Gender and Environmentalism

This Psychology Today blog talks about gendered attitudes about the environment. According to polls, women care more about protecting the environment than men, who are “more likely to support increased use of nuclear power and offshore oil and gas drilling (Burn, 2013).” The author says that this has to do with gender socialization, where females are “more likely to be socialized to be communal and other-centered (Burn, 2013)”. This is not saying that men don’t care about the environment, but that women are more likely to care because of the way they are socialized.

This blog is an example of gender socialization of the ego boundary. An ego boundary is how much a person separates their self and their identity from others and the rest of the world (Wood, 2013, p. 167). Females are socialized to have a more “permeable,” “thin,” or “open” identity, where their needs and interests are “interrelated” to others’ needs and interests. (Johnson, 2014; Wood, 2013, p. 167). Wood notes that this causes “women to feel responsible for others and for situations that are not of their own doing.”

In this case, Wood was talking about relationships, but ego boundaries affect a person’s worldview, too. Even though people with feminine socialization are not “responsible for” or “cause” environmental destruction or animal harm, they still feel like they need to do something. Their ego boundaries are “thin” so there is no “clear distinction” between their health and nature’s health (Wood, 2013, p. 167). Feminine people feel that all humans “are a part of nature (Burns, 2013).”

 

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