What Do Real Men Eat?
By Reuben Allen
What do real men eat? Meat, of course. That's what a recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research revealed. Once again a research team is spending so much time and energy to come to startling conclusions that we already know.
"We examined whether people in Western cultures have a metaphoric link between meat and men," say the authors, four college professors who have successfully reinforced stereotypes about vegetarians.
Their study, "Is Meat Male? A Quantitative Multimethod Framework to Establish Metaphoric Relationships," found a strong connection between eating muscle meat like steak and the perception of masculinity.
According to the authors, "To the strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, All-American male, red meat is a strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing All-American food. Soy is not. To eat it, [men] would have to give up a food they saw as strong and powerful like themselves for a food they saw as weak and wimpy.
"Meat is a major commodity and a very important aspect of human existence," the authors write. "Perhaps more than any other food, meat is laden with meanings because of its association with higher status and the killing of animals."
Surprisingly, the authors found that both men and women in the study believed that meat eaters are more masculine than vegetarians. Common perception is that many more women than men are vegetarians, although a Vegetarian Resource Group Harris Interactive Poll in 2011 reported, " There is a misconception that more women than men are vegetarian, but it appears that the split may be pretty even."
To prove meat = macho, the authors of "Is Meat Male?" conducted six different studies that included people from United States and the United Kingdom. The studies carried scholarly names like:
In one of the studies, those queried were asked to rate the "maleness" and "femaleness" of various foods. The top four masculine choices were medium-rare steak, hamburger, well-done steak, and beef chili while the women chose chocolate, peaches, chicken salad, and sushi.
In another experiment, subjects read a short passage describing the lifestyle and diet habits of a guy or a girl and then judged the person on 16 attributes, including how passive, feminine, strong, kind, and liberal they appeared. Characters who ate meat were deemed significantly more "masculine" than those who ate fish or vegetables.
This masculinity study reminded me of "Buy a Hummer to Prove Your Manliness," an article we wrote in August 2006. We were responding to General Motors commercial with two men waiting in a checkout line at the supermarket.
The first man is buying vegetables and a container of tofu. Looking behind him, he sees a man with a large rack of ribs and a bag of chips. Embarrassed by what he sees, the vegetarian man dashes out of the store and purchases a Hummer H3. The tagline that concludes the commercial says, "Reclaim your Manhood."
Fortunately, I ignored this assault on my manliness by not buying a Hummer. At that time we quoted a doggerel poet who wrote:
Pollutes the whole planet and that's a real bummer
In response to the current study, we once again turn to the doggerel poet who says:
Is enough to make your arteries clog and break
I have decided to remain wimpy, spineless, cowardly, sissified, and weak like all those successful vegan athletes and body builders I've proudly added to our Vegparadise Pinterest board. I'll keep eating those low-status veggies and tofu and pass up those death-wish, cancer-causing, medium-rare steaks, high-cholesterol chili, and Viagra-promoting hamburgers.
To celebrate my lack of manhood, I hope to throw a lavish party for my vegan buddies who want to maintain their good health, vigor, and virility. We'll invite curvaceous, gorgeous, slim and sexy women who enjoy the delicious feminine food we eat. I might even do something daringly vegan-macho--like throwing a tofu steak on the barbecue.