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Man and His Meat

 

 ’Man and His Meat’

An exploration of the different social attitudes and expectations toward meat consumption that exist for males and females, and how various aspects of society influence these attitudes.

 


Contents
Introduction………………………………………………………………………....p. 3
Log………………………………………………………………………………….p. 6
Chapter One: ‘Feed the Man Meat’: The Development of the Association
of Meat Consumption with Masculinity and How Environment Affects
Consumption or Abstinence from Meat…………………………………..…….….p. 9
Chapter Two: The Functionalist Theory, the Media and their Role in
Connecting Meat Consumption with Masculinity…………………..……………..p.16
Chapter Three: Where To From Here? An Exploration of the Continuities
and Changes in Gender and its Connection to Meat Consumption, as well
as a Prediction of Future Trends………………………………………………...…p. 27
Conclusion………………………………………………………………………....p. 31
Annotated Bibliography………………………………………………………...…p. 34

 

Introduction
The topic I eventually chose for my PIP had interested me for around a year before I chose it. I had decided to become a vegetarian around October of 2007 after much thought and consideration. From then on, people’s attitudes toward meat consumption had always interested me; as had the social stigmas surrounding people who abstain from meat. The PIP presented itself in perfect timing, and allowed me to research something that I was passionate about in the name of school work.
After a little adaption, my hypothesis ended up being: ‘That attitudes toward meat consumption differ between genders and reflect the social standards set in society by different agents.’ Being in the minority as a male vegetarian, it had interested me for quite some time why meat consumption was supposedly linked with masculinity. Whether there was a difference in attitudes toward meat abstinence depending on one’s gender also interested me and thus I set out researching my PIP!
My major cross-cultural component is therefore ‘gender’ and this PIP has made me aware of more than just the aspect of ‘gender’ with regards to meat consumption. It has also made me aware of the general social assumptions of what is masculine and what is feminine, and society’s lack of acceptance for a breach of these expectations. I have also explored, as minor cross-cultural components, the concepts of ‘time’ and ‘environment’, and how these influence attitudes toward meat consumption and abstinence. I spent a fair amount of time on the influence of the media in my topic, which proved to be very interesting. I also used the functionalist theory in relation to my research to show connections between the theory and meat consumption.
Through conducting both primary and secondary research extensively, I have been able to understand the usefulness and validity of various research methodologies. I have also been able to assess and understand the usefulness of many secondary sources, which has been an invaluable lesson learnt.
I used a variety of methodologies in my PIP research in order to come to the most socially reliable conclusions. I distributed an extensive number of open-ended questionnaires (one hundred; of which I received 78 back). These questionnaires allowed for a wide variety of answers from people of different ages, locations and genders. These provided me with statistics that I could use in correspondence with or in contrast against my secondary research statistics. I could also draw various conclusions from the written responses. Personal reflection was also an extremely important methodology that I used. Being a male vegetarian, I was able to use my personal experiences and thoughts as part of my PIP, and how these reflect my own personal socialisation process. I also held two focus groups (one with a mixture of my peers, teachers and family) and the other as an online focus group (through Southern Cross University and with the help of Dr Baden Offord - Associate Professor in Cultural Studies), which allowed me to gain invaluable information, ideas and quotes which helped support my argument. These quotes came from people of a different gender, age and location, which increased the credibility of my PIP. I also conducted four different interviews, both informal and formal, which helped me understand different perspectives of my research and allowed me to directly incorporate my cross-cultural components. Participant observation, although of only small use, was also valuable in helping me understand people’s attitudes in an informal and possibly more reliable setting.
Upon finishing my PIP, I have gained an understanding of how to conduct effective social and cultural research that is both ethical and useful. I also have achieved an awareness of the construction of gender roles through time, how they are subject to change in differing social contexts and more broadly, a better comprehension of the ever-changing society in which I live.

 

