Meat and masculinity among young Chinese, Turkish and Dutch adults in the Netherlands

Appetite. 2015 Jun:89:152-9. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.02.013. Epub 2015 Feb 11.


The achievement of sustainability and health objectives in Western countries requires a transition to a less meat-based diet. This article investigates whether the alleged link between meat consumption and particular framings of masculinity, which emphasize that 'real men' eat meat, may stand in the way of achieving these objectives. From a theoretical perspective, it was assumed that the meat-masculinity link is not invariant but dependent on the cultural context, including ethnicity. In order to examine the link in different contexts, we analyzed whether meat-related gender differences varied across ethnic groups, using samples of young second generation Chinese Dutch, Turkish Dutch and native Dutch adults (aged 18-35) in the Netherlands. The Turkish group was the most traditional; it showed the largest gender differences and the strongest meat-masculinity link. In contrast, the native group showed the smallest gender differences and the weakest meat-masculinity link. The findings suggest that the combination of traditional framings of masculinity and the Western type of food environment where meat is abundant and cheap is bound to seriously hamper a transition to a less meat-based diet. In contrast, less traditional framings of masculinity seem to contribute to more healthy food preferences with respect to meat. It was concluded that cultural factors related to gender and ethnic diversity can play harmful and beneficial roles for achieving sustainability and health objectives.

Keywords: Ethnic groups; Health; Masculinity; Meat; Sustainability.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • China
  • Diet / ethnology*
  • Ethnicity*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Masculinity*
  • Meat*
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / ethnology
  • Turkey