When you think of how many vegan people you know, how many of them are men?
In 2016 a survey by The Vegan Society found that 63% of vegans in the UK identify as women. Similarly, a 2014 US study found that current vegans and vegetarians consisted of 74% individuals identifying as women.
Most news articles and blog posts discussing these findings point to the connection between toxic masculinity and animal products consumption. Eating meat has become, in certain cases and for some people, synonymous with power, prestige, or domination. Empathy and compassion are understood as “feminine” traits, which means that not only is it easier for women to connect emotionally to animals and thus adopt a more respectful lifestyle but also society is less accepting of men who are vegan since they would be showcasing more feminine traits.
Have you ever noticed how dangerous animals (= predators) tend to be depicted on toys and clothing aimed at boys, while vulnerable and cute animals (= prey) will be found on products aimed at girls? From a very young age, boys grow up through the hunter/prey prism, placing them on top of the food chain, and learn that they need to be dominating and imposing, just like the powerful animals on their toys. The identification of men with predators is extremely old and is due to the common cultural legacy of raising sons to be warriors. This comes with a certain package of personality traits men should supposedly gravitate towards, such as being unemotional, cruel, aggressive, physically strong, etc.
In this way, meat consumption and the use of violence has grown to align with cis-heterosexual hyper masculinity. Embracing such a vegan lifestyle would allegedly pose a threat to certain men who identify as virile and dominant beings. With this kind of conditioning, it is no surprise that jobs and hobbies that revolve around animal exploitation tend to be dominated by men. Examples include workers in slaughterhouses, farmers, drivers of animal transports, fishers, hunters, or fans of horse/dog racing.
While there are several articles by members of the LGBTQIA+Lesbian (L), Gay (G), Bisexual (B), Trans (T), Queer (Q), Intersex (I), Asexual (A), + denotes an umbrella term used by 'marginalised sexual and gender diverse people whose gender, gender expression, or sexual identity do not conform to cis-gender or hetero-dominant gender identity'. This acronym is intersectional by virtue of its nature as well as non-exhaustive and inclusive (as denoted by the +). Over the years, the + has been understood as encompassing Questioning (Q), Two-spirit (TS), or Pansexual (P). In other words, this term represents fluid (non-conforming) notions of gender identity and sexual orientation supposedly transgressing the binary constructs of our society (male v. female and heterosexual v. homosexual).close. community who report a correlation between being queer and vegan, sadly there are no reliable statistics to back this up with numbers. However, it is noteworthy that the greatest correlation seems to be between lesbian women and veganism, as well as that the majority of these articles report the views of queer women, trans men, and woman-presenting non-binary people. Regarding the veganism of solely queer people who were raised as men, it seems to be rather a case of “gay” and “vegan” being interchangeable and connected insults (because being seen as a more feminine lifestyle) in the minds of bigot people. What is true, however, is that many vegans who are also part of one or more oppressed groups (such as LGBTQ+ people, people of colour, and disabled people, for example), tend to become aware of the similarities of oppressive systems. For them, being vegan is the next logical step in refusing to be part of the system that oppresses themselves and others.
On the other hand, veganism is often actively marketed as a “feminine” interest. There are countless lifestyle blogs and magazines that offer a stereotypical mix of vegan recipes, beauty tips, and so-called self-care. The goal behind of all of these topics tends to be more that of being fit and looking attractive rather than ethics or real self-love.
The similarities between the oppression of women and other human groups with the oppression of animals have been pointed out by various vegan feminists, such as Carol J. Adams. Far from being only a diet or lifestyle choice, being vegan has great political implications.