Of Meat and Men: Exploring Men's Experiences with Vegetarianism

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Lax, Jacob Benjamin
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Middle Tennessee State University
Research suggests an association between meat and masculinity, but little is known about men who are vegetarian. Drawing on literature primarily from the sociology of gender and ecofeminism, this thesis employs a phenomenological research design to explore how masculinity operates in the experiences of ten men who are vegetarian. Three themes emerge from the analysis. The first theme, rationality and emotionality, shows that most men in this study use logic and reason to justify their decision to become vegetarian rather than making more emotional appeals. The second theme, stereotype avoidance and self-presentations, describes images of “PETA extremists” and “preachy vegetarians” and reveals how the men wish to present their vegetarianism in ways that avoid disrupting the status quo. The final theme, masculine, vegetarian identity and the resolution of gender threats, describes the complex and sometimes contradictory ways in which men who are vegetarian both reject and reproduce dominant constructions of masculinity. Together, the findings reveal that masculinity does appear to play some role in how the men in this study experience vegetarianism.
Ecofeminism, Masculinities, Vegetarianism