First, a study due out in October in the Journal of Consumer Research:
You Are What You Eat: Why Do Male Consumers Avoid Vegetarian Options?, Press Release, Journal of Consumer Research, 16 May 2012
- There was a strong connection between eating meat — especially muscle meat, like steak — and masculinity.
- That people rated meat as more masculine than vegetables.
- That people viewed male meat eaters as being more masculine than non-meat eaters.
- That across most languages (23 analyzed), meat was related to the male gender.
"To the strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, All-American male, red meat is a strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, All-American food. Soy is not. To eat it, they would have to give up a food they saw as strong and powerful like themselves for a food they saw as weak and wimpy."
Mike Tyson's take on not eating meat? "I wish I was born this way."
Here's a clip from an interview he did at his home in Arizona last year. (Who knew Tyson was a bird man?)
Greta Van Susteren of FOX News: How long you been a vegan?
Tyson: Two years.
Van Susteren: Notice any difference?
Tyson: I feel awesome. Feel awesome.
Van Susteren: Mentally feel any different with vegan?
Tyson: Incredible. Incredible. I wish I was born this way. Just when you find out about the processed stuff you've been eating. I wonder why I was crazy all those years.
And a clip from an interview he did with Details Magazine in August 2010:
Details: I hear you're vegan now.
Mike Tyson: Yeah, it's been eight months with this vegan stuff, but I get these explosions of energy. I don't know how long they last, but they're like explosions. So powerful.
Details: Is it a calmer energy?
Mike Tyson: Oh, I don't know if I'd go that far. I don't think it's been long enough for that kind of Zen shit.
Details: So you're going to go the rest of your life without eating a candy bar?
Mike Tyson: Maybe so. I'm pretty fucking extreme.
Details: Not even a Baby Ruth?
Mike Tyson: Oh, man, that's the best. Chocolate and peanuts. Nah. I ate, like, the tiniest piece of meat, and I woke up violently sick. It was vicious pain. I was throwing up. And I realized meat's become a poison for me now.
The Details interview is engaging. I don't have a great interest in boxing but the bits about fellow boxers, especially Jack Dempsy and Muhammad Ali, were something else.