Mendoza School of Business

It’s Not Easy Being Green — At Least for Men

Published: August 30, 2016 / Author: Janice Wood

But in a series of studies, researchers showed that men are more open to purchasing green products if their masculinity gets a boost through the products’ branding.
New research provides evidence that shoppers who engage in environmentally friendly behaviors are stereotyped as more feminine. What’s more, they also see themselves as more feminine.

“Previous research shows that men tend to be more concerned about maintaining a masculine identity than women are with their feminine identity,” said James Wilkie, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.

“We therefore thought that men might be more open to environmental products if we made them feel secure in their masculinity, so they are less threatened by adopting a green product.”

For the study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, the researchers used two approaches: First by affirming a man’s masculinity before introducing him to environmental products and then changing the associations people have toward green products.

“We documented how both men and women find green products and actions to be feminine,” Wilkie said.

“We thought that if you reframe environmental products to be more masculine, men would be more likely to adopt them. Instead of using traditional marketing messages about green products, which are typically perceived as feminine, we changed the messages to be more masculine in nature by changing the phrasing, colors, etc. When we did that, we found that men were more willing to ‘go green.’”

Read the entire story on the PsychCentral website.