Desiring Masculine Non-Green Products in a Feminine Culture: An Exploratory Study on Norwegian Millennial Men

Anders Toralfsøn Brunæs & Sheida Charlotte Pakzamir

Student thesis: Master thesis


The present study takes its outset in consumer research's increasing attention to understand how consumers can be persuaded to choose green products with low environmental impact rather than non-green products. There is a growing focus on environmentalism in Norway and millennials are most willing to adopt green consumption behaviors. The country's feminine culture implies that men and women should be equally concerned about the environment. Still, research reveals that Norwegian millennial men consume more non-green products and are less willing to consume green products than Norwegian millennial women. Studies from masculine cultures show that men's maintenance of their masculine gender identity might be an explanatory variable for these differences between the genders because green consumption is associated with femininity and women, and non-green consumption is associated with masculinity and men. The question remains whether Norwegian millennial men hold the same associations, if they also fear feminine products and desire masculine products and if this can help explain why they prefer non-green products rather than green products. The study positions within Consumer Culture Theory because it examines how Norwegian millennial men’s self-concept, gender identity, and socio-cultural context impact whether they consume green or non-green products. Eight exploratory qualitative semi-structured interviews are executed to investigate these connections and understand Norwegian millennial men’s preference for non-green products. The findings show that Norwegian millennial men do not associate green products with femininity and women, hence this is not an explanatory variable for why they do not prefer green products. However, a fear of standing out from the crowd and coming off as morally superior may partially explain why they refrain from green consumption. Conclusively, the present study indicates that Norwegian millennial men make sense of their desire for masculine non-green products through their notion of maintaining a coherent gender identity, while their acceptance of a fragmented self-concept allows them to be masculine, nongreen, and green simultaneously.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages242
SupervisorsTorsten Ringberg