Log
I basically knew the topic area I wanted to investigate in my Personal Interest Project from the very beginning. Being one of the rare male vegetarians, I was interested in animal rights and different attitudes that exist toward male and female vegetarians. I had been thinking about how I could research something in this area for a little while before it came time to sit down with my teacher and discuss my topic in October. We came up with the idea of changing attitudes toward animal exploitation for food. We decided that to look at animal exploitation generally would be too broad and not allow me to focus on one area in depth. I decided on the cross-cultural component of ‘time’, that would allow me to look at changing attitudes over time, and what has contributed to this.
I began my secondary research almost immediately and was overwhelmed by all the information I found. Trying to break that down into what was relevant to my PIP was quite a task; however undoubtedly interesting. After I submitted my assessment task to show at least ten secondary sources I had found so far, I sat down with my teacher again and discussed one aspect that I had touched on in my research. This was the aspect of ‘gender’ with regards to animal exploitation and I found this to be a very interesting perspective for my PIP. I doubted the potential of this aspect of my project, and at this point only saw it as a small addition to my major cross-cultural component of ‘time’.
By December, I had begun my primary research. I had written my first open-ended questionnaires, which I distributed 100 of in my school holidays. I received back a total of 78. These questionnaires focused on both cross-cultural components (‘time’ and ‘gender’). However, with further reading, and after attending a PIP day at Wollongong University in February, I found that I could focus, with considerable depth, on the component of ‘gender’ alone. I did some more preliminary research on this area, and made a minor change to my focus, that being from the different attitudes toward animal exploitation between genders, to that of different attitudes toward meat consumption between genders. I also contacted a variety of universities in NSW to see if they could offer any help. My local university offered the name of a man who specialises in human/animal relations from the University of Tasmania, however after I contacted him, he was quite unhelpful.
Throughout the first half of 2009, I then conducted much more of my primary research, including my focus groups, interviews, personal reflection and participant observation, and began writing my PIP draft around May/June. I submitted different chapters to my teacher, each which came back with invaluable advice. After much discussion with my teacher in late May, I decided to incorporate the functionalist theory as part of my PIP. At first, it was to be only a small part, however developed into almost a chapter by itself.
Throughout May/June when I was writing my drafts, I also found the media to be a more important part of my PIP. In particular, I conducted extensive secondary research of the ‘Feed The Man Meat’ campaign of the late 1970s/early 1980s of which I could not find any sources on the internet. I then enquired at Wollongong City Library, where I spent over four hours with a library assistant searching archives for evidence of this campaign with nothing to come of this. I then emailed the Meat and Livestock Association, who conducted the campaign, to see if they had any evidence or articles from it and they searched their archives, however told me that they could not gain access to the ads for me because of copyright issues. Therefore I could only find references to this campaign in my secondary sources, and thus relied solely on my primary research findings (through interviews with people who remember the campaign) to help me understand the extent of this campaign. I also, at this point, decided to contact the universities again and this time I received help from Dr Baden Offord from Southern Cross University, who helped me set up an online focus group.
So, with the extensive research (both primary and secondary) that I had, I was able to add to the draft that I started with several times in order to produce the final product of my PIP, something that I can finally be proud of!


