. If markets, if you will, respond to masculine and feminine signals, so be it and leverage it. Generally, however, I’d hope we could sell sustainability as a genderless thing. I recognize we ain’t quite there yet, but if we can get to “It’s not about you being a man or woman, it’s about basic survival”, we’ll be gold. The article points to leveraging gender signals, which might lead to removing the gender layer at some point in the future.

Anywho, I’m done

*that gets harder, I know, as more residential, single family/group homes pop up. We really need to discuss higher density living to make positioning for walking and biking commutes more available for all
posted by JoeXIII007 at 8:41 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


Higher density living but not 750 thousand dollar studios. Austin has been wrecked by the condo boom.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:48 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


having a garden and providing food for family and community is green and manly!
chopping wood and feeding the wood stove is green and manly!
but neither of these things generates any real corporate profit! and that is a problem.

because this article really seemed mostly to be about selling people things... and that is as much of a cause of dysfunction or tox(cis)ity as anything? that our worth or power comes in the form of a purchase?
posted by danjo at 8:54 AM on January 6 [6 favorites]


I've worked with Danish wind turbine techs, and they had no problem with their masculinity. This was back when wind turbine maintenance meant a 30–40 meter ladder climb before any work started. Ladder climbing races ensued (sometimes in clogs), with a triumphant shout of I'M A FUCKING VIKING!!! required at the top. The techs could drink anyone under the table. They didn't think of themselves as greenies; it was a job, and a good Danish industry to be part of.
posted by scruss at 9:07 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


Copy that Annika. Then there are apartment management companies picking up good boned complexes, and then half-assedly flipping them, forcing good people out (gentrification, I know).

Ann Arbor, MI can’t seem to figure it out. A notable failure is the Packard Square development. Makes me sick thinking about it
posted by JoeXIII007 at 9:15 AM on January 6


"Real Men Don't Eat Quiche, by American Bruce Feirstein, is a bestselling tongue-in-cheek book satirizing stereotypes of masculinity, published in 1982" (wikipedia, emphasis mine)

From an interview with the author:
Talk show hosts, he gripes, always ask him if a Real Man would vote for the ERA, “waiting for me to say, ‘The Real Man wants his wife in the kitchen.’ Instead, I reply, ‘Absolutely—a Real Man is secure enough to have anyone as his equal!’ ” The genuine RM, he asserts, is the sort who “has no problems dealing with a wife with a career, yet still can command the respect of his foreign auto mechanic.”
Don't be lazy, y'all. Critiquing masculinity has been going on for awhile.
posted by AFABulous at 9:21 AM on January 6 [26 favorites]


That's why most train locomotives are diesel-electric hybrids.

In North America - but the more advanced societies in Europe and Asia have electrified the whole track.


I've been on a few trains in Japan that weren't electrified - they were in the middle of nowhere so electrification wouldn't have been worth it. Having driven from Toronto to Dallas over the winter holidays I think much of North America maps pretty closely density wise to the middle of nowhere in Japan.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:21 AM on January 6 [3 favorites]


Ironically, you can find video of Trump bragging to coal minors that he supports CFC hairspray.

Already back to sending children to the mines again?

I’m old enough to remember when support for CFC hairspray was just a joke on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:35 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


Real Men Don't Eat Quiche may be satire, but Poe's law remains in full effect and I have many, many times heard the phrase used unironically. When I was at wilderness camp in Ely, MN in the early 90s, the counselors made certain to clarify that we were having "egg bake," not quiche, for dinner.

Ironically, lacking a crust, said egg bake was technically a fritatta.
posted by stet at 9:46 AM on January 6 [16 favorites]


I know a keen environmentalist who has a car, but no longer needs one. But he can't bring himself to sell it. We've not discussed it, but there's something about the guy thing I suspect.

On the other hand, single women are reportedly flocking to SUVs in droves. What's behind that?
posted by storybored at 10:05 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


METAFILTER: the indignity of people - often WOMEN - politely suggesting that I curtail certain behaviours in the name of securing a future for the human race.
posted by philip-random at 10:35 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


According to TFA:
We showed that there is a psychological link between eco-friendliness and perceptions of femininity. Due to this “green-feminine stereotype,” both men and women judged eco-friendly products, behaviors, and consumers as more feminine than their non-green counterparts.
Apparently it's a perception problem men and women share.

