An academic journal has published an article by a Ph.D. candidate at Pennsylvania State University that argues eating meat maintains a society where “hegemonic masculinity” is the norm.
Anne DeLessio-Parson, whose article was published in Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, based her research on Argentina’s “meat-centric” culture.
“I contend that in such a context, we cannot separate the ways people ‘do vegetarianism’ from how they ‘do gender,’” Anne DeLessio-Parson wrote. “Doing vegetarianism in interactions drives social change, contributing to the de-linking of meat from gender hegemony and revealing the resisting and reworking of gender in food spaces.”
DeLessio-Parson theorizes that being a vegetarian in the South American nation is a political act that contributes to the destabilization of the gender binary, or the view that there are only two sexes, masculine and feminine.
“[V]egetarians defy attempts to hold them accountable to gendered social expectations,” she wrote. “Women, for example, assert authority over their diets; men embody rejection of the meat-masculinity nexus by adopting a worldview that also rejects sexism and racism.”
The Penn State student became interested in the topic after spending five years as a vegetarian in Argentina, where she worked as a community organizer and teacher. In an interview with Campus Reform, DeLessio-Parson said it was during her time in the country that she came to believe that vegetarianism was both a lifestyle choice and feminist act.
“Women, one of the ways they push back against patriarchy, they say, 'This is my body. You don't get to tell me what comes in and out,’” she told Campus Reform.
After being picked up by numerous far-right media outlets, DeLessio-Parson’s study was lambasted by many social media users…of both genders.
“I guess im [sic] going to be reinforcing gender stereotypes at lunch today with my ground turkey.... and just when I thought I’d get to escape politics at lunch!” Whitney Joseph of Connecticut tweeted on Monday.
“My daughters the carnivores are going to be really bummed that I don't want to further hegemonic masculinity so they have to eat salad while I finish my steak,” tweeted Frank Miller of Wisconsin.