You Vegan, Bro?
I have both good news and bad news for my fellow vegans. The good news is that the population of vegan men continues to rise and there are probably more plant-based eating fellows than you think. The bad news is that I’m writing this piece because there’s still a dearth of vegan men and the gap between genders is wide. According to Huffington Post, women make up about 79% of the vegan population and guys are lagging at 21%. Interestingly, vegetarians are split between 59% women and 41% men. So, what gives? Are men inherently thoughtless brutes, who think with their stomachs and not with their hearts? Are guys hardwired to eat meat? Are boys just being boys?
Many feel that the underlying reason why men can’t shake off their meat fixation is machismo. And although machismo can be a factor for some men’s choice to never give veganism so much as a thought, it’s not the reason. Not by a longshot. Blaming the social prison of macho culture that we men have cultivated would be a lazy explanation that doesn’t have the data to back it up. After all, there are many kind and compassionate non-macho men who are not vegan as well. And most vegans, both men and women, were non-vegans at some point in their lives, further illustrating my point.
To be completely honest, I cannot offer a compelling and strong explanation why men make up an unacceptable 21% of the vegan population. However, I do offer a simple solution. Outreach! As vegan outreach continues to make huge strides, the vegan gap between genders will, by the law of averages, will naturally shrink. But to expedite the dire need to show compassion towards non-humans to heal our planet buy cultivating wheat and not meat, vegan men must (and excuse my use of a sports analogy!) come to bat and talk with their omni counterparts. Men like Gene Baur and Bruce Friedrich are credible ambassadors, who raise awareness in a non-threatening and convincing manner.
So, vegan men, I have a big favor to ask. Talk to your dad about going vegan. Speak with your uncle Nehemiah from Buffalo, NY about the environmental impact of factory farming. Offer a vegan burger to that “I can’t live without my steak” lovable lummox that you work with down at the plant. GET THE WORD OUT! With veganism, the world will only get better in every conceivable way.
Carlo, a guy.
Carlo Giardina, VLCE, is one-half of The Food Duo, a blog that celebrates all things vegan. He’s a counselor for people with intellectual disabilities during the day, and daddy to two cats at night. With his wife Carmella, he co-owns V Marks the Shop, an all-vegan convenience store slated to open in Philadelphia.