Maybe green could be framed as intelligent and economical. A smart person, a street-smart person, a person who doesn't like to throw money away, buys a car with good mileage. A not-so-smart person, a person who doesn't know how to spend their own money, a person who likes to donate money to oil companies and oil countries, buys a gas-wasting truck and can barely afford to keep it fueled.

But some things need to be done at the governmental level. Even people who are supposedly against disposable plastic shopping bags will continue to use them as long as they are free at the store. You have to ban disposable plastic bags. Bring your own bag (back packs are sufficiently masculine, I hope) or spend good money to buy a sturdy bag at the store. Take all the silly psychology out of it.
posted by pracowity at 10:36 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


I genuinely don’t think there will be any more generations if we don’t get a handle on climate change within the next decade.

For what it's worth, I was saying pretty much exactly this in 1982, and we've since had 3.5 decades of NOT getting a handle on climate change, yet here we still are, dancing on the brink. Which has me thinking it's best to focus less on predicting and more on acting, dancing even.
posted by philip-random at 10:40 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


(This? This is the post that gets me to add a sockpuppet?)

I'm a marketing professor at a namebrand business school, long time mefite, and a friends with one of the authors of the original research. They are good people. They, like many of us in academic marketing, are simply trying to find immediate actions that actually work with business practices to chip away at big hard problems. Yes, we as a society should absolutely address the larger issues of toxic masculinity. Yes, the authors' suggestions are tiny little nudges (dear god, does consumer behavior love the term "nudges"). But most of us in this branch of "applied psychology" operate under the belief that every little bit counts if its practical enough to use immediately, which I think is similar to points made by JoeXIII007. Anyway, I'm mainly writing this comment because I think there's an immediate impulse to discount the motives or arguments of anyone who has "marketing" in their title, and that does a disservice to thinking about how these (admittedly small) insights might be put into service of larger beneficial societal goals. It's not just about selling things. It's about recognizing that people like to buy things, and then thinking about how we can make societally beneficial options more palatable than the more destructive options.
posted by AllYourBrainsAreBelongToUs at 10:45 AM on January 6 [29 favorites]


When was the last time you saw a woman throw a fridge in the river?

haha...funny story: back in the late 90s I was taking some classes at CUNY(130th st NYC), and every day I walked from the train through St.Nicholas park (which was really nice). At the same time I was working at an events company that helped produce Bette Midler's 'Hulaween' party every year (super fun, super campy, pineapple-o-lanterns, buzzards in Hawaiian shirts, etc) to raise money for the New York Restoration Project, whose main purpose is cleaning up parks and roadways in New York. So I got to go to the party, and as part of the festivities, there was a slide show of before and after shots of the parks they had cleaned up and...there was St.Nicholas park. And the 'before' pictures? Oh my god.
So, yeah, I don't know a lot of women looking to throw a fridge in the river, but I sure as HELL know one looking to remove a fridge (or two, of five, and a dishwasher, and a sofa, and three cars and piles and piles of trash bags and litter and syringes and you name it) from more than one river.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:07 AM on January 6 [3 favorites]


I suppose quiche should be masculine actually since women face slightly higher risk of developing lactose intolerance.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:09 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


From my completely unscientific observation of some members of the "coal-rolling" crowd, there is definitely some aspect of masculinity involved -- or rather some aspect of what they believe masculinity to be about.

So I honestly can't say I'm *that* surprised that it's an issue elsewhere...
posted by -1 at 11:15 AM on January 6 [3 favorites]


I read this article and immediately started brainstorming business ideas to take advantage of fragile masculinity (reusable shopping bags with axe/gun/sword holsters, etc...) but then I thought of my brother and his one year old nephew and realized that the baby accessory market is ripe for disruption. What's more emasculating than having to tote around living evidence of your own virility? /irony. I was thinking kevlar baby slings, lots of cordura and rip stop nylon, carabiners, "webbing", etc... Then I searched for "tactical baby gear" and discovered I was too late...

Tactical Baby Gear for only the most fragile of male souls, desperate to front to the world he is some sort of special forces operator and is DEFINITELY STRAIGHT and DEFINITELY NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH. This is some nuclear grade satire, except it's real.
posted by youthenrage at 11:17 AM on January 6 [10 favorites]


My husband got some gender-role-based ribbing from co-workers for driving a Prius, because it’s not “manly” or some such. He responded “You know how guys who drive flashy sports cars are compensating for their tiny penises? Well, I drive a Prius… what do you think that means?”

