Meat-eating seen as more macho

Male meat-eaters are seen as more masculine than their vegetarian counterparts, even by steak-dodging females, research from British Columbia has found.

Vegetarian men are seen as wimps and less macho than those who like tucking into cooked animal flesh, according to the study, although non-meat eaters were seen as being more virtuous.

The research is published in journal Appetite in a study entitled Meat, Morals and Masculinity. Dr Steven J Heine, of the University of British Columbia, told Appetite: “Meat has been closely associated with power and privilege – a staple for gentry and a rare treat for the peasants.

“Through abstaining from meat, a widely established symbol of power, status and masculinity, it seems that the vegetarian man is perceived as more principled, but less manly, than his omnivorous counterpart.”

The authors said that little research has been done contrasting perceptions of omnivores and vegetarians, particularly with respect to morality and gender characteristics. In two between-subject studies, scientists investigated people’s perceptions of others who follow omnivorous and vegetarian diets, controlling for the perceived healthiness of the diets in question.

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