Can you Be Vegan and Still Keep your Man Card? (Possibly NSFW)

Manly stereotypes have been around as long as the image of a brawny lumberjack graced the wrappings of our favorite paper towels.

We have “Hungry Man” frozen meals, deodorants that promise zombie-slaying odor fighting, and tales of men that eat raw meat they slaughter themselves.  Marketers show us that the only real way to enjoy a sports game is by drinking beer and slapping some juicy steaks on the grill, or downing a platter of buffalo wings.

But where do tofu scrambles and bags of soy curl jerky come into play?  I want to identify some of the fallacies (freudian slip intended) that exist.

The awesome chart, originally created by Erin Judge, appeared on The Good Men Project.
The awesome chart, originally created by Erin Judge, appeared on The Good Men Project.

1. Compassion and sensitivity are girly.

This social stigma has been around since the wheel, I am sure.  We all know men don’t cry, right?  So what happens when you watch “Meet your Meat,” start bawling, and adopt a pig?

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Many people (myself included) become vegan for the animals’ sake. And, while we may never break down the social issues around sensitive guys, I have no problem admitting that the epiphanies I have made during my vegan journey have certainly dampened (as well as opened) my eyes.  Without emotion, we suffer ignorance in my opinion.  Denying yourself the ability to feel, thus denies your ability to truly know.

Bill Burr has a bit on being manly and our societal issues that is NSFW.

Get your own tears here and be a damn man, will ya?

2. Soy products have estrogen and will shrink your balls.

This is one of my favorite questions posed by my non-vegan friends.  And yes, the meat/dairy industry has done a great job of passing along (or at least exacerbating) these false statements.

According to an article by the New York Times, “… phytoestrogens mimic estrogen only very weakly. A number of clinical studies in men have cast doubt on the notion that eating soy influences testosterone levels to any noticeable extent. And most large studies of soy intake and breast cancer rates in women have not found that it causes any harm, said Dr. Anna H. Wu of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. In fact, work by Dr. Wu and others has found that women who consume the equivalent of about one to two servings of soy daily have a reduced risk of receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer and of its recurrence.”

Although this is a single source, there is a plethora of information on the web.

no-steroids1

My biggest concern however is for the meat eaters and vegetarians. How can you be so worried about plant estrogens while you are eating rbGH (used to promote milk production), Estrogen, IGF-1, testosterone, and progesterine?  An article by NYU points out the many steroids, antibiotics, and hormones deliberately added to animals for the reasons of consumption.

3. Caring for yourself is not manly.

We all have or had grandfathers that “hated Doctors.”  We know, deep inside than men can take care of themselves, and don’t need any special focus on health.  Right?

Wrong.

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Societal stereotypes show that men tend to place their own health at the bottom of a long list of priorities.  This is, in my opinion changing.  I have had many coworkers eating salads and almonds at lunch, and the social pressures as a guy seem to be lifting.  Hopefully this shift will change.  As Alex Bove says in his blog “We must stop shaming men for knowing how to pronounce quinoa, and for wanting to adopt a diet based on compassion, concern for the environment, and concern for their own long-term health.”

It is OK guys!  Eat your almonds and tofurkey pizzas.  Caring for yourself by eliminating meat is perfectly fine.

So what do we do now?

Primarily, marketers need to get the message that men are not stupid sports-headed jocks that go around chanting “me want meat” and not caring for themselves, the animals, or the planet.  The only way they will ever get that message is if we stop supporting them with our dollars and instead support brands that ditch the sexist marketing.

Animal rights groups are just as guilty of sexist marketing.
Animal rights groups are just as guilty of sexist marketing.

Alex Bove’s blog (which is great BTW) has this “When we value meat eating as a masculine activity, we devalue not only women, who are statistically more likely to be vegetarians (for reasons of health and compassion for animals), but we also devalue men who choose vegetarianism or veganism.”

So our second task is to stop devaluing those among us that choose, personally to make positive changes in their lives.  I love the quote “people mock what they do not understand” and this rings true here.

As an Offroading vegan, I am always walking this fine line.  Other Jeepers’ initial, perceived image of me as a vegan is often as a softie or a nancy.  But when I pull up in my Jeep on 35s and an AR-15 on my back ready for a day of shooting, their false perceptions quickly change.

And that is our third, and potentially most important task.  As vegan men, we need to wear our veganism proudly. And let it mix openly with the things that make us who we are.  Are you in a biker club?  Work in construction?  Whatever it is we do, we must start breaking down the misconceptions on what it means to be a man and a vegan.

Wear your veganism PROUDLY!!!

5 thoughts on “Can you Be Vegan and Still Keep your Man Card? (Possibly NSFW)”

    1. Great!! Please let me know their thoughts. I have had raving praise and evil scorns for that post, so I am looking for some feedback.

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  1. You should have your “man card” revoked just for being so insecure about your masculinity. Who gives a shit if people think you’re a “softie” “nancy”? I literally laughed out loud when I read this: ” But when I pull up in my Jeep on 35s and an AR-15 on my back ready for a day of shooting, their false perceptions quickly change.”

    A jeep and a gun…WHAT A MAN! You should know that when most people see a guy with a jacked up Jeep and a gun they think he’s probably compensating for something.

    I suggest you seek some professional help for your self-esteem.

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    1. Sorry to hear you missed the entire point of my post. The point is that most of society has preconceived notions of a vegan, and I take pride in smashing those stereotypes. Most people assume vegans all drive fixed gear bikes and have never even held a gun, let alone own a few. I do not agree with these stereotypes.

      The biggest compliment I can receive is “Wow…you’re a vegan!?” We all have some work to do in changing the public perception of veganism.

      But, thank you for your suggestion on professional help.

      Like

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