Real Men Don’t Eat (Vegetable) Quiche: Masculinity and the Justification of Meat Consumption

Citation:

Rothgerber, Hank. 2013. “Real Men Don’t Eat (Vegetable) Quiche: Masculinity and the Justification of Meat Consumption.” Psychology of Men & Masculinity 14 (4): 363–75. 

Author: Hank Rothgerber

Abstract:

As arguments become more pronounced that meat consumption harms the environment, public health, and animals, meat eaters should experience increased pressure to justify their behavior. Results of a first study showed that male undergraduates used direct strategies to justify eating meat, including endorsing pro-meat attitudes, denying animal suffering, believing that animals are lower in a hierarchy than humans and that it is human fate to eat animals, and providing religious and health justifications for eating animals. Female undergraduates used the more indirect strategies of dissociating animals from food and avoiding thinking about the treatment of animals. A second study found that the use of these male strategies was related to masculinity. In the two studies, male justification strategies were correlated with greater meat consumption, whereas endorsement of female justification strategies was correlated with less meat and more vegetarian consumption. These findings are among the first to empirically verify Adams’s (1990) theory on the sexual politics of meat linking feminism and vegetarianism. They suggest that to simply make an informational appeal about the benefits of a vegetarian diet may ignore a primary reason why men eat meat: It makes them feel like real men. 

Keywords: vegetarianism, meat eating, masculinity, meat justification

Topics: Environment, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Health, Religion

Year: 2013

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