It’s time for my favorite absurd kyriarchal narrative: men hate vegetables! (I’m still amazed that this is a thing.)
According to a study from the Journal of Consumer Research, people tend to equate meat and masculinity. (Unfortunately I do not have access to the original study, because the universe hates me.)
In a number of experiments that looked at metaphors and certain foods, like meat and milk, the authors found that people rated meat as more masculine than vegetables. They also found that meat generated more masculine words when people discussed it, and that people viewed male meat eaters as being more masculine than non-meat eaters.
Seriously, kyriarchy, WHY? Why is this a thing?
Of course I have a theory. (I always have a theory.) Partially, it might be the whole “we hunted the mammoth to feed you” thing; meat is associated with cowboys and hunters and flesh and blood, and therefore is really really manly. In addition, I think it’s a reflection of the whole “women are supposed to be thin” thing. Many women spend much of their lives dieting, which means that they tend to eat more non-meat food, as meat tends to be rather calorie-dense. Therefore, as a counterbalance (classic oppositional sexism!), men end up eating meat and a lot of it. And then there’s the fact that men actually do have a higher caloric need than women, which is met with calorie-laden meat and then exaggerated into “men love meat! All of them! Yay meat!”
The authors of the study recommended that, to get men to eat soy burgers, they should make them look like beef and give them grill marks. Oh, is that why all my veggie burgers have grill marks? I was confused, since they aren’t actually on a grill. I just hope they don’t end up advertising soy burgers as MANLY MAN MAN BURGERS FOR MANLY MEN WE PROMISE YOUR PENIS WON’T FALL OFF IF YOU EAT IT YOU BIG STRONG CIS MAN YOU; those kind of ads are always incredibly condescending.
Personally, if we’re going to be trying to get men to like vegetarianism, I am endlessly amused by the following, from the Mother Jones article I stole the study from:
Depicted: bodybuilder dude. Caption: 7+ feet tall, 435 pounds of muscle, VEGETARIAN. Biggest bodybuilder in the world: vegetarian Dalip Singh. Now what?