Yes, I am aware that penis-size jokes are ~problematic~. However, I thought it was an interesting reversal of toxic masculinity tropes. And it shut them up.

But yeah — there’s a lot wrapped up in this stuff, about who gets to take up space, and whose job it is to take care of others vs. taking care of themselves. A lot of individual “green” choices are framed as self-sacrifice, which is strongly coded feminine.
posted by snowmentality at 11:24 AM on January 6 [7 favorites]


A not-so-smart person, a person who doesn't know how to spend their own money, a person who likes to donate money to oil companies and oil countries, buys a gas-wasting truck and can barely afford to keep it fueled.

I too get a laugh ridiculous Fordrolet 6000SUX with a 6" spacer lift* and crappy rims that never sees anything more challenging than speed bump at the mall.

That said, I own a lifted 4x4 Tacoma with steel bumpers, skid plates, and rock sliders and oversized tires. It gets shitty gas mileage. It has stickers - one is a picture of Smokey the Bear that says "I put out". Another resembles the Jeep "trail rated" icon and says "Mall Rated". It goes to all the be best places.

*lift the truck by putting a block between the springs and the axle. This is an inexpensive, but worst of all worlds solution to the problem of approach/breakover/departure angles. A spacer lift marks the owner as cheap/poor or foolish. Also, in this category - drop bracket lifts for IFS trucks. What the hell is the point in a 6" IFS lift that doesn't actually result in more clearance or articulation. If you desire that much lift, do a solid axle conversion instead.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:48 AM on January 6 [3 favorites]


That the earth-destroying industries have been so successful in branding SAVING THE FUCKING WORLD as “sissy” is as good an indication as any of how much control they have over the media.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:48 PM on January 6 [3 favorites]


The problem is toxic masculinity. Gender essentialism sucks but that’s like, trying boil the ocean. We CAN work on toxic masculinity as its own specific boundaried thing and make progress in 20 years as opposed to waiting 500 years for the cis binary to morph into something else then hoping that fixes toxic masculinity too.

This is such a strange reading of things to me, toxic masculinity, in my experience of life at least, is largely the output of gender essentialism. Change the thinking of people to "I'm human first, my gender is irrelevant" and things are likely to change. And that seems much easier and simpler than untangling the mess of masculinity that people carry in their heads with them.
posted by deadwax at 1:09 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


eh that's the equivalent of "I don't see color." Gender is always going to be a thing, and gender itself is not the problem. Binary gender roles that are heavily enforced are what contribute to toxic masculinity.
posted by AFABulous at 1:15 PM on January 6 [13 favorites]


It would be great if we could move away from that argument before a third trans mefite has to debunk it again.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:19 PM on January 6 [8 favorites]


When was the last time you saw a woman throw a fridge in the river?

I don't know who specifically throws fridges in rivers, but plenty of people in general do so, along with shopping carts and anything else portable enough to go over the bank. But why limit yourself to household appliances, when you could be putting cars in the river?
posted by Dip Flash at 1:37 PM on January 6


Question for: Allyourbrainsarebelongtous (and other marketing folks): How do Marketing Scholars consider the role of ethics in their field? Is it just copy-past from business, or is there any injection of ideas from the humanities and social sciences. We all know you can sell through fear and division as well as or better than peace, love, and understanding. Is there anyone championing this, at least in academia?
posted by es_de_bah at 1:45 PM on January 6


*sighs heavily*

Oh, man. I can't even begin to recollect and recount all of the specifically sexist verbal bullshit I've put up with for intentionally choosing to not own a car and to bike, bus and walk instead. Or that I even care about the environment at all.

There's also the crazy and totally fucked up shit that happens to cyclists all the time: Big turbo diesel trucks "rolling coal" and drenching me in smoke, having gigantic tubs of sticky soft drinks thrown at me as they pass at 40-50 MPH, being intentionally run off the road or even attempted to be run down, getting honked or yelled at and more.

And it's always men, and it's almost always pickup trucks. If it's not a pickup truck, it's an American sports car or imported tuner. I've never been bullied off the road or had things thrown at me by women while biking. Sure I've had inattentive women drivers cause traffic problems or close calls, but that's definitely true of both genders, and I've never had a woman intentionally try to run me over with their damn car. Especially while laughing about it.

