It’s pretty easy to find examples of media in the West that tie meat-eating to manliness. Connected to this, NPR reports that in Japan, men who are taking on traditionally feminine traits are known as “herbivores.”
Described as “a quiet army of sweet young men with floppy hair and skinny jeans,” they may prefer “sewing, baking and crocheting clothes for [their] stuffed animals,” as does the protagonist of one TV show said to be popular among herbivores.
Though the story features a Sweets Club, for men who like desserts, nothing else about diet is mentioned. The mere idea of non-standard masculinity is enough to brand you as a wimpy leaf-eater, it seems — nothing in this story indicates that the men are, in fact, herbivoric in diet.
The story also demonstrates how manliness — or lack of — is tied to capitalism, economic productivity, & presumably providing for the family (& lustily creating one, of course): “But there are fears about the financial and social impact of herbivores. Their low levels of spending and lack of interest in sex invoke two of Japan’s biggest problems: its lackluster economy and declining birthrate.”
So if “herbivores” are men acting in un-manly ways, what about women acting in non-womanly ways? They’re carnivores: “economically empowered working Japanese women who know what they want.”
(Hat tip to Absolutely Fobulous for the link.)