by Jon Guze
Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation
That’s the conclusion of a recently published paper called, “Meatless meals and masculinity: How veg* men explain their plant-based diets,” by a PhD candidate in the sociology department at NCSU named Mari Kate Mycek. Here’s the abstract:
Scholars have found that assumed connections between meat eating and performances of masculinity are perpetuated across the American public sphere. However, food expectations and choices are constantly shifting and evolving over time. Recent cultural shifts in the middle and upper-middle class American foodscape that moralize “good” eating as choosing local, organic, and eco-conscious foods, prompts the questioning of their social effects for vegetarian and vegan men, who hold a previously-stigmatized consumption identity. This article analyzes qualitative interviews conducted with twenty vegan and vegetarian men in a semi-urban area of the southeastern United States to better understand how they conceptualize and explain their food consumption identities in relation to their broader identity practices. I find their performances of masculinity often defy the conventional feminization of meatless diets, while also upholding gendered binaries of emotion/rationality and current tropes of white, middle-class masculinity.
H/T: Toni Airaksinen.