Even still it sometimes - sometimes - makes me feel guilty, ashamed or inferior, or that I'm otherwise a failure or not a complete human being because I don't have a vehicle and don't even want one, or that I didn't want to participate at all in this particularly American car culture.

But not as much or as often as it used to.

Where life long drivers my age are having major health problems and lack of energy, I'm apparently aging rather well, seem to be having more energy than ever, and I have had very few physical health problems.

Where many people my age are struggling with huge debt and credit card loads related to vehicle ownership, insurance rates and the lifestyles to support all that - I have essentially zero debt. I've also never been in any serious car accidents beyond a minor fender bender. I have had zero medical costs directly caused by a car or car accident.

Where many people are stuck in cars in traffic for actual accumulated years, I've been having a pleasant walk, a bike ride, or a leisurely ride on the bus reading a book or listening to music - or, horrors, even meeting people and chatting with them. I get to see a lot of pleasant things that drivers don't get to see - wildflowers along the path, birds doing their bird things, squirrels, friendly cats in the neighborhood to pet. I can stop suddenly and observe them, and it doesn't put people in the hospital and cause tens of thousands of dollars in insurance claims.

Where many other people my age have no free time - I've had the impossible luxury to know what it's like to do nothing at all so much it actually does make me feel guilty sometimes. I've been able to experience the kind peace and quiet that billionaires pay handsomely for at exclusive resorts, and all I had to do was slow down long enough to enjoy it.

And these aren't inherently good or better or anything, and in many cases they've been quite negative. But there's definitely a lot of personal, selfish good that comes from some of these choices.

A lot of my life choices may be inexplicable or even utterly moronic to a lot of people, especially in the US - and, well, sure, some of those choices are simply moronic - but at the bottom of it all one of my baseline values is essentially "leave small footprints" and trying to reduce my ecological profile and load to as small as possible.

This definitely has come at some personal cost, and I'm not bringing this up to play smug bicyclist martyr or anything. I'm pretty comfortable with my choices and the value they've given me, and why I've chosen them. But there has been a cost.

I've been on a plane, oh, twice. I haven't had the opportunity to travel or see as much of the world as some have. I don't have a career, but a lot of different skills. It's extremely unlikely I'll ever own a home. Chances are good that I'll be homeless again, and I technically still am and have been for the past, oh, 4 years. My "retirement plan" involves trying to be a decent enough human being that I'm not immediately put out on an ice floe.

But in the end my total carbon, water and resource footprint has been a tiny fraction of the average American. Probably less than 5-10% of average. My life long footprint could be compared to someone in a developing nation or perhaps even less due to modern efficiencies in things like clean water and food.

If I could generate my own minor electricity needs out of about 2-3 square meters of solar, collect and purify my own rainwater and plant a small garden somewhere, I could effectively reduce this already small footprint to nearly zero.

Is that unmanly? Is that feminine?

Frankly, my theoretical dudebros of America*, I don't give a fuck. I'm probably going to outlive you. I've probably already had a much higher quality of life, and if you need to put that into terms even your dumb pecker can understand that includes a pretty wild sex life.

And there really isn't anything manly or masculine about being so insecure that you think driving an oversized truck or consuming mass quantities of steak or bacon, or consuming more than your share of resources in general or not giving a shit about the environment (or anything, especially other people) makes you some kind of apex predator or alpha male.

It usually just means that you're afraid. That you're fearful. That you're insecure because of that fear and you want or need a bunch of external things to try to silence that insecurity. It means that you don't know how to do more with less. It means you probably don't know what it's like to actually be lean, mean and hungry. It means you're needy, like a greedy toddler ruining someone else's birthday cake by licking off the frosting.

And I've worked for men who heavily overcompensate like this, who loudly declare how alpha they are in actions and words. And the loudest of them go to pieces over the lamest shit. Not getting good parking, not getting the right junk food order in the drive through, having to wait in any kind of traffic. Or not having their every want and need catered and their world precisely arranged around them, comfortably at the center of it. It poisons their work relationships, their families, their friendships, their politics, their own miserable, fearful lives and ultimately the world around them.

This to me is kind of the crux of why toxic and fragile masculinity is a huge cultural and social problem. Imagine all of these spheres of narcissistic manipulation and influence surrounding each of these toxic/fragile men, and how they move through the cultural space every day like magnets through iron filings, and how those spheres of manipulation overlap and conflict.

How many people are essentially living their lives within multiple, overlapping spheres of this toxic influence? How many people don't even have any idea it shouldn't have to be this way?

