Are vegetarian men pansies? And meat-eating men more masculine?
Those are the suggestions of a new study which found a clear association between the way people view rib-and-steak kind of men, versus vegetarian, soy milk kind of guys.
In a study published this week in the Journal of Consumer Research, a team of US researchers examined people's word association between certain foods and the way consumers rate the ‘masculinity' of things like meat versus milk or vegetables.
In an "I Tarzan, you Jane," kind of result, researchers found that people tend to associate meat eaters as more masculine than vegetarians and vegans, both in the US and Britain.
After examining 23 languages that use gendered pronouns, researchers also discovered that meat-related metaphors were also more closely associated 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," the authors wrote. "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."
Meanwhile, in order to soften the tough sell of vegetarian -- and more heart-healthy -- products to men, researchers suggest reshaping soy burgers to make them resemble beef, and giving them grill marks to make them more appealing.