‘Feed the Man Meat’: The Development of the Association of Meat Consumption with Masculinity and How Environment Affects Consumption or Abstinence from Meat
For hundreds of years, Western culture has valued the significance of meat consumption in its diet. What was something that was once only reserved for people who were a part of high culture has now developed into a ‘necessity’ in the diet of a vast majority of people in the Western world. This is evident through both statistical analysis, which places roughly 98% of the Australian population as meat-eaters (Sanitarium Vegetarian Study 2000), as well as through my observation of people’s attitudes to meat consumption. When I covertly observed different groups of people (notably my group of friends at school, my immediate family and extended family functions), I noticed that people’s attitudes toward meat consumption are quite concrete. The most common discussion points based around the controversy created by meat as food led to remarks such as ‘We are meant to eat it’, ‘Look at the food chain…we are at the top’ and ‘We need meat to be healthy’ (Focus group, 15th May 2009).
However, the consumption of meat not only has connotations with good health and an active lifestyle, but also, for males, has underlying social connotations with strength and masculinity (Adams 2000, p.17). Society has developed the idea of meat being associated with providing energy, of which in traditional society, males supposedly needed plenty of. Australia has happily grasped this notion and has valued the idea of ‘man and his meat’ as a part of one’s ordinary lifestyle. Society holds different perceptions and expectations of each gender, and in the context of this research, ‘gender’ refers to the ‘state of being male or female in regard to social or cultural differences’ (Babylon Online Dictionary).
For centuries, the ‘history’ of human beings has stressed the idea of men having been the ‘hunters’ and women being the ‘gatherers’. In this context, the role of men in primitive societies was integral to the overall survival of their family. The notion of men ‘obtaining the highest quality nutrients and the calories that their households would use’ (Stanford 2001, p. 38) stresses the importance of the role of males in the overall health and survival of their family. The acceptance of this mythical story in society has reinforced ‘the idea that men had a natural right to occupy the glamour role of clever-minded forager, meat provider, and conqueror in human societies.’ (Stanford 2001, p. 38-39). In an online focus group (a forum) I conducted, through the Southern Cross University, one of the respondents connected the idea of ‘man the hunter’ with today’s social expectations surrounding males and meat consumption. She believes that the idea of ‘man and his meat’:
‘is a residual effect from the “traditional” hunter role of men who would venture out to find the precious meat which would provide their people with the most valuable part of their diet. Does meat and its consumption today give men a connection to this past and feelings of being the protector and provider?’ (Angela, online focus group, 9th July 2009)
Leading up to and throughout the 20th century, meat was highly valued and, before mass production, was used as a symbol of affluence and wealth. Throughout the Great Depression in the 1930’s, meat was scarce and the implementation of food coupons meant that it developed high social value. In an interview with Kathleen Aitkin, who was alive during the Great Depression, the value of meat at that time became clear:
‘My family very rarely got to eat meat and if we were lucky, sometimes we could give something of ours to the family up the road [who owned a chicken farm] and in return, we could have a chicken. My father had connections with various friends who were butchers also, and he would try to get some meat from them, even if it meant something like lamb’s tongue, which mum would stew because it was really tough. My father always got the most meat though because he needed it to stay healthy for his job as a labourer.’ (K Aitkin, interview, 12th July 2009)
In the latter half of the 20th century, the continual advancement of the mass media allowed for meat to be portrayed as a valuable commodity of which power was associated with. The 1970’s saw the ad campaign ‘Feed The Man Meat’, which spread across a variety of mediums. In an interview with Wendy McVicar, it was stated that:
‘The ad took hold everywhere. It had a catchy phrase [‘Feed the Man Meat’] and was on billboards, in newspapers and magazines, was on the television and even outside butcher shops. Even today, people who were around when that ad was shown remember the catchphrase.’ (W McVicar, interview, 12th July)
However, well not long after this ad campaign finished, there was some recognition of its sexist undertone, and ‘The Age’ newspaper in Victoria published an article in 1985 titled: ‘Meanwhile, ‘feed the man meat’ dies a sexist death’. This was in response to a new ad campaign which tried to pick up the sexist pieces of the ‘Feed the Man Meat’ ad and instil equal gender needs for meat in society. Robyn Dixon claimed that ‘ “Feed the man meat” may have made us all feel good, but research indicates it merely reinforced many negative perceptions of meat as too masculine, intimidating and fussy’ (Dixon 1985, p. 3). However, the new ad campaign was too little and too late, as the roots of the association of meat with masculinity had already been so effectively applied in the ‘Feed the man meat’ campaign, as well as through other campaigns and social stigmas created before it. Hence, despite the era of the 1970s and after being an era of major social change (with the development of feminism and the like), the success of this ad showed the true power of the media in influencing public opinion and creating a cultural lag with regard to the masculine stereotype and its connection with meat consumption. Holly Brubach (2008, p. 1) even concludes that ‘despite feminist incursions into the citadels of power and men’s liberation from reductive macho stereotypes, this particular division along gender lines remains intact.’
The concept of ‘environment’, although not my major cross-cultural component, is nevertheless important to address it as a key factor in dictating social attitudes toward vegetarians, and in particular, male vegetarians. The Babylon Online Dictionary defines ‘environment’ as ‘the external conditions and surroundings in which people live’. Through my personal experience, as well as discussions and interviews with people from different physical and social environments, I have been able to understand further the different attitudes held toward meat depending on one’s physical and social setting.
In January of 2009, I travelled to the town of Bundanoon for a family reunion, which is less than a 2 hour drive from Sydney. We were at a function centre and my mum had rung a couple of days earlier to tell them that I was a vegetarian. They told my mum that they couldn’t cater for me – not even with a salad! When I got there, I had to go down the road and buy some hot chips, as there was nothing else to eat. This was in contrast with my home town of Wollongong, of which almost all restaurants have at least one or two vegetarian meals. If you go somewhere like Sydney or Melbourne, the number of vegetarian meals increases yet again. The only other place that I have been where there were more vegetarian options than a city like Sydney or Melbourne is New York City in the USA. It seems that, as towns turn into cities and grow larger and larger, the more options there are for vegetarians, which is understandable, as there is a larger population to accommodate.
When I was in Bundanoon, there was even one local man at the family reunion who, when he found out that I was vegetarian, claimed that ‘it was time to send me out on a farm and toughen me up to make a real living as a farmer’ (J Sanders, informal interview, 31st January 2009). This comment had various other sexist undertones that came with it also, and although it was presented with a laugh, it was quite offensive also. However, it is a classic example of the functionalist theory in practice, where each person in society is expected to fulfil their set roles in order for the smooth function of society. In country towns, many people are farmers who make a living by raising cattle for meat, and therefore meat is their livelihood. In an interview with a girl from Manila, a country town about 1 hour west of Tamworth in NSW, it was stated that ‘lots of my friends hate vegetarians from the city because they aren’t supporting our families who are the farmers…they don’t realise how much we rely on people to eat meat’ (C Johnston, interview, 2nd July 2009). In direct connection with the ‘gender’ component of my assignment and the association of meat with masculinity, she then claimed that ‘vegetarians are unheard of in Manila…once a friend of mine from Sydney came to stay with me and when he announced he was a vegetarian, one of the kids from my group called him a fag’ (C Johnston, interview, 2nd July 2009). This demonstrates the similarities in attitudes that exist between many members of society, however perhaps in a more extreme context in some areas compared to others.
Although attitudes may hold some similarities in country towns and larger cities, access to vegetarian food and choice is quite different. Fraser (1999) claimed that ‘whilst it may be a bit of a problem in small country towns (to access a vegetarian meal), in the cities it’s unusual not to be able to get a decent vegetarian meal.’ Access to vegetarian food however, through my personal experience, seems to increase societal awareness of different types of diets, and allow for a more general acceptance of a vegetarian. However, it seems that no matter which environment one is in, the connection between meat and masculinity is embedded in social values and norms and men are still expected to eat meat. In my online focus group, one of the respondents also used her personal experience to corroborate the findings that I have come to. She works in her family’s kebab shop in Brunswick Heads, where she says there are a lot of blue collar trade workers. She says:
‘the majority of these men seem to have a real fear of vegetables. I work in my family’s kebab shop regularly and often have orders for just meat and sauce on bread without “that other s**t.” Also, I find that the really “macho” men often will only eat the beef option’ (Angela, online focus group, 9th July 2009).
She then goes on to conclude that ‘I found in the city however, that people in general ate a lot more vegetables’ (Angela, online focus group, 9th July 2009).
Therefore over time, and more rapidly in the last century, meat has been continually associated with masculinity. One’s environment works to dictate the attitudes toward meat consumption and its association with gender in society as well. Despite continual development in attitudes which seem to be minimising the gender gap, meat consumption is one activity which still maintains masculine connotations, at least on the surface.