Hell, they keep getting elected to office or grabbing positions of power, running on platforms built on these same exact narcissistic and toxic fears and insecurities.

* Yeah, I know, they're probably not reading MetaFilter. I'm thankfully not talking to anyone here in particular. And #notalltrucks. Hell, I just re-did the rotors, calipers, lines and pads on a rusty old F-150 just so the house could have a working truck for firewood and dump runs again.
posted by loquacious at 1:45 PM on January 6 [10 favorites]


Identity is powerful and exploitable by marketing and political campaigns. I think rebranding green things as "smart" and "engineeringly" might help, though the demographics for proudly ignorant and uncurious is huge in the US and non-trivial in the anglosphere generally.
Also, there are no longer any Carbon emissions pathways that are non globally catastrophic and threaten the food supply and housing of 2-5 billion people in this century, so "fatalism" might be bad for motivation, but it is realistic.
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 1:51 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


How do Marketing Scholars consider the role of ethics in their field?

I'm not currently in the field, but I once was. I even had an office with a window an door in the marketing department of a major civil engineering firm. And I have friends currently in the field as senior level marketers that have directed major national or even international campaigns.

In all honesty my first reaction to the question I quoted above was to just laugh and post a snarky text version of that laugh.

In my experience ethics really aren't questioned beyond, say, a sanity check for good taste and avoiding backlash. Basically anything is game if it captures eyeballs, attention, opinion and/or sells things. Ethics as far as emotional manipulation, calls to action or identity are simply not considered beyond their effectiveness in manipulation and action. The demographics of a target may be discussed in terms of ethics and values to signal and communicate, but not the ethics of marketing itself.

In my direct experience and work at the engineering firm I was frequently asked to design and edit materials that, at best, withheld the truth, and at worst willfully obfuscated it. We're talking about PR materials targeted at the public to talk about, say, the safety of a water reservoir replacing one that had failed. Or the qualifications and related documentation for a request for proposal on an engineering project.

And these are pretty tame lies and "marketing" or whatever.

In the case of one of my childhood friends, he's worked on campaigns you've seen. He's worked on campaigns you've likely seen and we've definitely groused about here on MeFi. (I found this out much later.) As far as I can tell he's essentially happily sold himself and his talents to the dark side of the force for fucktons of money, and he'd probably agree with that.

I'm not going to say it doesn't happen, or that it's not being taught at an academic level - but I have never even heard about ethics being discussed in practice in commercial marketing with regards to the questionable ethics of emotional/identity or other marketing-driven psychological or cultural manipulation, especially at anything above a regional campaign level.

This is a lot like asking if they teach socialism, communism or profit sharing at MBA schools, or the ethics of corporate personhood.
posted by loquacious at 2:08 PM on January 6 [4 favorites]


They do teach business ethics at the bachelor level, or at least they did at my school. That was part of the curriculum in my program in some of my other classes, although for my required ethics class, I chose information ethics, which discussed topics ranging from the ethics of gathering consumer information to the ethics of, for example, revenge porn. Interesting class.

Of course, they only grade you on whether you understand ethics, not whether you have any personally.
posted by Autumnheart at 2:23 PM on January 6 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the responses re: ethics. I was trying to err on the side of defference to the marketing world and I think I tipped over into uncharacteristic naivity.

This all brings to mind the arc of the tobacco industry in Madmen. I guess it’s now a quaint notion that a company would balk at the idea of their consumer indulging in a ‘death-wish.’ A lot of that show was the firm selling brands on marketing areas they found distasteful for good or ill. Now it’s all just another part of the buffalo to grow and use.

I seem to be stuck on TV references today, so I’ll just add: There’s always money in the banana stand psychological manipulation of human chattle.
posted by es_de_bah at 3:33 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


I can also speak from personal experience that ethics in marketing is a daily conversation at my employer, covering topics ranging from what kind of claims a product is allowed to make (if they want to say “Our speakers have the best sound!” then they need to provide documentation that their speakers do, in fact, objectively sound the best, or a legal indemnification saying they’ll take the blame for saying it and not us), to ADA compliance, to where legalese gets placed on the website, all kindsa shit.

