From your hundreds of Facebook friends, plus your dozens of coworkers and your handful of close friends and your immediate family, chances are… I’m the only vegan you know.
More specifically, even if you do actually happen to know another vegan, they probably are female; since 79% of vegans are women.
Therefore, by default, I am the most masculine vegan you know. I’ll talk more about that in a minute…
With about 2.5% of the American population being vegan, and only 21% of that group being male, it’s very clear that when it comes to my vegan lifestyle, I am in the minority.
To make myself even more of a rarity, unlike most vegans, I am not non-religious nor politically liberal. (I’m a Christian who is a Libertarian- which means I don’t endorse the Democratic nor the Republican Party, nor do I believe in forcing my religious beliefs on others.)
I am a very rare demographic. You likely don’t know any other vegan males in your social circle who are also both religious and non-political.
And somewhere in the midst of all these labels, I’m by default, still masculine. I promote healthy masculinity; in fact, it’s one of the themes of my blog: celebrating masculinity as a dad. Of course, I recognize that the definition of masculinity varies based on who you ask.
No, I don’t hunt or fish; nor do I care about sports. Plus, I’m useless when it comes to home repairs…
But I do love exploring the forest with my son, taking him to monster truck events, testing out new cars, and mountain biking- to name a few of my rugged hobbies.
I’ve noticed how our society has collectively accepted the idea that eating meat (especially beef and bacon) is masculine. So imagine what a strange bird I am, being masculine, yet denying any reliance on pork (including bacon) or shellfish for the past 7 and a half years, nor meat for the past 4 and a half years, nor eggs and dairy for the past 3 years.
But my own definition of masculinity has more to do with my role in society; more importantly, within my family of four. I see true masculinity as a set of paradoxes that I’ve collected.
I will close by sharing my concept of masculinity, which aligns with the traits I aim for daily, as a husband and father; all of which are rooted in emotional intelligence. This is my creed of masculinity. In my imperfect human state, I strive for and meditate on these attributes:
Strong, yet loving. Disciplined, yet merciful. Leading, yet serving. Assertive, yet empathetic. Adventurous, yet grounded. Dangerous, yet protective. Hard-working, yet laid-back. Structured, yet creative. Committed, yet free. Confident, yet humble.