Men Who Follow Vegan And Vegetarian Diets, Such As Brad Pitt, Promote 'White Masculinity,' Says Sociologist

Joanne Eglash

Vegans and vegetarians typically cite a variety of reasons for going on plant-based diets and giving up animal-based products, ranging from health concerns to environmental. But according to a sociologist, men who go on vegan and vegetarian diets are actually promoting "white masculinity," reported Fox News.

A teacher at North Carolina State University, Mari Mycek, is a vegan. She interviewed 20 men who were vegans and vegetarians. In the wake of those interviews, the instructor authored "Meatless meals and masculinity." The article discusses the "intersectional understanding" of eating plant-based meals and masculinity.

When Mari began the project, she assumed that men who were vegans and vegetarians would say that they had stopped eating meat for emotional reasons. The instructor also anticipated that the plant-based male dieters would get negative reactions to giving up animal-based food products. But based on her interviews, she was wrong in her initial assumptions.

"[Vegan/vegetarian] men justify their identities as not only reasonable and rational, but not emotional. [It is a] manhood act...redoing gender."

Mycek believes that alternative diets, including both Paleo food plans and vegan diets, are mainly followed by people who are white. She also believes that women are oppressed by the power given to masculinity.

"Masculinity receives its prestige, privilege and the expense of women and femininity."

However, Mycek did note that because she herself is a female vegan, she may have been slightly biased in collecting data by interviewing men. Therefore, the sociologist believes that additional research should be conducted on the subject. The future research would ideally include interviews from different economic, race, and ethnic groups, she clarified.

Supporting the sociologist's claim about the media hyping celebrity male plant-based dieters as "hot," Shape magazine recently named the 25 "sexiest" male vegans and vegetarians, listing "sexy singer" Jason Mraz among them. Mraz recently turned to Instagram to praise a book about the power of food for healing the body and the earth.

"I ride longer distances on my bike, can do more pull-ups than ever, and my brain seems to have a larger capacity for new projects [on a plant-based diet]... It also makes me a lot better in bed."

Pitt famously received People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" honors twice.