That certainly doesn’t explain why a Wells Fargo will have an executive culture that tells its employees, “Create fraudulent accounts or get fired” because that is insane, and you would think an executive would consider that an incredible legal time bomb waiting to go off and cost the company billions of dollars. But, well, companies can only be as ethical as individual people are, I suppose, especially the leadership.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:14 PM on January 6


I can also speak from personal experience that ethics in marketing is a daily conversation at my employer, covering topics ranging from what kind of claims a product is allowed to make (if they want to say “Our speakers have the best sound!” then they need to provide documentation that their speakers do, in fact, objectively sound the best, or a legal indemnification saying they’ll take the blame for saying it and not us), to ADA compliance, to where legalese gets placed on the website, all kindsa shit.

If it wasn't for that legal risk or exposure to lost profits those conversations wouldn't be happening.

This is more in the definition of legal self protection, and not the realm of the ethics of manipulating the public. Say, using sex to cell cigarettes, or appeals to masculinity to sell trucks.

Or even approaching thornier questions of ethics like "should we be selling this at all?"

I made the mistake of asking that thorny question once in a marketing meeting about building yet another toll road, naively suggesting it sure would be nice if we were building a bunch of light rail instead of a paid freeway being run through what was a previously protected area and nature reserve.

I might as well have sprouted two additional heads, stripped naked, sprouted purple tentacles below the navel and started doing a burlesque dance on the conference table, and they already thought I was a weirdo.

I'm kind of an idiot sometimes. It took me a while to realize why I didn't like that job, why I wasn't sleeping very well and why I was drinking so much, even though I thought I had it made.
posted by loquacious at 4:44 PM on January 6 [4 favorites]


What on earth has men so terrified of being perceived as womanly that avoiding the colour pink takes priority over the impending destruction of ecosystems?

It's the fear of being treated by other men the same way that they treat women. Of course that's terrifying.
posted by clawsoon at 4:59 PM on January 6 [14 favorites]


If it wasn't for that legal risk or exposure to lost profits those conversations wouldn't be happening.

Yes they would, unless you’re trying to argue is that the only reason people don’t lie, cheat and steal is because there’s a rule about it in the employee handbook. Tl;dr my ethics class: ethics are complicated and driven by far more than just external rules that say “because we said so”.

The short answer in a business context is that if your company acts in a reliable and trustworthy manner, people give you their money and their loyalty. If you lose their loyalty, you lose their money and ultimately your company. There’s a whole thing around customer relationship management and the customer life cycle. So, no, it’s not just because of the legal risks and exposure to lost profits that these conversations happen, it’s because of the opportunities to increase profits, dominate the market, and expand into new markets.

The longer answer is that it’s not just about the money, either. An organization is a community within itself, and it operates within a community, and people tend to identify strongly with their work (at least in this country, they do) and want their business to reflect their principles. It can go down a shitty path, like Hobby Lobby and Chik-Fil-A, but it can also go down a good path (insert examples of corporate do-gooding, e.g. companies that continued to pay employees in areas devastated by natural disasters, or whatever). I mean shit, both the Republican and Democratic parties are quintessential examples. The governments of Minnesota and Wisconsin are quintessential examples. It’s not just about what the rules say you can do.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:10 PM on January 6


Who thinks "environmentalism" is limited to consumerism? why is the study limited to buying products, when buying products is what is destroying everything?

I think the study is good, but limited to a consumerist worldview that is against many strains of ethics of environmental care.

how many duck hunters are anglers consider themselves more manly for donating to ducks unlimited and land conservation programs?
posted by eustatic at 9:25 PM on January 6 [4 favorites]


To expand on my point above: I think that toxic masculinity can be boiled down to the idea that the world is divided into fuckers and fuckees. If you don't constantly demonstrate that you're a fucker, you get turned into a fuckee. Being a fucker is the essence of manliness. Fuck women. Fuck weaker men - as per prison rules, it's not gay if you're on top. Throw that tub of soft drink out the window at loquacious. Play constant I'm-fucking-with-you pranks on your friends. Gang up on that First Nations man and throw his body into the river. It's a Coward of the County morality: If a man is a fuckee, his girlfriend is fair game to be raped, and you don't want to be that man, do you? Make America Great Again, because America seems like it's not longer a fucker, and therefore it must be turning into a fuckee, and the consequences of that are to be treated by other nations the way that men treat women, and that is terrifying.

Fucking the earth is another way to keep up the constantly required demonstration that you're a fucker. Roll some coal: "I'm a fucker." Blast the AC with your windows open: "I'm a fucker." "Screw the polar bears, drill, baby, drill!": "I'm a fucker."

