There’s no refuting the fact that veganism – at least certainly within the Western World – is on the rise. But is it’s rise equal among both genders? Are both males and females aligned within the movement? (spoiler: No. No they’re not.)
According to this interesting data from 2013 on TopRNtoBSN, it is stated that of the increasing number of active Vegans in the US, only 21 percent are male. There’s no arguing the last 4 years will have tightened that gap somewhat, but the discrepancy is startling. So is Veganism a female revolution?
Let’s look at why the increase is so disproportionate, and the reasons why the male of the species may be a little reluctant to become Vegan. 5 reasons, to be precise.
5 Reasons Why Men Are Scared to go Vegan
1.”Bro – plants are not going to get me gains.”
And from the outside, you can see why, right? Surely, consuming nothing but a plant based diet is somehow…lesser. Eating steak, consuming meat, drinking pints of egg whites is what makes you able to go that extra mile. But it’s really not. Protein can be found in a huge range of plants and is the core diet of some exceptionally ripped people. Not ‘gains’ focused? Fine. A vegan diet is generally considered healthier anyway. Go on. Ask anyone.
2. “Vegan? Bit…girly, isn’t it?”
Well…no, it isn’t. Whilst the statistics will tell you that the increase in those choosing a vegan diet is primarily driven by the female of the species, the matter of being vegan in and of itself is completely gender neutral. There may be, amongst certain members of the male population, a feeling that moving to a plant based diet somehow removes a degree of masculinity which is almost wholly derived from unfair and inaccurate stereotypes. A man is supposed to be a gruff, blunt, uncaring, grunting, physical wedge of meat – he doesn’t do kale. But yet in reality, we know those stereotypes aren’t true. Additionally, studies show that vegans have higher testosterone concentration than meat-eaters and vegetarians.
3. “The Options just aren’t there”
An issue which is faced by anyone considering becoming vegan – females included – is a concern that suddenly the food options are completely restricted. “I have to sacrifice my favourite foods for a plate of salad?” Luckily this isn’t actually the case. Whilst naturally the removal of meat is at the core of any plant based diet, the process of becoming vegan need not be so blunt. The opportunities for variety are almost endless, from completely vegan Big Macs to incredible, tasty curries. The key here is in information and understanding. There’s an argument to say “why synthesise non-vegan products like Big Macs – isn’t that just kidding yourself?” Well, there’s another argument to say “Who cares?”. If certain foods provide comfort, and that comfort can be recreated in a vegan context, let’s go for it. Everybody wins.
4. “Just a Trend”
There may be some feeling amongst certain circles that being or becoming vegan is a purely a thing to ‘try’ or that it’s a fad, a trend – something temporary that won’t necessarily last. Perhaps a friend tried it for a few weeks, it didn’t do anything for them, so why bother? Well as with any form of change, things take time. Becoming vegan shouldn’t be a temporary choice in order to improve some aspect of life / physicality (although it certainly will). Do it because you understand the health benefits, the moral benefits, and understand the influence it can have on the world around you – long term.
5. “My friends are totally gonna laugh at me”
In any country in the world, you will invariably find a culture between certain young men that is very similar. The ‘boys on tour’ culture, the ‘lad’ culture – the crew, the squad. The social dynamic within this crew is a very delicate thing – it cannot and should not be stretched too far else members can find themselves exiled or at very least find their status within the pecking order reduced. Becoming vegan, depending on your ‘squad goals’, can certainly cause such a rumbling amongst this squad. Once again, the key to handling this rumbling is knowledge and understanding – your own and that of your peers. Becoming vegan itself requires a firm belief and conviction, and this belief and conviction will hold an individual in great stead when confronted with queries the squad may have. Who knows, they may even get more curious themselves…
Ultimately though as veganism rises, it should be noted that we are in fact seeing an increase in men adopting the lifestyle for a number of reasons which go beyond personal health. And let’s be honest – is there really anything sexier than a man who shows compassion?