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Why do men like meat? Answer may be obvious

Updated: July 1, 2012 11:56AM

Duh. A terrific new insight about guys is reported in a study published in the current issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. The findings come out just in time to kick off the summer grilling season.

“We examined whether people in Western cultures have a metaphoric link between meat and men,” write the study’s authors, Paul Rozin of the University of Pennsylvania, Julia M. Hormes of Louisiana State University, Myles S. Faith of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Brian Wansink of Cornell University.

And the answer, they found, was a strong connection between eating meat and masculinity.

In a number of experiments that looked at metaphors and certain foods, the authors found that people rated meat as more masculine than vegetables. They also found that meat generated more masculine words when people discussed it, and that people viewed male meat eaters as being more masculine than non-meat eaters.

Most of the studies took place in the United States and Britain, but the authors also analyzed 23 languages that use gendered pronouns. They discovered that across most languages, meat was related to the male gender.

No doubt paleoanthropologists who have been going on for years about the sexual division of labor among primitive peoples will be relieved to have their research further bolstered by these insights from modern marketers.

Oddly, the online journal ScienceDaily wonders why male consumers avoid vegetarian options. It is possible that men choose steaks, bacon and burgers over veggies because they taste better?

Ronald Bailey is the science reporter for the libertarian journal Reason, where this blog item was posted.

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