Meat and masculinities. Can differences in masculinity predict meat consumption, intentions to reduce meat and attitudes towards vegetarians?

Appetite. 2020 Apr 1;147:104559. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2019.104559. Epub 2019 Dec 15.


"Real men eat meat." While this idea is on the one hand widespread throughout time and cultures, it has also been criticized as being too stereotypical, not applicable to all men alike, and being dependent on group level cultural beliefs about gender norms. Increasingly some men question male norms and male privileges, and value authenticity, domesticity and holistic self-awareness. They identify themselves with 'new' forms of masculinity. This study investigates on an individual level if attachment to these newer forms of masculinity can predict differences in meat consumption, willingness to reduce meat, and attitudes towards vegetarians among men. A total of N = 309 male meat-eating participants were surveyed about their self-identification with new forms of masculinity, their attachment to meat, willingness to reduce their meat intake, and attitudes towards vegetarians. Results show that, as was predicted, men who identify more strongly with new forms of masculinity consume less meat, have a weaker attachment to meat, have a greater tendency to reduce their meat intake, and have more positive attitudes towards vegetarians. In sum this study carefully suggests to not only take biological sex differences, but socially and culturally determined gender differences into account when studying or promoting the (non-)consumption of meat.

Keywords: Masculinity; Meat; Men; Vegetarian; Vegetarianism.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet, Vegetarian / psychology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Male
  • Masculinity*
  • Meat*
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Identification
  • Vegetarians