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Are Vegetarian Men Sissies?

Are Vegetarian Men Sissies?

A new study finds that women see vegetarian men as less masculine.

Men who choose not to eat meat have always dealt with a certain amount of jeering about their manhood, but this study makes it more clear than ever that even women who also do not eat meat think of vegetarian men as less masculine.

The study gave men and women descriptions of fictional students whose personalities varied on a single point: whether or not they ate meat or were vegetarian. Consistently the vegetarian students were estimated to be more virtuous, liberal, weight-conscious and pacifist, while the polar opposite was thought of the fictional students who ate meat.

The article implies that women are naturally more attracted to men they view to be more masculine, but it presents no evidence that this is a universal fact, and it’s simply not. Sexual attraction, like every other human preference from music to food, runs a diverse conscious gamut despite any subconscious bias.

It is true, however, that meat-eating has long been associated in human civilization – especially in the west – with a traditionally “masculine” gender archetype. Patriarchy, wealth and political power have been associated with meat because meat is inherently a luxury item. If meat is scarce in a community, the politically powerful get it first. If meat is scare in a family structure, the men and boys get it first.

But whether the masculine gender archetype is something that we as men should strive to live up to is another issue entirely.

As much as some animal advocacy groups are criticized for their over-sexualization of the animal rights debate, it can just as easily be said about the other side of the fence. Men are conditioned through subtle and not-so-subtle advertising and media saturation to associate meat with masculine sexuality in the most violent and oppressive ways.

Carol J. Adams examines the correlation of oppressive masculinity and meat-eating in her book and corresponding slideshow The Sexual Politics of Meat.

The idea that a choice not to consume meat could lead one to be considered less masculine or less attractive has more to do with our flawed cultural ideas about sexuality, gender roles, and power dynamics than it has to do with the personal failings of the individual who chooses not to eat meat.

If my choice to be vegan makes me less attractive or less masculine to a certain segment of the population, then I embrace that. I have no more desire to sacrifice my convictions to become more sexually attractive than I do to enhance my own personal convenience or satisfy a craving.

I do not define my manhood by my ability to overpower, dominate, or hurt other people or nonhuman animals. In the 21st century, we can hope to see a further denouncement of the stereotype that masculinity is defined by power and violence as athletes like Mac Danzig and Robert Cheeke give us a paradigm of masculinity that can include a thoughtful approach to animal exploitation as well as physical prowess.

Related Stories: 

Condoms Promote Awareness of Endangered Species

Vegan: More Than a Diet, More Than a Lifestyle

Hunters Are Not Environmentalists


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Photo: Sbocaj

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280 comments

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7:11PM PST on Feb 1, 2013

Vegan men are MORE sexy. Animal fat and cholesterol affect more than the arteries in the heart. It affects arteries elsewhere (if you know what I mean) Vegan men don't need Viagra!! I prefer men with morals who respect all sentient life. There are many vegan athletes such as bodybuilder, Robert Cheeke, triathlete Brendan Braizer- now that's sexy!!!

7:33AM PST on Jan 18, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

10:00PM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

What a man eats does not make him "a man". It's just silly to think that way. By the way, I agree with Bill K.

12:45AM PST on Feb 25, 2011

what's really sissy is a man who waits in ambush to blast an innocent animal with a high powered rifle then comes down from his tree stand to do high fives over the still warm corpse and call what he just did a sport.

12:45AM PST on Feb 25, 2011

I am with you brother. I don't think my being sick all the time, unable to eat and generally weak - the results of a meat centric diet of my past - would make me more attractive to women. Nor would sacrificing my belief that moving towards a Vegan diet being beneficial for me seem like a manly thing to do.

Also adding to a previous comment in regards to MMA fighters, Chuck Liddell had great success in his career after moving towards a more vegetarian diet where as Brock Lesnar ended up nearly putting a stop to his career, and life, when he developed diverticulitis from an extremely high protein diet.

3:39AM PST on Feb 24, 2011

If vegetarianism is "sissy", then presumably so is cooking, washing the dishes and looking after the kids. If that's true, I'll take a sissy man any day over a meat-eating, fight-loving, overweight macho man!

2:39PM PST on Feb 23, 2011

Hegemonic masculinity has very strict rules lol.
It is ridiculous to infer that male identities or a man is "more or less" man by the consumption of a food ... absurd
On the other hand a man with environmental awareness and respect for the rights of animals can be as attractive as a man who enjoys eating meat.
creating single break in the traditional paradigms of masculinity and femininity can be advanced to better relations between the genders. Please avoid prejudice, myths and stereotypes that brutalize people ..

9:38AM PST on Feb 23, 2011

John Fitch, a top MMA welterweight contender as well as Jake Shields the number one MMA welter weight contender are both vegetarians. I wouldn't dare to call them sissies.

8:37AM PST on Feb 23, 2011

Hell no. Men who practise veganism and vegetarian diets are way more manly than flesh chewers!!!!!

8:17AM PST on Feb 23, 2011

Absolutely NOT!!! Plain and simple.

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