No, Scientists Didn't Find That Men Are Afraid to Carry Reusable Bags for Fear of Appearing Gay

The media are misreporting this one wildly.


"Men are avoiding reusable shopping bags so they won't look gay," reads the headline of Australian public broadcaster SBS. "Men Don't Recycle Because They Don't Want People Thinking They're Gay, Study Finds," says Vice. "Men may be more likely to snub mother nature by refusing to carry reusable shopping bags—because they don't want to appear feminine or gay," reports the New York Post.

If this sounds ridiculous, it's because it is. The study in question didn't find that men are avoiding supposedly pro-environmental behaviors for fear of being thought gay.

The paper in question was published in the journal Sex Roles by researchers from Penn State University and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. The study, which received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, involved 960 participants who were asked to engage in two separate activities designed to test their social perceptions of different "gendered" environmental behaviors, from carrying reusable bags (supposedly feminine) to caulking windows (a ballsy, hairy-chested masculine activity).

Participants were first asked to read fictitious accounts of a person engaging in either masculine or feminine "pro-environmental behaviors." They were then asked to rate that person's masculine and feminine traits, as well as their sexuality on a scale of most heterosexual to most homosexual. In the third part of the study, participants were given a list of four possible discussion partners they would be paired with to talk about environmental behaviors, then asked to rank their preference for these partners.

The list of discussion partners included a gender-conforming man and woman (who were interested in discussing environmental behaviors that supposedly conformed with their genders) and a gender-bending man and woman (who wanted to discuss environmental behaviors associated with the opposite gender).

In the first activity, participants generally ascribed feminine traits to pro-environmental behaviors regardless of what the activity was. But contrary to a lot of media write-ups, these same participants did not rank anyone as gay for engaging in gender-bending behaviors.

"Counter to predictions and on average, participants did not perceive the target as lesbian or gay in any of the conditions," reads the study. The fictitious people engaging in gender-conforming activities were ranked higher on the heterosexuality scale, but neither gender-bending men or women were ranked as gay by participants.

In the third activity, women were most likely to pick gender-conforming women as their most preferred discussion partners, and least likely to pick gender-conforming men as their partner. Men were equally likely to pick other men as discussion partners, regardless of whether they were gender-conforming or gender-bending.

Let me quote the study: "men's preferences did not reflect preferences for one gendered topic over another gendered topic nor preferences for one gendered partner over another gendered partner. Their preferences also did not seem to be a function of prejudice against [gays and sexual minorities] or being concerned about misclassification as gay."

The whole purpose of the ranking of discussion partners was to tease out whether participants' gendered perceptions of different  behaviors led them to stigmatize people for engaging in those behaviors. In other words, if men thought carrying a reusable bag was feminine or gay, would they ostracize men who carried reusable bags?

The answer from the study appears to be a definitive no. The headlines about the study are an unambiguous yes.

Indeed, you could make the case that the study suggests an incentive for heterosexual men to carry reusable bags or engage in other "feminine" environmental behaviors, as the women were more inclined to pick those men as discussion partners.

Frankly, the study itself seems to be a convoluted and indirect way of answering the questions it asks. One could also take issue with asking participants to rate these behaviors on binary scales in the first place. And some of the supposedly pro-environmental activities it discusses are actually not so great for Mother Earth.

But regardless of the study's merits, it has clearly been misreported by almost every outlet that's picked it up.

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  1. Men don’t want to carry those stupid reusable bags because they are disease vectors if they aren’t washed, and they’re worse for the environment than plastic if they are washed.

    1. I don’t want to know what you carry in your reusable bags, dawg.

      1. Packages of fresh meats and/or produce, milk, eggs, etc… can/do leak into the bags. Reusable cloth bags soak up these leakages, and even if not directly contaminated, the become a medium for bacterial growth.

        1. A real man would carry the reusable bad and damn the bacterial risk.

          1. And damn the spelling error, too!

            1. Damn you spelling error. I’ve now clearly established my manly bona fides. Even when carrying a reusable bag.

          2. A real man lines the reusable bag with a plastic bag.

        2. You are supposed to put your meat in a small plastic bag so it doesn’t leak.

          1. Defeating the purpose of a reusable bag.

    2. I use cotton reusable bags. I wash them every month or so.

      I refuse to pay for them and get them as SWAG otherwise I probably would not use them.

