Even though women are no longer scarce in Alaska, we still have the highest male-female ratio in the nation, and the cult of rugged masculinity still has many Alaskan followers. Drive the speed limit, and a full-size pick-up will be on your bumper, and then pass you on a double-yellow. The Alaska State Fair has three Carhartt events, including a “Crusty Carhartt Contest,” open to both women and men. Even some of our Democratic politicians subscribe to the “Drill, baby, drill,” school of resource management.
Alaskan environmentalists are a passionate but beleaguered minority. Politicians exploit Alaskan xenophobia by claiming that the “greenies” are Outsiders “telling us what to do.”
Suddenly we were talking about plastics, and their toxic effects on our bodies.
There are pockets of liberalism in Alaska, but Eagle River is not one of them. Encountering an environmental ally there, in an auto parts store, was a surprise.
He kept insisting, however, that young boys were most affected by plastic’s toxins leaching into their bodies. Finally he said, “That’s why we’ve got so many effeminate young men.”
Aha. That explained the intensity in his voice. It wasn’t generalized concern about the well-being of children and the health of our planet. It was homophobia.
Here in Alaska, it’s “better green than gay.”