If men who eat meat are generally considered to be more masculine by both men and women, perhaps it’s not surprising then that women are more likely to be vegetarian. But what about vegans, can "real men" really be vegan?
According to Alex Bove, founder of the Talk Like A Man project: “Meat and masculinity are intimately connected, and meat eating is also related to the oppression of women. Just as we dissect non-human animals’ bodies into cuts of meat, we dissect and fetishize women’s body parts. Studies have consistently shown that violence against animals is correlated with violence against women…the power relations that characterize patriarchal gender norms are reinforced by the imperative of male (masculine) meat consumption.”
Who knew that eating a bacon sandwich (or turning vegetarian) could be such a gender political act? So if “real men” eat meat (and oppress women apparently) and vegetarianism is for girls and feminists, what about vegans?
More vegans are men
According to new research in the US, men are more likely than women to go all the way and become strict vegans.
According to Kyla Wazana Tompkins, a professor who studies gender, food and culture (and a meat eater herself), there is something very masculine about following a vegan diet, which she describes as “total control of the body”.
One man who appears to have total control of his body is the vegan triathlete Dominic Thompson. He says: "[There's] nothing more cowardly to me than taking advantage of something that's defenseless. To me, compassion is the new cool.”
Real men do what they want
The Australian actor, Josef Brown, isn’t “man enough” to become a full blown vegan, but he is vegetarian and encourages other men to follow suit. He told Viva!LIFE magazine:
“There’s this old saying, ‘real men don’t eat quiche’. I say, ‘real men don’t get told what to do to be real men’. For me, being vegetarian is core to being a real man because it’s me questioning the clichés and stereotypes that surround us. It’s me questioning and rebelling against the conditioning that I’ve been brought up with… For me being a real man is having an original idea and having the guts and the commitment to stick by it. That’s what being a real person should be – woman or man.”
Josef’s advice to men who are on the verge of going vegetarian or vegan is “Just do it! Women and slaves have been emancipated and men should be emancipated from their clichés and stereotypes."
---Photo Credit: flickr/japokskee
Article by Glen Poole author of the book Equality For Men