Vegans of Color

Because we don’t have the luxury of being single-issue

Vegetarianism and the Hypermasculine January 25, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Royce @ 9:07 pm
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Originally posted at Afronautical.

So I began thinking the other day about the bizarre relationship between food and gender (and of course sexuality). It is pretty well known that meat is associated with masculinity (perhaps lending to the higher rate of certain health issues in men?). If you want examples: here here here here here. Men eat more meat than women traditionally, etc etc. However, I came to thinking– how is my masculinity affected. After all black men are hypermasculinized in the public discourse… so do I come out not as demasculinized? How masculine, in the public eye, is a Black male vegan compared to a White male vegan, or an Asian male vegan, or a Latino vegan, or so on and so on.

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5 Responses to “Vegetarianism and the Hypermasculine”

  1. vegansofcolor Says:

    Thanks for re-posting this — I really hope folks will start discussing this, b/c the ways that race & gender & food & culture all intertwine are so tangled & so important.

    I know that Asian men are generally perceived as less masculine (although Asian women are often hypersexualized, of course — but are rarely if ever shown, say, in movies w/an Asian man — who are rarely shown as sexual objects, period). I’d imagine veganism would probably add to that.

    If men who consume a lot of meat are v. masculine, what does that make women who consume a lot of meat? I don’t think it makes them “dykey” or whatever (& then there’s the stereotype of a certain kind of lesbian, of being a hippie earth mother veg*n). Does it just make them “normal”? And how does race affect the perception of women not/eating meat?

    Oh, I’m so hoping folks will come & offer their thoughts on this post! Thanks for writing.

  2. Felicia Says:

    This is such an interesting topic. Considering that the common belief is that we all “need” meat to survive, this is somehow doubly true for men who are generally expected to be stronger – and therefore require even more meat! Since strength=protein=meat.

    The image most often pictured when one thinks about vegetarians is one of very thin, pale, whites. People seem to have a hard time connecting vegetarians with masculine things like sports (football, boxing) or even muscle in general! Because how can you be a MAN and have this tree-hugging, animal-loving, concerned about the environment persona?

    As a black female, I have often found it more difficult to have conversations about veganism with my black friends and family than with non-blacks. It seems to be met with much more resistance to the idea. We hold on so strongly to our food – allowing it to somehow define us.

    It all seems kind of ridiculous, but as is often the case, ridiculousness runs rampant . . .

  3. vegansofcolor Says:

    Hey Felicia, have you checked out the Sistah Vegan Project? There’s so much good stuff there — I can’t wait for the book to come out!

    And I totally agree w/you about the stereotypical vegetarian being a weak, wan white person. Blah.

  4. [...] from the same blog, check out Vegetarianism and the Hypermasculine.  In our society, is there a ’stigma’ placed on guys who regularly refuse to eat [...]

  5. [...] signals the variety of topics covered with an eye to intersections. For example, recent posts cover vegetarianism in relation to the hypermasculinity attributed to black men and the whiteness of those skinny women who promote veganism by using a sexist and speciest slur to [...]


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