Threatened at the table : meat consumption, maleness and men's gender identities

Pohlmann, Attila
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2014]
Manhood is a precarious state (Vandello et al. 2008) for masculinity is bestowed upon men by others in society and needs to be continuously earned by following male gender role norms. Previous research has found that meat is associated with maleness in Western cultures and men use meat incorporation as a signal to communicate masculinity. This association leads to heavier meat consumption among men and has been linked to negative physical health outcomes as well as increased mortality. In this dissertation, a set of 4 studies was conducted to demonstrate that men express higher preference for meat compared to women (Study 1); when facing threats to masculinity, men tend to perform defensive acts in the form of increased meat consumption in order to repair their threatened masculine self-representation (Study 2); compared to vegetables, only meat incorporation has the ability to symbolically restore threatened masculinity and alleviate the aversive emotional states triggered by threats to masculinity (Study 3); and finally, affirming men's global sense of masculine identity by priming a masculine prototype complementary to their inherent masculine gender identification alleviates the aversive psychological state triggered by the threat; and leads to improved attitudes toward an otherwise eschewed vegetarian food item (Study 4). This dissertation offers practical guidance for marketers on how to influence men's meat consumption in positive ways, eventually enabling healthier eating behaviors.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
masculinity, ideology, social identity, symbolic consumption, man of action hero
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