Buy something green? You're failing to fuck the earth, and anyone who fails to fuck is a fuckee. You are now fair game for fuckers.

The amount of this varies by subculture and family, but even those of us who came from homes and communities where it was okay for a man to be caring saw the fear that men with fucker/fuckee mindsets inspired in our schools and the wider culture, and internalized a bit of toxic masculinity ourselves (often in the form of fragile rigidity). It's a dynamic that can be as hard to break as an Albanian blood feud, and it's sustained by much the same logic.
posted by clawsoon at 5:56 AM on January 7 [11 favorites]


Storybored: On the other hand, single women are reportedly flocking to SUVs in droves. What's behind that?

I don’t know about recent trends, but my understanding — after working for a handful of automakers years ago — is that women were the original target demographic for whom the SUV was created.

Auto marketers did not have the problem, “How do we get males who wish to proxy-display via their automobile to buy more expensive auto products?” because males have been flocking to auto dealerships to have just that itch scratched for decades — whether the solution is a really large truck or a really loud car.

The problem the auto marketers did have was, “How do we get females who our research shows have a influential/deciding factor in purchasing family vehicles to purchase ones that have better profit margins for us?”

The key, at least as it is often told, was cup holders.

Industry testing showed that increasing the quantity of cup holders distributed throughout the cabin made automotive products feel “homier” and — remarkably — “safer.” That is to say, the more the product resembled a mobile living room, cued by home-like amenities, the more female consumers said the vehicle experience made them feel “safe” and “secure” and “in control.”

Since parallel research showed that across all genders being raised up higher in the vehicle, and thereby having a taller vantage, also made people feel formidable, it was a logical step to take an oversized family vehicle and raise it up on a truck chassis. Now the product could be everything to a family: strength/authority, security, warmth, comfort, safety.

In other words, the SUV was created to assauge feelings of inadequacy, calibrated to distinctly female buying preferences. A muscle product based not in aggressive display behaviours, but defensive protective ones.

It was an instant hit. Because lots of people feel small, and scared.
posted by Construction Concern at 5:58 AM on January 7 [14 favorites]


The short answer in a business context is that if your company acts in a reliable and trustworthy manner, people give you their money and their loyalty. If you lose their loyalty, you lose their money and ultimately your company.

That to me falls under "we're doing these ethical things to profit and be a healthy corporation" as a function of the corporation, and again not addressing the issue about ethics as they apply to psychological or emotional manipulation in marketing. The performance, product, corporate citizenship or customer care isn't specific the ethical question being proposed, but how do ethics apply to the marketing and sales of that product and what methods are being used.

Please don't misread me, I'm not trying to imply that there aren't ethical companies, or that ethical marketing doesn't exist. Non profits and all kinds of good stuff needs advertising and marketing, too.

But the question that's being posed as I understand it is an important one, and if I may try to paraphrase it:

In the use of psychologically manipulative marketing - specifically the negative dangers of it to culture and society due to presenting impossibly perfect or unrealistically aspirational ideals of body, home, income, gender or more - are there ethics or guidelines being taught or practiced in marketing, and if so how much or how little?

The answer to this is going to be situational and complicated, but in practice in the commercial market I haven't ever seen a marketing or sales campaign voluntarily pull back from any trick in the marketer's handbook short of overt/clumsy subliminal advertising - if the target market or result supports it, if it doesn't alienate or drive off the audience, if they actually think it'll work and the data supports it - then, sure, they'll run it.

Sure, if you're selling high fidelity speakers - there's going to be some metrics and aesthetics and data points you're going to want to meet. You're going to want to be able to back up your claims with analysis and data. That's not the ethical question being posed.

The question is "should really I use nudity or sex or suggestions of sports cars or cocaine and partying to sell these speakers?" Or even "should I skirt the edge of audiophile woo and nonsense and make the speakers out of rare hand carved rainforest teak when some good birch plywood would do?"

My specific statement is that the simplified question of "Should I really psychologically manipulate someone into buying this luxury car with unattainably aspirational imagery of empty roads, no traffic and seductive copy?" isn't a question that's actually asked at a level beyond "will this scan and work and sell cars and not piss people off?" or "Is this a profitable decision?"

