Delving into a meaty issue

There’s a version of a joke that goes, “How do you know if a person is vegetarian/vegan? Oh, don’t you worry, they’ll make sure to tell you.”

I’ve been vegetarian for about nine years, and yes, I often have to say something about it, but generally just when it’s meal time. I don’t have any uppity notions about my diet. Recently I’ve seen a few things about eating meat that made me want to do a post on it.

It doesn’t bother me if other people eat meat (my husband and most of my family does) and it doesn’t bother me to see meat. As long as I don’t have to eat it, all good.

Eating-meat-makes-men-look-more-masculine

I am asked all the time why I went vegetarian and what kind of vegetarian I am.

The first part of the question yields no fantastic answer. My mother is a vegetarian and I’d been thinking about it for a while, after one gristly piece of chicken, I’d decided then and there I was done. The second part of that question I answer most simply is ‘nothing with a face’ (with several responses about creatures with no faces, like mussels – sigh) so no birds, no bodies, but I will eat dairy and eggs. A vegan lifestyle seems like far too much work.

I do wear leather products, so I’m not doing it for the good of anything (though I’ve heard my carbon footprint is smaller because of my diet, so bonus!) except I don’t want to have flesh in my body. Around the time I gave it up, however, I read Fast Food Nation, and it wasn’t so much the treatment of the animals but the workers that really stuck with me, almost a decade later.

My mother went vegetarian when she was a kid. She was about to eat a burger, when my uncle said ‘Don’t eat me!’ in a shrill voice, and suddenly she was done.

I think it’s interesting why people go vegetarian and when they do. If/when my husband and I have kids, that will be interesting. I think whatever they want to eat is fine, but my husband will have to prepare any meat, and clean up after. (though, granted, he does all cooking anyway!)

It just crossed my mind I should ask people why they eat meat. Wouldn’t that make for interesting answers? A lot of people believe they need meat in their diets. An article in Slate talks about the various reasons meat eaters justify their diet. Researchers at Lancaster University decided to look into it, inspired by Melanie Joy,  author (and social psychologist) of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism. Joy introduced the “Three Ns of Justification” for meat-eating – people generally believe it’s natural, it’s normal and it’s necessary. However, it’s certainly not necessary. There are plenty of ways to get the benefits of meat, such as iron, protein, etc., in a non-meat diet. The team at Lancaster University added a fourth N, because a lot of people enjoy it, eating meat is nice.

From the study
From the study

Another bunch of researchers, this time at Bellarmine Universityfound that men who eat meat believe it makes them look more masculine.  Meat-eating is apparently associated with ‘masculinity, power, and maturity.” Along with that, researchers at the University of British Columbia found that people view vegetarian men as less masculine, even vegetarian women apparently say this. I wouldn’t say less masculine, but I think male vegetarian, I think more sensitive, but also in touch and intelligent.

Funny enough, I still remember the taste and texture of meat perfectly. It doesn’t gross me out. I may even go back to it someday. But, I have no interest in it now, despite my husband hoping it’ll be any day now.

This YouTube video features an enlightened young child smart enough to realise what he’s eating when he eats meat, and decides he doesn’t want to. His mother is clearly touched.

So, do you eat meat? Would you give it up? What are your reasons for eating? Anything different than the above mentioned?

If you’re vegetarian/vegan – why? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.

 

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