Journal: Psychology of Men & Masculinity
Publication Date: 07/2018
Summary: Past research has highlighted links between meat consumption and masculine gender role norms such that meat consumers are generally attributed more masculine traits than their vegetable-consuming counterparts. However, the direct link between gender roles and men’s food choices has been somewhat neglected in the literature. Three studies conducted in Italy investigated this link between meat and masculinity. Studies 1 and 2 analyzed female mating preference for vegetarian and omnivorous partners, confirming that women preferred omnivorous men (Study 1 and 2), rated them as more attractive (Study 1 and 2), and felt more positive about them (Study 1) than vegetarians. Moreover Study 2 showed that the attribution of masculinity mediated this relationship, such that vegetarian men were considered less attractive because they were perceived as less masculine. Study 3 tested the relationship between the endorsement of food-related gender norms and food choices in a sample of Italian men. The results showed that men who perceived vegetarianism as feminine preferred meat-based dishes for themselves and expected their female partners to choose vegetarian dishes. Together, these findings show that gender role norms prescribing that men eat meat are actively maintained by both women and men and do in fact guide men’s food choices.