Today makes 3 years I’ve been a vegetarian and more than a year and a half since I’ve been a vegan, so I figured it would be a relevant time to ask the question, “Why do we associate masculinity with eating red meat and bacon?”
There’s no question: Eating big, fat, juicy burgers with bacon (and cheese) is manly. It’s even more masculine to be the one grilling those burgers.
Why, though? How is it that meat consumption, especially particular red meat and bacon, is associated with masculinity?
The familiar stereotype I have in my head is of a man and woman on a date. The man orders a big steak. The woman orders a salad.
But what if you reverse that? The woman orders a big steak and the man orders a salad. It would seem ironic, somehow.
I suppose a lot of the reason that eating red meat and bacon is associated with masculinity is because it used to be that more men were actually involved in raising and hunting the meat, then providing for their families with it.
However, times have changed. It’s not really that way anymore.
Even the phrase “bringing home the bacon” is losing relevance. My wife makes more money than I do. In fact, all of the men that I work with in my office actually make less money than their wives do. Part of that is that our wives all have Master’s degrees and we just have 4 year degrees…
So, is it particularly manly to go to the grocery store and buy meat? Or the drive-thru at a fast food joint?
Not really. But it still is manly to cook the meat (especially outdoors) and to eat it. We have carried over these ideas that eating meat is manly, though the validity and relevance of that concept is fleeting.
In fact, the over-consumption of meat is literally thinning out the herd. Consuming more than 4 ounces of meat per day (which is very little, actually) is undeniably linked to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease; all of which are some of the main killers of American men.
Let me also point out the fact that many athletes are sure to refrain from consuming much meat. They shy away from red meat and pork, instead focusing on apparently “less manly” options like chicken and fish.
So even men who are famous (and rich) for their strength and agility aren’t consuming red meat and pork at the same rate as most men.
With that being said, can you still be perceived as masculine yet not eat meat?
Something I see in “Facebook culture” is “real women have curves.” So… does that mean that women who don’t have curves are not real women?
Similarly, can you still be considered masculine and be a vegan?
As I’ve pointed out before, most vegans are actually women; most of them not being religious.
I think society is particularly confused by male vegans, especially if they are Christian. Growing up in the South like I did, it was nearly a sin to not eat meat.
Trust me, I’m not questioning my masculinity. I realize that the new modern version of masculinity has more to do with being a faithful husband and an involved father.
Today makes 3 years since I’ve eaten any meat; it’s been more than a year and a half since I’ve had dairy or eggs in addition to that.
Speaking for myself, at least, I feel plenty enough masculine.
If nothing else, I can drive a stick shift vehicle. That’s got to count for something.