This just in: Meatless meals aren’t masculine. According to the results of a new research project, some men are outright embarrassed to order vegetarian fare. Researchers with the Man Food Project sat down with 22 British guys to explore the social and cultural pressures that persuade blokes to choose meat when they’re out to eat.
The sample group was split into three categories: men who were vegetarian for environmental reasons, men who wanted to build muscle without eating meat, and men who only had access to food banks, and therefore ate mostly shelf-stable grub.
“A number of them relayed different experiences that indicated shame, embarrassment, or conflict-avoidance that on occasion led them to eat meat, or offer meat to guests in their house,” lead researcher Dr. Emma Roe, a professor at the University of Southamptom, told Munchies, adding that men are often expected to be the butchers and barbecuers of society.
“Eating animals has been a key feature of the history of human civilization,” she added. “It is a demonstration of the distinction between society and nature, because we can eat them. Men have been the dominant power in human civilization; thus, the association of eating meat is stronger for men than for women.”
A 2016 survey by the Vegan Society also found that men choose meat and animal byproducts like butter and cheese drastically more often than women. According to the survey, about 63 percent of vegans in the U.K. in 2016 were female, while only 37 percent were male.
Regardless of how plant-based eating might reflect on a man’s identity, it has increasingly become an option for everyone in recent years. Vegan foods haven’t always been so readily available for people dining out, but today, there are tons of amazing vegan restaurants and vegan-friendly resorts for herbivores around the world.