New research suggests some men identify with a new form of masculinity that values authenticity, domesticity, and holistic self-awareness.
- Media and societal norms have been feeding us the same "meat is manly" ideology for decades, maybe without many of us realizing it.
- A new study questions the stereotypical narrative that real men eat meat by taking a look at the variation in how men identify themselves and their values.
- The psychological link between meat and masculinity will likely remain alive and well, however, this study (and others that follow suit) can continue to challenge the narrative.
The idea that "meat is manly" has been peddled for years - in commercials, on advertisements, in stories passed down the patriarchal line for generations. In 1999, Carol J. Adams released what would be the most well-known stab at this ideology with her book "The Sexual Politics of Meat", which is an in-depth assessment of the relationship between masculinity and meat, often pointing to American media as a primary source of meat pandering towards "masculine" society.
Society’s psychological link between meat and masculinity
One 2018 study found that men routinely incorporate more red meat in their diet to preempt the negative emotions that are caused by threats to their masculinity.
Photo by bbernard un Shutterstock
With the release of her book in 1999, Adams was able to highlight the idea that meat has become something of a symbol of masculinity, mainly by companies attempting to promote meat sales. Putting that theory to the test in today's society, one simple search for "making salad" on a stock image site will give you countless photos of women making salads in their kitchens. Another search for "barbeque" will show dozens of men grilling meat outdoors.
This association between meat and masculinity is something that has been deemed a societal norm for decades, perhaps without many of us even realizing it. One 2018 study found that men routinely incorporate more red meat in their diet to preempt the negative emotions that are caused by threats to their masculinity.
A 2013 study argued Adams' original theory on the sexual politics of meat with results that suggested men associate eating meat with animals being lower in a hierarchy system than humans, whereas the majority of women who eat meat try to disassociate animals from food and avoid thinking about the treatment of animals.
Alongside the narrative that meat is masculine comes the stigma around vegetarianism or veganism. These are both things that society deems "soft", "sensitive" or "whiny".
According to this Vegan Society survey, while the number of vegans is rapidly increasing (there were three and a half times more vegans in 2016 as there were in 2006), there is still a massive gender gap, with 63 percent of participants identifying as female and 37 percent identifying as male.
Researchers on this survey theorize that the main cause of this gap is the psychological link between meat and masculinity that is seemingly everywhere in today's society.
Some men identify with a new form of holistic, self-aware masculinity
The results of a new 2020 study reveal that there are new forms of masculinity that are linked with less meat consumption and a more positive attitude towards vegetarianism.
Photo by Stock-Asso on Shutterstock
A new study questions the stereotypical narrative of carnivores by taking a look at the variation in how men identify themselves and their values.
In the study, 309 male meat-eating participants were asked about their self-identification with new forms of masculinity, their attachment to eating meat, their willingness to reduce their meat intake, and their general attitudes towards vegetarians.
The results of this study suggest that men who identify more strongly with new forms of masculinity tend to consume less meat, have a weaker attachment to eating meat, and have a greater tendency to reduce their meat intake when possible. These men also showed more positive attitudes towards people who choose to be vegetarians.
This study is the first of it's kind to underscore the idea that not all men think alike and that biological sex differences shouldn't be taken into account when studying the consumption (or lack of consumption) of meat products.
Changing the way researchers conduct studies like this can help turn the tide.
Modern studies such as this are leaning more towards different tools that place less of a stigma on various types of masculinity. This study, for example, used the New Masculinity Inventory (NMI), where high scores can suggest holistic attentiveness, questioning of male norms, authenticity to self, and sensitivity to male privilege.
Studies like this, where not only the results but the tools used to conduct the study take into account the varying types of masculinity in the participants, can only offer more accurate results due to being more inclusive and less stereotypical.
Does vegetarianism stand a chance against meat-eating masculinity?
The sheer amount of information surrounding vegetarianism and all the attached benefits is astounding - so why is society having such a hard time keeping up? Why are men still less likely to decrease their meat consumption?
The "meat is manly" ideology will likely remain alive and well in today's society due to advertisements and societal norms, however this study (and others that follow suit) can continue to challenge the narrative. We can continue to promote the idea that vegetarianism isn't feminine and eating meat isn't masculine - they are simply choices that we make based on our unique views and how we feel about the information that is presented to us.
Voters decided on major changes on issues like marijuana, abortion and Medicaid.
- Alabama and West Virginia passed amendments that would effectively outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe.
- Medical marijuana is now legal in Missouri and Utah, while Michigan legalized recreational marijuana.
- Missouri and Arkansas will raise the minimum wage significantly over the next several years.
The 2018 midterm elections were marked by massive voter turnout, a record number of female candidates, and no shortage of controversial tactics from state and federal politicians. On Tuesday night it was clear that the results would be mixed, with no clear "blue wave" or "red wall" dominating the country's political landscape. Democrats managed to capture the House of Representatives while Republicans gained even more seats in the Senate, a result many had broadly predicted.
At the state level, many voters chose to pass landmark amendments and measures on issues like abortion, Medicaid and marijuana. Here's how the country voted on some of the most significant measures on state ballots in the 2018 midterms.
Three states voted on abortion-related ballot measures this year.
Alabama passed Amendment 2, which bans funding for abortions and grants constitutional rights to unborn children. The amendment also states there are no constitutional protections for a woman's right to an abortion.
West Virginia voters also passed an amendment to ban public funding for abortion and, like Alabama, declare no constitutional protections for abortion. The amendment states that "nothing in this constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion," including no exceptions for rape, incest or life of the mother.
Both amendments would effectively outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
Voters in Oregon voted against a measure that would've prohibited publicly funded health care programs from covering abortion.
Massachusetts voters chose to uphold a state law that protects transgender people from discrimination in public places, like locker rooms and bathrooms. The state had already passed legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity in the workplace or for housing, but those protections didn't allow, say, a transgender person to use the gendered bathroom of their choice.
Critics of the law say it would endanger people by providing predators with easier access to public spaces.
"We are deeply disappointed that the people of Massachusetts will continue to be forced to sacrifice their privacy and safety in the name of political correctness," said Andrew Beckwith, a legal analyst for No On 3- Keep MA Safe, which opposed the measure.
However, there have been no recorded instances of sexual predators taking advantage of such laws in the 19 states that have already passed them.
Three states legalized marijuana in some form.
Michigan moved to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older, becoming the first Midwestern state to do so. It's now legal for residents in Michigan to grow up to 12 plants.
In Missouri, voters faced three medical marijuana measures on the ballot this year. They chose to pass Amendment 2, which legalizes medical marijuana with a 4% sales tax, the funds of which will be used mostly to aid military veterans. Those with a prescription will also be allowed to grow plants at home.
Medical marijuana also passed in Utah, where patients with physician approval can purchase two ounces of marijuana from a dispensary during a two-week period. Residents who live farther than 100 miles from a licensed dispensary will be allowed to grow plants at home.
Missouri and Arkansas, two red states, both passed incremental increases to the minimum wage: Missouri will raise the wage from $7.85 to $12 by 2023, Arkansas will raise it from $8.50 to $11 by 2021.
Four states had ballot measures on whether to expand or continue expanding Medicaid. Voters in Utah, Nebraska and Idaho moved to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, including to individuals younger than 65 who live significantly below the poverty line.
Montana voted to expand Medicaid in 2015, but the measure came with a sunset clause that expired at the end of 2018. Yesterday, the state voted not to continue expansion funding.