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Student op-ed: ‘Toxic masculinity’ responsible for hatred of vegans

From the student paper that brought you “Your [White] DNA is an Abomination” comes a piece to notify you that any distaste you hold for vegans and veganism may be rooted in that nasty ‘ol “toxic masculinity.”

Writing in the Texas State University Star, Zach Ienatsch claims those who harbor a “passionate hatred for plant-based diets” (and those who partake in them) are “common and accepted” because of TM (toxic masculinity) and “a culture of violence.”

You can throw in rape culture and homophobia to the mix, too, he says.

Part of the reason may be because most vegans and vegetarians are female (or, as Ienatsch says, identify as female):

Whether one wants to admit it or not, the idea of the plant-based diet has taken on a feminine identity. Common reasons people remove meat from their diet, such as compassion for animals and the planet, are also considered to be typically feminine. Women are generally raised and expected to be compassionate and deliberate when interacting with another person’s emotions. While men are generally more rewarded for being competitive, proud and tough, all values consistent with a culture which promotes the consumption of meat. For men, the decision to remove meat from one’s diet is often met with the stigma of not being a “real man,” incorrectly identifying meat consumption as a vital part of masculinity.

Ienatsch appears to have gotten this concept from Penn State sociology professor Anne DeLessio-Parson, author of
Doing vegetarianism to destabilize the meat-masculinity nexus in La Plata, Argentina. The article was published in a “feminist geography” journal.

According to the professor,

“In patriarchal societies where hegemonic masculinity implies an imperative to eat meat, vegetarianism disrupts food culture, raising questions about how vegetarians do, re-do, and rework gender.

“I contend that in such a context, we cannot separate the ways people ‘do vegetarianism’ from how they ‘do gender.’

“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.”

Late last year DeLessio-Parson discussed (or tried to discuss) her theory with Fox News’s Jesse Watters:

“[Eating meat] is one of the ways in which existing social structures including patriarchy can be reinforced,” she said. “It’s really complicated: eating meat holds a lot of symbolism […] the things we buy and put in our households – are fundamentally political acts.”

To be fair, Ienatsch does note that his assertions do “not mean all people who eat meat are bad people or that all vegans are inherently better people.”

Read the full op-ed.

MORE: Veganism ‘white thing,’ not sympathetic to ‘victims of racism’

MORE: Criticize vegetarianism? That’s ‘harassment’

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