When it comes to justification for eating meat, men tend to really take the bull by the horns. They don’t just ignore the increasing evidence that it’s not good for people, the environment, or, naturally, for the animals who die so we can eat them. Instead, they come up with religious, philosophical, or health-based arguments for doing what they feel like doing anyway.
These insights came from a study looking at female and male college students and their attitudes about meat eating. The study discovered that while women who eat meat tend to try to dissociate from the issue or just not think about it (full disclosure: I eat tons of meat, think meat is pretty evil, and completely justify it with all kinds of acrobatic thinking), men aggressively justify and think of ways to characterize meat consumption as favorable. They come up with religious justifications. They actually deny that animals suffer when they are killed (oh yeah, a hammer blow to the head doesn’t hurt at all!). They say meat is good for you, and that animals are lesser beings than humans.
The upshot of this study is that the idea of pushing vegetarianism on men will not work if all we do is tell them, “It’s better for you.” Because although men might be interested in health, they are also very interested in feeling masculine and meat helps them feel that way. Now, interesting, I tell myself all those things about meat, too. I guess I love it so much I am not afraid of compromising my femininity?
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