Some time back, my husband took part in what was promoted as a Beast Feast. Just imagine a giant smorgasbord of venison steaks, boar chops, and buffalo ribs without a single vegetable (or woman) in sight.
Can you picture it?
A hundred men chomping and swilling, grease dripping from their beards, talking about hunting, cars, tools, or whatever else it is that guys talk about.
While many of history’s gender stereotypes are easy to highlight and debunk, some prove to be more difficult case studies. Why are men thought to be the king of the BBQ pit and women the purveyor of salads?
Can I, as a woman, be trusted to grill the perfect steak?
Do men really eat more meat than women, and if they do, why?
This is something I really want to know!
Who Eats More Meat: Men or Women?
In an effort to find my answers, I turned to science.
What I discovered was that several studies have been conducted on the “men vs. meat” myth, and, surprisingly, produced consistent results.
- According to the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, men eat over 50% more meat than women.
- Another study shows that women are twice as likely to switch to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle as men.
Other studies from all around the world (not just Western culture) indicate that men, as a whole, consume more meat than women.
So, why is that?
In order to get to the bottom of this, I had to dig into the male psyche, which can be a bit confusing, but here are the highlights of what the experts have to say on the subject.
According to psychologists, contributing factors are partially biological and partially cultural.
Since Paleo times, hunting and providing meat have been the role of men. Hunting a gathering was women’s work. Therefore, meat and masculinity went hand in hand, and this conditioning has been passed down through the generations.
The common thought is that more muscle requires more protein and the average man is just as susceptible to self-image issues as the average woman. Subconsciously, they may equate eating more meat with bigger muscles.
These ideas typically exist in the subconscious mind. A man may not realize he eats more meat to “feel” manly, nor may a woman realize she avoids it to “feel” feminine.
That’s the amazing thing about historical conditioning – few people understand the role it plays in their daily lives.
The Average Is Not Everyone!
Of course, as with any myth, scientific fact, or study, it all comes down to the person. Plenty of men live a vegetarian lifestyle, and plenty of women would choose steak over a salad any day of the week.
Keep in mind that mass studies speak for groups as a whole, not for individuals.
Honestly, the answer to any question just depends on who you ask!
Does It Make a Difference?
Whether or not men eat more meat than women doesn’t really matter. What matters is that no one feels like they have to fit a stereotype. Men should not feel like they have to enjoy meat in order to be “masculine,” and women should not feel like it takes a salad to be feminine.
Whatever your taste preferences, be unapologetically yourself.