Colleen Patrick-Goudreau carves up the notion that there’s something manly about eating meat.
I’ve lost count of the number of times in the last 22 years my husband was asked if he would still be vegan if I weren’t around. Some have implied that I “whipped” him into giving up meat and that he would run for the nearest steak if I weren’t looking.
There has long been a connection in the public’s mind between eating meat and being masculine. Meat is macho; plant foods, effeminate. Meat connotes virility; plant foods, weakness. The media and those in the business of selling animal flesh (or cars or trucks or beer) reinforce these tropes with tired stereotypes and offensive ads, shaping the cultural perception that veggie burgers are for wimps, quinoa is emasculating and tofu will cause men to grow breasts.
Real men eat meat, so we’re told.
At this point, I know I’m supposed to counter these clichés by pointing out the fact that bulls and gorillas build muscle by eating plants and that countless vegan bodybuilders and endurance athletes are winning medals for their strength, speed and brawn.