      If I have to go to some stupid place that charges extra for bags (on top of the bag cost factored into grocery prices), I carry everything in my hands, pockets, and stuff things down my pants in front of the tellers. I always have fun with these self-righteous assholes.

      1. “I use cotton reusable bags. I wash them every month or so”

        That’s definitely gay Const; that’s ok though.

        1. I’m totally “metrosexual”.

          I love to eat and fuck pussy and …get $150 haircuts.

          1. Tony’s thinking maybe you’re protesting too much.

            1. I’m sure Tony wishes he could take all our loads.

      2. re: “I use cotton reusable bags. I wash them every month or so.”

        And in doing so, you use more water, energy and have a far larger environmental impact than you would have if you just used the plastic bags.

    3. I’ve been using the same set of four cotton bags for almost 30 years and have never washed them. And I’m as healthy as the day is long!

  2. “chalking windows”?

    Caulking? Applying a sealant to make them weatherproof?

    I think “chalking” a window would be like the deals you see written on the windshields of a used car at an independent used car lot.

    1. You are correct. That’s been fixed.

      1. So you guys actually read this stuff. Is there a prize for outing your errors?

        1. Only the warm fuzzy feeling you get from knowing that you made a Reason writer feel stupid for a few minutes.

          1. Ooooh. That’s a pretty good prize!

            1. That’s why they stay out of comments generally to not give you the smug satisfaction.

          2. Pardon this moment of seriousness, Christian el al. It’s not a matter of making a writer feel stupid. I’ve had recent email exchanges with Katherine Mangu-Ward and David Nott. As I said to KMW, “My criticism is not mere pedantry. If the proofreading is so sloppy, what possible reason would readers have for believing that the reportage, research, and fact-checking are any less sloppy? Sloppiness like this severely saps journalists’ credibility.”

    2. Many years ago a girl I know who was handy with tools had some work to do around the house. She called me and asked if I had any caulk. I told her I would bring my caulk right over. After a brief pause, we laughed.

      1. It takes a brave man to laugh at his caulk with a girl with whom he was gonna put that caulk to use.

        1. LOL. Well done, sir. Well done.

        2. At least he wasn’t caulk-blocked.

  3. This list of digits and a used condom says otherwise, Chris.
    These bags are like fucking catnip. I won’t have to resort to kidnapping people fill out my sex party roster. Feels good.

    1. You carry your groceries in a used condom. Ew.

      1. Double Plus Ew

      2. That’d better be a reusable condom.

  4. Social pseudo-science: the fake reports with fake peer reviews in fake journals on fake subjects that government does because everybody else would be too embarrassed to even pretend they cared about.

    1. Now that never happens; gay dogs in a park so say.

  5. Hmm…I’ve glazed windows. Can’t say I’ve ever caulked one, or really ever seen someone do so. Is that really a thing? Was this caulking done in a public place to equate to publicly carrying a reuseable shopping bag? What did they do, set up windows in the public square and ask participants to caulk them?

    $300,000 for this crap?

    1. In the old days, we caulked windows where they met the siding.

      1. Right. Didn’t think of caulking around the window. Yeah, suppose I’ve done that a time or two.

        1. Look guys, not every writer – sorry, Associate Editor – around here can be a Tuccile. Most of them are citiots. They don’t worry about sealing their windows – that’s what the landlord is for.

          1. Best advice is still: If it’s supposed to move, but doesn’t, WD-40 it. If it’s not supposed to move, but does, duct tape it.

            1. I’ve been spraying my neighbors with WD-40 for years, and no dice.

          2. You win this thread.

    2. I’m always looking for a crack to fill with my caulk.

      1. But does size matter – meaning, the size of the crack?

        1. If you have a big enough tip, your caulk can fill any crack.

  6. Seriously need to abolish the National Science Foundation… Really just sounds like a way to direct funds to the author of the study’s friends. $300k?

  7. “”$300,000 for this crap?”‘

    That’s the punch line.

  8. (Narrows eyes) He looks pretty gay to me. Kinda cute too.

    1. Would. Cook with him.

      1. Decorate anyone?

  9. No, Scientists Didn’t Find That Men Are Afraid to Carry Reusable Bags for Fear of Appearing Gay

    Of course not. This is 2019. No one has a problem with homosexuality.