And what we're talking about in the article is actually the use of psychological and emotional manipulation to sell things under the pretty messed up premise that taking care of the environment is unmasculine and unmanly, and there's not a damn thing that's ethical or prudent about this unless you're trying to sell a lot of dually trucks to urban survivor cowboys.
posted by loquacious at 8:03 AM on January 7 [3 favorites]


loquacious: And what we're talking about in the article is actually the use of psychological and emotional manipulation to sell things under the pretty messed up premise that taking care of the environment is unmasculine and unmanly, and there's not a damn thing that's ethical or prudent about this unless you're trying to sell a lot of dually trucks to urban survivor cowboys.

Hmm. Is it ethical to sell "green" products by associating them with a virtuous self-image? I.e. is using aspirational ideals in marketing what's bad, or just using them for selling bad things that's bad?
posted by clawsoon at 1:06 PM on January 7


I.e. is using aspirational ideals in marketing what's bad, or just using them for selling bad things that's bad?

The real ethical issue exists in permitting bad things to be marketed (i.e. /produced/sold) at all.

Saving the planet is not possible on a person by person basis. It takes political will and regulation to do that.
posted by Thella at 1:59 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


But yeah — there’s a lot wrapped up in this stuff, about who gets to take up space, and whose job it is to take care of others vs. taking care of themselves. A lot of individual “green” choices are framed as self-sacrifice, which is strongly coded feminine.

Exactly. A lot of performative, macho anti-environmentalism seems to suggest the mindset: "I'm a big swinging dick who earns enough money to NGAF about how much the gas for my Land Rover costs or the price of natural gas for my 5000 sq ft mini mansion where my trophy wife oversees the giant kitchen".

It's a form of showing off.
posted by theorique at 11:06 AM on January 8


It was an instant hit. Because lots of people feel small, and scared.

And, when they have kids, old too. A lot of this has rubbed off over the years as SUVs have become ubiquitous and identified with family vehicles, but I recall a fair bit of the marketing back in the day not-terribly-subtly presenting SUVs as the cool and youthful alternative to a station wagon. That's basically what an SUV is, a big station wagon that has more cargo capacity and may or may not have 4-wheel or all-wheel drive, but it had more style and was more associated with offroad adventure than the Griswold Family Truckster. A practical family car that tells you you're still 27, the same way that vanity sizing has gotten so bad that they lie even when the waist measurement is given in inches.

I've been waiting for the pendulum to swing the other way and for station wagons to come back with a vengeance, because I love 'em. And also if GM would bring back the El Camino, they'd make roughly a trillion dollars by my estimates.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:29 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


middleclasstool; I've been waiting for the pendulum to swing the other way and for station wagons to come back with a vengeance

Just take a look at the latest generation of SUVs. Their height is going down a little bit every year. Every year, they look a little more like the classic station wagon outline. We're on our way.
posted by clawsoon at 5:37 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


And, when they have kids, old too. A lot of this has rubbed off over the years as SUVs have become ubiquitous and identified with family vehicles, but I recall a fair bit of the marketing back in the day not-terribly-subtly presenting SUVs as the cool and youthful alternative to a station wagon.

Nowadays, it's the slightly cooler version of the minivan. The two category have blurred to the extent that a lot of SUVs look like minivans and vice versa. The main distinction is that the minivan has the sliding doors, which are, presumably, uncool or something. As a parent, I resisted the pull of the minivan for a time because it was so stereotypical and sounded like a bad comedian's punchline, but those sliding doors ...
posted by theorique at 9:57 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Rather than simply condemning these toxic masculinity men, it may be a better idea to find a way to discuss this in a way that finds a root cause. Maybe even find a way to personally discuss these with some who have some measure of self awareness, or with people who were like this before and what it was like. It would be difficult to find those who will talk about it-- especially with how it's hated in the wider society.

Why do they want to be masculine? What influenced them on media? What friends, family, partners did etc.? What specific thoughts do they have? Emotions? Early childhood memories on it? Recent memories? Then find a healthy way to deal with these emotions -- Journaling, mindfulness, exercise etc.

It seems people are focusing more on that these men are toxic and this toxic nature needs to be fixed - which is not wrong, but it needs to be more than that. There needs to be a way on how to solve that problem in the first place. Men like these tend to hide their emotions with anger, and adding some kind of "feminine" practice like emotional expression to work as some sort of exposure therapy for not wanting to be seen as tough all the time.

I know, because I used to be an *hole myself.
posted by RoboticForest at 4:01 AM on January 17


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