For years, stereotypes have suggested that men who don’t eat meat are less manly than those who do, but it appears that society’s attitudes towards vegans and vegetarians are shifting.
As reported by Munchies, a new study from researchers at Earlham College, Indiana suggests that vegetarian men are no longer judged as being less masculine.
It’s another example of how attitudes towards outdated concepts of masulinity continue to evolve.
In the past, many guys may have been put off adopting a veggie diet, simply because they may not be seen as a so-called “real man”.
However, the new report published last month in Appetite journal by psychologist Margaret Thomas found that, although some of those views may remain, attitudes towards men who adopt a plant-based diet do appear to be changing for the better.
In the three-part study Thomas wanted to find out why people are so hung up on what people choose to eat and why.
To do this, she made more than 130 adult participants read two version of a story – one featuring a woman called Jessica and the other a man called Jacob. The stories were identical, other than the diets each character ate, and participants were then asked to provide feedback on how independent, health-conscious, masculine, or feminine they thought the characters were.
Analysing the results from the three groups, Thomas found that on average, people did not associate veganism with lower levels of masculinity, although it seemed as though many were more willing to accept vegetarianism than they were veganism.
Participants may have stereotypes about vegans as being effeminate. Alternatively, masculinity may be cumulatively calculated, such that the absence of things traditionally associated with masculinity (in this case, meat and high fat foods), may dock targets’ levels of masculinity in the eyes of perceivers.
The supposed health benefits of vegetarianism, not to mention high-profile footballers, bodybuilders, MMA fighters and wrestlers who are veggies working in perceived tough guy and “masculine” professions, may have something to do with this seeming societal shift.
So, basically, it looks like more and more people are willing to accept plant-based diets for both men and women, which is definitely no bad thing!
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