    We just don’t carry re-usable bags because we don’t want to appear to be total pussies.

    1. My wife bought a bag for me to use that says
      ‘My Wife Makes Me Use This Bag So That People Will Think I GIVE A SHIT’

      1. Where did she get that? I want one.

        1. Her boyfriend gave it to her.

          1. And then he gave her the bag.

  10. Fanny packs – still totally gay.

    1. Fanny packs are great concealed carry holsters.

      1. I think they suck for that; tried a decade or two ago. It felt gay.

      2. Where an ankle or concealed waist holster like a man.

        In winter, there is no reason that you cannot have a “Miami Vice” shoulder holster rig with extra magazines on opposite side underneath a jacket.

    2. They do look more stupid than gay. I guess for day hiking they are OK or taking the dog for a long walk in the woods to carry some extra water and things.

  11. . . . to caulking windows (a ballsy, hairy-chested masculine activity).

    That is pretty gay.

    1. “ballsy, hairy-chested masculine activity”

      That would be a gay pride parade, the butch section thereof.

    2. Power tools are just as accessible to DIYers and have more potential for dismemberment, so I’d put their use higher on the masculinity scale. Especially if they’re 120 VAC, so you have the added possibility of cutting open the cord.

      1. Pffft. Sewing machines are power tools. There’s nothing especially masculine about using power tools unless their use is alcohol-fueled.

        1. Dude, you’re doing it wrong. The power tools run on gas or diesel. The operator runs on alcohol.

  12. $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation – – – –

    And there is the problem.
    Now, boys and girls, (and whatever else there is this week) find out who at the FSF is sleeping with who on the “research” team.

  13. I carry reusable bags, they make my ass look rounder because I am naturally kinda skinny so there is a little bit of benefit to them.

    I am heterosexual.

    I am not afraid of being called gay, in fact I would laugh if I was called gay.

    1. Is it like a nervous little laugh, like you’re afraid that person will come on to you but you sort of hope they do?

      1. Yeah, you got me. I am gonna tune a meat whistle because you come on to me.

      2. Would be kinda insulting if they didn’t at least show some interest don’t you think?

  14. I shop at Aldi. Big he-man boxes for free to pack your groceries. Really shows off my guns when toting one. Women buy the bags. How gay is that?

    1. I too shop at the German super market chain known as “Aldi” and do the same. Bags are for women [I always forget mine at home any way]

  15. I’ve been using reusable bags for almost 20 years, long before they become common in the US lol

  16. I don’t use them because I don’t want any part in this anti-science hysteria.

    Plastic bags for me and I gladly pay the dime for it.

  17. In Florida the recyclable plastic bags are still common – and that is what I use. Once a month I take my accumulated plastic bags and stuff them in the appropriate bin in front of my chosen grocery store.
    I prefer not to bother with washing the reusable bags, which I am sure get pretty gross quickly.

  18. I won’t use reusable bags because they need to be washed, and I have better things to spend my time and money on than washing shopping bags. I also reject the hysteria from the environmental extremists that plastic bags are harming the environment. The ones I get from stores are typically reused once or twice, then they end up in garbage bags or as garbage bags. How is a plastic bag inside a garbage bag in a landfill harming the environment?

    1. I also reject the hysteria from the environmental extremists that plastic bags are harming the environment.

      In the end, this is the correct position. It’s virtue-signalling all the way down.

      I still recall the greatest factionalized environmentalist struggle from the late-90’s – paper vs. plastic. Environmentalists were all sure that one was eco-friendly and other eco-evil. They were also sure that it was sufficiently obvious which was which that it merited treating those not in-the-know as lesser beings. I don’t think anyone ever did work out which has more negative effects on the environment, though, since neither has any, really.

      Recycling is a modern animist ritual. It’s an easy way to ‘save the planet’ without really inconveniencing yourself. This is shown by how hot-under-the-collar people get when you suggest (accurately) that recycling doesn’t actually achieve much. People are psychologically invested in the notion that it achieves everything, but generally aren’t interested in the details of what it does achieve.

      1. That’s right, and the day cometh, and that right soon, that they’ll all get an education as to what real environmental regulations look like, and how much it harms their existence, but by then it’ll be too late, their virtue signalling having enabled their new masters.

