An academic journal published an article by a doctoral student. candidate at Pennsylvania State University who argues that eating meat maintains a society where “hegemonic masculinity” is the norm.
Anne DeLessio-Parson, whose article appeared in Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, based her research on Argentina’s “meat-centric” culture.
“I argue that in such a context, we cannot separate the way people ‘do vegetarianism’ from the way they ‘do gender’,” wrote Anne DeLessio-Parson. “Doing vegetarianism in interactions drives social change, helping to dissociate the meat from gender hegemony and revealing resistance and gender reshuffling in food spaces. “
DeLessio-Parson theorizes that being vegetarian in the South American nation is a political act that contributes to the destabilization of the gender binary, or the idea that there are only two sexes, male and female.
“[V]egetarians defy attempts to hold them accountable for gender-related social expectations, ”she wrote. “Women, for example, assert their authority over their food; men embody the rejection of the meat-masculinity bond by adopting a worldview that also rejects sexism and racism.
The Penn State student became interested in the subject after spending five years as a vegetarian in Argentina, where she worked as a community organizer and teacher. In an interview with Campus Reform, DeLessio-Parson said it was during her time in the country that she came to believe that vegetarianism was both a lifestyle choice and a feminist act.
“Women, one of the ways they push back on patriarchy, they say, ‘This is my body. You can’t tell me what’s coming in and going out, ”she told Campus Reform.
After being picked up by many far-right media outlets, DeLessio-Parson’s study has been criticized by many social media users… of both sexes.
“I guess I [sic] I’m going to reinforce gender stereotypes at lunch today with my ground turkey … and just when I thought I could escape politics at lunch! Whitney Joseph of Connecticut tweeted Monday.
“My carnivorous daughters are going to be really disappointed that I don’t want to promote hegemonic masculinity, so they have to eat salad while I finish my steak,” tweeted Frank Miller of Wisconsin.