I wonder what the gender breakdown is amongst the greater Paleo community. As mentioned in the article, both genders tend to associate meat consumption with masculinity. Would this result in a greater number of male adherents to a Paleo style of eating, due to men wanting to feel empowered and women fearing defeminization?
Should I feel obligated to slam down burgers while the girl next door noshes on yogurt and soy granola clusters? Or rather, does society promote that type of dietary compartmentalization?
Haha, not in MY world!
I eat more steak & burgers than my husband (former rugby player.) In fact, he's chowing down on a "girly" roast chicken as I type...
This is a good question for a few reasons.
All that being said, it wasn't a group of women who came up with Epic Meal Time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wFB_vHVFM_8
So yes, I think men can take the meat love a little too far (tee hee). But this is not my surprised face. And I celebrate it too, in my own quiet way, with a huge effin' grin everytime I cook up some bacon or carnitas or grill a steak and I think, "I get to eat this and look/feel amazing too." What a life.
I get strange looks at work when I'm eating steak at 9am. I choose to interpret it as envy. I think my Five Fingers dock me more lady points than the steak, though.
I think there is a societal dietary compartmentalization, where men are supposed to be manly and gnaw on a steak that they hold with their bare, dirty hands, while women are supposed to be dainty and lady-like and eat a salad, in tiny little bites, and pretend it's filling.
But I do not care. Meat makes me happy, and it sates me, especially with coconut oil and butter. So, societies expectations be damned, I will continue to eat my steak, or roast, and I will enjoy it, very much. I'm pretty sure I eat more meat than my boyfriend, he's into veggies more than I am. I used to be obsessed with veggies and no-fat yogurt, so it's possible I'm swinging the other way, for a while, and it might balance out more, later.
I don't consider eating meat to be a gender specific thing, though, myself. I consider it to be a human thing, where we need meat, and men might eat more, because they tend to be larger and have a faster metabolism than women, thus needing more food, preferably meat. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong about that.)
I've always eaten steak; French women eat it raw. Your cited gender stereotypes are only from the last 30 years, and largely in North America. English people of both genders are happy downing the traditional Sunday roast. When I was in Oz, all the women were dead-on with a rifle on the sheep ranch in the Outback and they certainly enjoyed hunting. Travel more and realize how limited one's preconceptions are. . . :)
As a "diet" Paleo is according to the survey mostly women despite MDA's heavy Grok message. Considering how many women are seeking health, a more realistic and sustainable body weight, and to reclaim their fertility, I'm not surprised.
Andrew Badenoch (of Evolvify) had an interesting comment on this study: "It's also possible that this is an instance in which language and metaphor are shaped by the reality humans evolved to thrive eating animals".
Given that physical strength is often considered a masculine trait, perhaps meat's role in promoting strength gave rise to its status as a manly food. And perhaps meat's lower ranking on the list of feminine foods is due in part to society's view of strength (again in a physical context) as opposing femininity. Personally, I don't see eye to eye with society on this one, but that's just me.
A while ago I moved to an area where females usually do not shave their armpits. I've noticed how I no longer view hairy armpits as unfeminine. In the same sense, I've also stopped viewing meat eating as unfeminine–I think broader societal acceptance of this would be good. That's just my opinion.
I don't know. Either way, society, man. It's crazy.
I seem to be a frequent advocate of more moderate consumption of animal products than many round these parts. I don't attribute that to my feminine side, but to my actual connection with food production.
The first sentence of that puff piece starts with, "We know eating red meat can kill us." So am I really going to take seriously anything else it says?
That said, yes, certain foods are perceived as more masculine or feminine--I'm old enough to remember the "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche" bumperstickers of the '80s. You never see men featured in ads for yogurt, flavored coffees, chocolate, or Lean Cuisine, and women are only in beer, frozen pizza, and chip ads as servers and/or decoration, rather than consumers. I know plenty of women who wouldn't dream of ordering a bloody ribeye steak on a first date, and men who would never order a salad in a restaurant--even if that was what they really wanted.
But to get to the question at hand: I don't see why not wanting to eat red meat would keep someone (male or female) away from paleo, if they were genuinely interested in it and understood the principles behind it. One could be a pescetarian and still "do paleo" (and I imagine someone will soon identify themselves as such). Eating red meat is not a necessity. And since paleo tends to attract a intelligent, inquisitive crowd--qualities women are as likely to have as men--there's no reason why individual women are less likely to investigate and try paleo as individual men. In fact, women may be slightly more likely to try it because actively seeking out information about food and weight loss methods is already a big part of many women's lives.
And since paleo goes against so much CW, those who are willing to try it are more likely to have already tried other ideas and ways of living that go against the grain. A woman who decides to try it may have long since decided that gendering foodstuffs is stupid, sexist, and arbitrary, and thus enjoys her steaks without shame. A man who tries paleo may have come to it through alternative diets such as veganism and vegetarianism--which are often considered effeminate--and still do paleo successfully without ever eating beef or pork. There's definitely room in the paleo tent for both.
Lifting heavy weights is "manly" and worry about bodyfat is "womanly," but do you see that stopping anyone on here from doing either? I think that when making a lifestyle change as deliberate as going paleo, most people are more concerned with their own self than any predetermined, outdated construct.
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