Friday, February 18, 2011

Gender and Meat

When I teach units involving popular culture, and particularly about advertisements, I focus a lot on gender stereotypes. We discuss things like what foods get associated with a particular gender ("Close your eyes and picture 'beer drinker.' Who are you picturing?"). And we discuss meat. There are so many representations of Men in popular culture as voracious meat eaters (when men are shown cooking, it is usually over a grill), that Manhood and consuming animals are closely associated. Sometimes I perceive that in American culture, I'm not seen as a "Real Man" because I am a (mostly vegan) vegetarian (and a pacifist too at that).

At Grist, Holly Richmond complains about a trend of mainstream media articles, ripe with gender stereotypes, featuring shock at discovering male vegans. She's right in what she says, though I wonder if baby steps toward less rigid gender stereotypes about food and eating are still steps worth taking. Those steps are definitely still worth critiquing too, of course.

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