      2. The recycle bin provided by the city is the only way I’m able to get rid of all my Amazon boxes each week along with the normal trash.

        1. Damn! How many big black double ended dildos are you ordering every week?

  19. What is this thing called “grocery store”? My metro-hipster boyfriends eat all their meals in boutique vegan cafes.

    1. It’s a life-hack thing.

  20. It’s not that I’m not FASCINATED by the comments, but my takeaway from the article is the final sentence: “But regardless of the study’s merits, it has clearly been misreported by almost every outlet that’s picked it up.”

    I.E., the media really are the enemy of the people.

    Oh no! Does that mean I’m going to Hell for agreeing with Donnie Dumbo?

    1. Don’t worry: one of Hihn’s sockpuppets will be here tout suite to beat you up with its wet verbal noodle.

  21. Our tax dollars are being spent on what?!?

    Man, I wonder if I should write myself a grant proposal….

    1. I’m wondering if I can get a federal grant to start an organ harvesting company that drags progtards off the street and performs a clean sweep on them. I can see it working if I’m very careful with the phrasing.

  22. The only one I use is a wine tote. It holds six bottles. So when I go to the grocery and buy wine I get 6 at a time and you get the case discount for that.

    I want the plastic bags anyway. We have 2 dogs so use them to clean up the doggie poop.

    1. You can order them on Amazon by the thousands. They are dirt cheap.

  23. I haven’t been to a grocery store in maybe a year. My elder family members think it’s some kind of horrendous laziness to get groceries delivered (in a 2-hour window!), but that’s just small-minded nonsense. Driving a car to a store and spending half an hour finding shit, checking out, and driving back home is time that can be better spent watching Netflix, commenting on Reason, masturbating, or other productive activities. See the big picture folks.

  24. I personally hate plastics and I’m not gay for sure

    تجهیزات شبکه

  25. I find it a little funny that people have trouble looking at the issue through an objective lens and just tend to line up with what their team tells them to think about it

    Almost everyone that I know that religiously takes those bags to the store tends to be one of the bleeding heart lefties, and all the conservatives laugh at them and their pussy ass bags they use in San Fran, and act like they MUST use as many straws and plastic bags…because the dems dont want them to and delicious lefty tears etc

    Our local store gives them out now a lot, I used to just get paper bags (easy to recycle, reusable for a good amount of stuff) but they have given me enough free ones (when you purchase a certain amount) that I have plenty of free ones and no problem using them, it just creates less waste, less shit sitting around for me to throw out etc. I think its a good market solution. They want people to use these bags, they give them out for free rather than charging if you spend a certain amount there, no regulations needed. I have less garbage sitting around my house. It’s a govt-less win win.

    1. In some places, it’s illegal for them to give you any bags for free.

      As for the plastic grocery bags, almost any single grocery item you put in there has more plastic than the bag itself. It’s absurd about to worry about the plastic in the bag.

  26. “The media are misreporting this one wildly.”

    When someone or a publication is lying, it’s really OK to say they are lying.

  27. Do they draw lots and the loser has to put his byline on dumb stories like this?

  28. I can’t decide if this article is fake news or about post truth science.

    Personally, I don’t want anyone handling my groceries and the dipshit public’s unwashed filthy disease spreading shit bags.

    1. It’s all a plot by the Jooooosssss!

  29. Just remember that you have to believe that the Red Cross was so incompetent that they were completely unaware of 95% or 5,629,000 deaths that they were responsible to record.

    That’s required for your dipshit commitment to a false narrative. Fill your boots.

    1. Just remember RobMisek wont respond to photos of mass graves, or Nazi mobie execution squads firing into crowds of Ukranians at the bottom of the fresh trench they just dug

      1. Pictures of bodies in trenches are a dime a dozen during war.

        The ONLY reports of gassing prisoners came from the British war propaganda department, who are on record admitting they had zero evidence of it.

        When the Red Cross reports that officially there were only 271,000 deaths at all camps, when the capacities of all the camps crematoriums was close to that number, when they had ever opportunity to photograph the ridiculous shower water/ cyanide mechanics and present it as evidence at Nuremberg but NOT ONE photo exists, when witnesses are paid, when confessors are the ONLY accused to live, etc. etc. etc., your false narrative is truly pathetic.

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