Of Masculinity and VegetarianismPosted: 19 Feb 2011
MMA is a tough, brutal sport. The fighters are in peak physical and mental condition. Though I may not watch MMA, I respect the fighters as superb athletes who put in months of rigorous training in a quest to be the best. I have a feeling that when many people think of an MMA fighter they, like me, think “bad-ass.” This is why I was happy to see an article on Yahoo! Sports this morning about the increase of vegetarianism among MMA fighters. Hopefully, it will help make more people aware of the benefits of a vegetarian diet and decrease the stereotype of a vegetarian as a pale and sickly hippy.
Starting in college I began to eat more “flexitarian” – that is to say, I ate meat occasionally and tried to avoid it if possible. However, I have been strictly vegetarian for the last two years (can’t say vegan because I do occasionally eat eggs and cheese). Mostly, eating a vegetarian diet is a non-issue. Nevertheless, I still encounter a lot of misinformation and stereotyping about it.
While I do not understand or forgive ignorance about the ethical, environmental and health benefits of eating a vegetarian diet, it is often the cultural aspects that really bother me the most. A lot of the time I get the “man up, eat some meat” comment tossed my way. Normally, questioning my manhood/sexuality/identity does not bother me. Whatever, right? I do, however, find it ironic that this usually comes from the doughy, pasty-white mouths of man-children – the ones that are probably more out of breath walking to their car than I am after running 5 miles. As Daniel Kucan writes:
So keep your blase’ hipster bacon references and your outdoor meat-fest cookouts, ladies. You all just look like cowards to me, silk-skinned scaredy-cats too fragile and wavering to resist your own appetites.
Vegetarians may have traditionally been the “kooks and outsiders,” but it is past time for that to change. Our country is getting fatter and sicker, the environment is rapidly being destroyed and a serious “moral schizophrenia” exists when it comes to animal welfare.
Check out my Delicious Vegetarianism Bookmarks for more links on this topic.