Toxic masculinity has reared its ugly head again in a new poll, which showed almost three quarters of men would choose to die a whole decade earlier over giving up meat.
The Australian survey was commissioned by No Meat May, a group that encourages people to give up meat for a month to combat climate change, global food scarcity, health problems and animal cruelty.
The poll, which included 1,000 respondents, found that almost half (47 per cent) of all participants thought of meat as a “masculine undertaking”, and almost three quarters (73 per cent) of men surveyed said they would rather die 10 years early than give up eating steaks and burgers.
Although a vast majority of respondents (81 per cent) said they cared about the climate crisis, 79 per cent said they were not willing to give up meat to combat it.
No Meat May co-founder Ryan Alexander told Green Queen: “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.”
“We reckon it’s time to step up and reject outdated and damaging gender stereotypes around food,” he added.
The bizarre and toxic relationship between meat and masculinity has been going on for decades.
One 2018 study found that “men routinely incorporate red meat to preempt the negative emotional states caused by threats to masculinity”, and when Burger King released its plant-based Impossible Whopper last year, men even panicked about the soy protein burger causing them to spontaneously grow breasts.
A meat-free lifestyle is not the only way to save the planet that men think of as “feminine”.
In 2019, researchers found that straight men perceive using a reusable shopping bag as a “feminine” act, and would avoid recycling for fear of “looking gay”.
Further research published in the Journal of Consumer Research in 2016 also showed that men will become even less environmentally friendly if their masculinity is “threatened”.
When researchers showed men a “pink gift card with a floral design” and asked them to buy a lamp, backpack, and batteries, they chose products that were far worse for the environment than those presented with a plain gift card.
Researchers said: “Men may shun eco-friendly behaviour because of what it conveys about their masculinity.
“It’s not that men don’t care about the environment. But they also tend to want to feel macho, and they worry that eco-friendly behaviors might brand them as feminine.”