THIS. IS. SCIENCE.
Doing vegetarianism to destabilize the meat-masculinity nexus in La Plata, Argentina
Taylor & Francis (publisher of learned journals)
Journal: Gender, Place & Culture
A Journal of Feminist Geography
In patriarchal societies where hegemonic masculinity implies an imperative to eat meat, vegetarianism disrupts food culture, raising questions about how vegetarians do, re-do, and rework gender. Analyzing 23 interviews in La Plata, Argentina, I find that the narratives of conversion and social pushback reported by women and men expose gender enactment and social reinforcement of the binary. At times, vegetarians compensate by drawing on scripts of femininities and masculinities that uphold difference, e.g. women cook meat and reassure meat-eaters; men make rationality-based claims and demonstrate strength. Yet in other moments, vegetarians defy attempts to hold them accountable to gendered social expectations. Women, for example, assert authority over their diets; men embody rejection of the meat-masculinity nexus by adopting a worldview that also rejects sexism and racism. I contend that in such a context, we cannot separate the ways people ‘do vegetarianism’ from how they ‘do gender.’ Doing vegetarianism in interactions drives social change, contributing to the de-linking of meat from gender hegemony and revealing the resisting and reworking of gender in food spaces.
Keywords: Food culture, gender performance, identity, meat and masculinities, resistance, veganism and vegetarianism