Flat White

Where it’s silly season all year long

7 January 2018

1:46 PM

7 January 2018

1:46 PM

Boy. Boy oh boy oh boy. Sorry for being so gender specific, so emphatically binary — let alone using the masculine to introduce a piece about the Fairfax lady pages — but sometimes you’re confronted with something so startlingly inane that the mental process all but cease to function and you’re lost for words.

I speak, of course, of the item above: Fragile masculinity is harming the planet.

Don’t click on the link. Don’t reward them with the traffic. It’s only there as a digital footnote, as proof positive such confrontingly kooky cockamamy actually exists. Here’s an edited version:

It’s official. The apparent need of too many men to demonstrate their manly status to the world and continuously reassure themselves that they are not little girly-girls, is harming the planet.

According to an article published last month in Scientific American, research … has found that men may be avoiding eco-friendly behaviours due to a perceived association between femininity and the environment.

Worse, it’s apparently possible to influence men’s inclination toward green behaviours by affirming or threatening their masculinity.  That’s right, give a man a pink, floral gift card and he’ll reassert his dudeliness by eschewing biodegradable bags…

Research has long shown that women are leading the pack when it comes to reducing carbon footprints… But scientists are now positing that “gender-identity maintenance” may be the key to men embracing eco-friendly lifestyles.

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!

How then, should we handle environmentally irresponsible men?  The recommendation from Scientific American is to lure them into conscientiousness with “more masculine fonts, colours, words and images”.  Evoke the wild, savage wilderness…

It’s an idea, but here’s another: work on dismantling the absurd fear men hold for the feminine…  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.

It’s time to stop, take a good look at our patriarchal culture and ask, what have we done to instil this fear in men, and how do we make it stop?

Our biggest mistake is that instead of allowing masculinity and manhood to exist as its own phenomenon, we’ve developed a habit of defining it against femininity.  Whatever girls are, boys can’t be…


And on it goes in a similar vein for a few hundred more words.

Fairfax also carries this item today:

Well, we know what occurs with once-reputable newspapers.

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