Megan H. and Ami R. sent in contrasting examples of using gender to market fuel-efficient cars. Megan saw this ad (one in a series that plays on the “I’m a Mac/I’m a PC” Apple ads) advocating electric cars over gasoline-powered ones. In this ad, femininity is associated with environmental responsibility. The most stereotypically masculine man in the ad — the blue-collar worker in a hard hat and filthy clothes — represents the harmful oil industry. Beneficial, good wind energy, on the other hand, is personified by a pretty woman in a filmy dress. Her beauty renders the bad guys speechless:

Dodge, on the other hand, wants to distance its claims to fuel efficiency from any association with femininity. Ami found this ad for the new Dodge Charger in the magazine for Go! Chapel Hill, an organization that advocates less car use:

So here, fuel efficiency with is also associated with femininity, but in the negative sense of emasculation. The Charger is the one exception to the other fuel efficient cars out there. You can get better gas mileage and still protect your manly reputation.

For other examples of gender representations of the environment or environmental movement, see our previous posts on femininity and benign nature, using PETA tactics to oppose the BP oil spill, nature in vintage men’s magazines, and even girls can drive electric cars!