Masculinities 101 is a forum for activist scholars in the field of men and masculinities to draw connections between social science research and everyday life. Well, what’s more everyday than what we eat? Accordingly, I recently contributed a piece on meat and masculinity. I was pleased, to say that least, that organizers welcomed and invited a topic, a connection, so rarely discussed and made in the field. In transcending traditional limits and boundaries, Masculinities 101 pushes the field, and the work, further. Read my piece here and check out an excerpt below.
Unfortunately, these messages work. Studies increasingly confirm the gender norms associated with meat eating. For example, researchers at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky found that men in their study linked meat eating with manhood, power, and virility. Another study at the University of British Columbia found that vegetarian men were seen as less macho (and “wimps”) compared to those men who eat meat – even by non meat-eaters and women. This is particularly troubling given the very real connection between meat consumption and negative health outcomes for men, such as heart disease. Yet again, just as we see with other violent and aggressive behaviors, that which is considered manly is that which actually harms men. Moreover, given the realities of situations like food deserts and health disparities, these messages, easy to brush off as routine sexism, have very real consequences for men in marginalized communities.