Real men don’t… attacking the “Green” stereotype

Bruce Feirstein’s 1982 New York Times Best Seller “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche” was a tongue-in-cheek book which satirized stereotypes of masculinity as men in the 80’s had confusion about how they ought to behave, after feminist critique on traditional male roles and beliefs.

Men have been struggling with the concept of true “masculinity” since time immemorial.  When men fail to fit neatly into a gender stereotype; they begin to question their manhood.

The Forbes article “Real men don’t need work life balance” brings up a good point on male gender and its associated role definitions, where “real” men (single or married) don’t need work-life integration.  The article says that women with kids (even if their married) have a higher career flexibility.

Here is a list of Men Don’t in no particular order:

Real men don’t carry totes, don’t drive Priuses, don’t ask for directions (Isn’t everyone else in as big a rush as me?), don’t do green, real men don’t cook, don’t write blogs, don’t eat veggies, don’t keep cats, and real men don’t text (they call the girl instead) and if they absolutely need to text they sure as hell don’t use emoticons (Ok. these last two are true)

It’s the truth.  Most men are afraid to drive a Prius, they won’t use reusable water bottles etc.  I remember having to constantly remind a roommate to take his back pack and one of the hundreds of reusable bags we had under the sink when going to the supermarket.  Why is going Green such a major mood kill why is it considered a niche only for crunchy pot smoking granola hippies or rich elite snobs?

There’s no need to be insecure about doing the right thing.  Going green is asexual: for women it may be “environmental choice” and for men “economic choice”.  I live in Edmonton Alberta and I can’t tell you how many people have a truck and use it for nothing but going from point A to B.  At this point it’s either pure esthetical interest or for safety purposes; surely it wouldn’t be for economic reasons unless you were masochistically drawn to high gas prices.  Manufacturers are doing a good job of offering products that you don’t have to sacrifice your ego (Ford-150, Explorer, Fusion, Etc.) while Honda, Kia, and Hyundai make mid-sized cars that easily get in the 30’s mpg.

Carrying totes or reusable shopping bags makes carrying groceries easier.  They are much strong then flimsy plastic bags, you can wash them to avoid fecal contamination and they are easier for seniors to carry because they hang down low making it easier on the arms and shoulders.  You don’t have to tote a pink tote festooned with flowers, get a dark color or some flipping skulls on it for Christ sake.  Infliction with some skulls on it fine!  It doesn’t have to say “I break for big foot”

Maybe the problem is men are not as “trendy” as women, if green becomes more popular and can stick with true facts and figures it can catch on.  Of course we need to make sure we boycott or punish the green scamming that is going on; those that guilt people into buying something by marketing when there is no clear benefit.

Sustainability could use its Marlboro Man moment.  We need celebrities, manly ones, like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Hugh Jackman to jump on the band wagon.  We need Nascar promoting soy hotdogs or Priuses that run on bio-fuel.  We need to make eco-friendly male ego-friendly.  Being Green should not have to be all or nothing.  People should stop using machismo to live like an ignoramus; I don’t think THESE people really want to ignore reality and retreat to the comfort of ignorance.

Being a real man is easy.  A real man is strong, focused and reads, he keeps his house in order, knows the importance of family, doesn’t gossip, doesn’t talk behind people back he talks to your face if there is a problem, his word is his bond, and strives to be a role model.  He isn’t afraid of what people think.  He has his own code of ethics and sticks to it because he knows it’s the right thing to do.