Real Men Don’t Eat Meat. Real Men Don’t Eat Plants. “Real Men” don’t exist.
The concept of “real men” is probably one of the weirdest I’ve ever come across, particularly when it’s used in relation to veganism. Are we really differentiating between “real” and “fake” men? Would someone mind telling me how I can identify a “fake” man? Would his dietary habits give me a clue?
So what is a man if he’s not a “real man”…? The inference is that he’s a woman, a flimsy, useless, weak and silly girly-girl. Am I the only one offended by this? This idea that the worst thing to be is female?
These slogans encourage us to fit into neat concepts and neat categories. Gender isn’t a binary thing, all of us have “masculine” and “feminine” attributes and fall on a spectrum of gender identity. It seems to me exploitative to play into people’s insecurities about fitting into a social norm. And I don’t want people to be shamed into going vegan.
I have heard many gay animal rights campaigners speak out about how their campaigning for marginalised non-human animals comes from an empathydrawn from their own marginalisation by society. I feel deeply that my feminism and veganism are deeply bound together as I oppose the objectification and exploitation of the female body regardless of species and so am deeply revolted by the “production” of dairy and eggs coming as they do from the manipulation and commandeering of the animals’ reproductive cycles. My point is that sociaal/animal justice issues overlap, they can never be seen in isolation and we have to be ready to look carefuklly at ourselves when we spot contradictions.
Even though PETA continues to use racist, sexist and transphobic attention-grabbing techniques, my opinion is that this is not the banner vegans should be rallying behind. We want to see a better world for the animals and whilst we’re at it lets try and create a better world for human animals too. A place where we are not judged on gender, appearance, sexuality or conformity. Let us ALL be free