It’s a tale as old as time – meat is manly, it’s what a man eats. Meat-eating and masculinity remain inextricably linked across the globe, but especially in Australia, where a new survey has revealed that 81% of men consider themselves someone who cares about the environment, yet when asked whether they would give up meat if it meant would reduce their impact on the environment, 79% said ‘no’.
The study, commissioned by non-for-profit No Meat May, went on to reveal that the more meat a diet contained, the more masculine it was perceived to be by both male and female respondents. It found that 47 per cent of people still saw eating meat as a masculine undertaking, as opposed to something gender neutral or feminine.
“What was perhaps most shocking, was that 73 percent of male respondents said they’d rather reduce their life expectancy by up to 10 years than give up eating meat, with three quarters of men not convinced of the health benefits of a meat-free diet, despite the mounting evidence to the contrary,” No Meat May co-founder, Ryan Alexander said of the results.
“Significant research over many years has shown that eating meat and other animal products increases the risk of developing certain cancers, heart disease, obesity and having a reduced life expectancy, not to mention being one of the biggest contributors to global warming and the destruction of our environment. Yet our survey alarmingly shows that Australian men are either not aware of any of these facts, don’t believe them, or simply don’t care,” he said.
In order to help break down the stigma, Australian-founded not-for-profit, No Meat May, has challenged people around the world to eliminate meat from their diets for 31 days for health, environmental and social reasons, providing them with free support, tools, and an inclusive community to test out a meat-free or plant-based lifestyle for the month of May.
“We reckon it’s time to step up and reject outdated and damaging gender stereotypes around food. It’s never been easier to give up meat and whether you’re giving up for a month, or looking to make a long-term change, No Meat May is here to provide that safe stepping-stone, evidence-based information and a tonne of food inspiration to help you along the way.”
As the world grows increasingly curious about plant-based eating, No Meat May has experienced exponential growth since it kicked off in 2013, when Ryan and his partner challenged 30 of their friends to ditch meat for a month. Recognising that most people change incrementally over time, the movement was engineered from the outset to be educational, supportive and non-judgemental.
“More than 90 percent of past No Meat May participants go on to reduce or eliminate meat all together, but even those that go back to eating meat are still making a difference to their health, animal welfare and the environment by just taking that one month off.”