How We View the Masculinity of Vegan Men is Changing

Currently, there seem to be more vegan men out there than ever before. More guys are being vocal about going plant-based for their health or choosing veganism for its ethics, which means there must be something different about how vegan men are perceived by the general population. Like every other progressive movement, however, things inch along slowly. Although, research is now finding evidence of shifting attitudes toward veg-minded men—especially in younger generations.

Herbivorous dudes seem to get more flack than their female counterparts, which brings into question what it means to be a man. Masculinity, which was once thought to exist on a binary spectrum, is now seen as more of a scatterplot with endless presentations and combinations with other gender traits. Yet, the archaic view of masculinity requiring the worship of burgers and steak and erroneously trying to embody a vision of cavemen who consume three servings of meat per day persists as the ideal image of those who present as masculine.

What is most baffling about this stereotype is that it shuns actions or ideas which represent totally healthy and compassionate ideals. A man chooses to eat vegetables and legumes because he does not wish to follow in his father’s omnivorous footsteps of developing cardiovascular disease and obesity? What a wimp. Another guy chooses veganism because he does not wish to pay people to terrorize and slaughter innocent animals? He’s a pansy. Yet another chooses veg foods to reduce his carbon footprint for the benefit of future generations? Loser! What on Earth is going on here? Since when is taking care of yourself, others and the planet seen as an eye-rollable offense?

This may be precisely what younger generations are thinking, as new research has shown that, while masculine stereotypes still exist toward vegetarian and vegan men, the participants in one study (with an average age of 32) were less judgmental than previously studied groups. The research also shed light on the reasons there were “less masculine” perceptions: the reasons why men choose vegetables over meat. It turns out choosing plants was understandable when it’s for health reasons, yet ethical vegans received harsher judgment.

Over the years, men have been shattering the stereotype by announcing their veganism confidently and shamelessly. Famed actor, bodybuilder and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger recently went public about the importance of going at least “part-time vegetarian.” David Carter, “The 300 Pound Vegan” and football player is educating people about ethical veganism. John Joseph, old school punk-rocker, Ironman triathlete and author of Meat is For Pussies, inspires anyone who will listen to eschew a violent lifestyle and embrace compassion. George Matthews’ blog, A Vegan Man, breaks down what it means to be male and an ethical vegan and offers a growing network of support. Robert Cheeke has built an empire for vegan bodybuilding, the ultimate macho pastime. It’s clear that the idea of “manliness” is moving away from the caveman image and toward being informed, compassionate and holistically health-conscious.

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162 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Cabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Daveyabout a year ago

I'm truly surprised gender has ever been an issue in dietary choice.

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Nell N.
Past Member about a year ago

I look here the chickens and I would have them as much I get the own eggs from them. Then I know what they have eaten.

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Muff-Anne York-Haley
Muff-Anne York-Haleyabout a year ago

Being Vegan is sexless, it's just the right thing to do!

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sandra m.
sandra m1 years ago

if the man is strong enough to admit it even tho he knows what other men will say.. then he's pretty damn strong.

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CLAUDE Hennie
CLAUDE Hennie1 years ago

Veggies and vegans men less masculine ! ????
Yeeees ! I've got it ! They don't go hunting, of course !
Sorry, it's so stupid !

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Thomas G.
Thomas G1 years ago

Stupid article

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey1 years ago

Noted.

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LF F
LF F1 years ago

I believe in part time vegan for myself. So far as masculine or not, food should not be the deciding factor, character should be.

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Jennifer P.
Jennifer P1 years ago

I see men that eat meat, hunt, and exploit animals for profit as the weak ones. They are the bullies, the ones that have to build the image of toughness around them because, in truth they are weak. They are killing the innocent and vulnerable. Only cowards do that. The vegan men, they ARE tough, they are the ones standing against the majority, defending the innocent and vulnerable. They are not trying to build a false image around them. They are men of action, they are not hypocrites, they live by their honor and integrity and it isn't built up on false courage, they do not ignore reality because it is overwhelmingly sad, they face it head on and take action to make things better, to make themselves better. It isn't just about what they eat, it's about their strength of character. They are ages ahead of the rest and that is very attractive.

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