The Functionalist Theory, the Media and their Role in Connecting Meat Consumption with Masculinity

 

Diagram 1: The connection of meat consumption with masculinity and the role the media and the functionalist theory plays in upholding this connection.

The functionalist theory emphasises the need for social consistency, rather than social change. It stresses the maintenance of traditional social values in a society that is rapidly changing. The theory claims ‘that the character of a society’s various institutions must be understood in terms of the function each performs in enabling the smooth running of society as a whole’ (Howitt and Julian 2002, p. 145). The theory asserts that as societies develop; they become increasingly more complex and interdependent, achieving a sense of stability through a cultural lag of values and attitudes. With this theoretical basis, the dominant social groups hold onto traditional gender expectations as a means of maintaining familiarity and stability. Thus, with groups challenging gender traditions relating to meat consumption, it is seen as a controversial notion, perpetuated by the media. The fact that it is seen as controversial shows evidence of a cultural lag in the area of meat consumption.
Functionalism stresses that each member of society accepts their role and engage in activities that directly impact on the maintenance of the society in which they live (Preston 2000). Traditional values, norms and behaviours are also stressed for each member of society. There are connections that can be made between the functionalist theory and the association of meat with gender. For example, throughout time it has been stressed that men were the hunters and women were the gatherers (Brubach 2008, p. 1). From the very beginning, despite how true this ideology of ancient gender functions may be, the power of meat as a highly valued social commodity has been inscribed in society. Since men have held much of the power for a majority of human existence, it is only logical that meat be associated with men and thus masculinity.
Stanford (2001, p. 202) concludes that:
‘the hierarchy of meat appears to be closely linked to the hierarchy of males, in that it is almost always males that capture meat, putting them in the role of providers for other community members, including females.’
It is this element of power that meat, as a commodity, has and the fact that males could and can use it as a tool to control other members of society (i.e. females), pushes the masculine image. One of the male respondents to my open-ended questionnaires corroborated the link between meat, power and masculinity, when he claimed that ‘society expects men to eat meat and for a man to admit that he doesn’t eat meat is emasculating. Men aren’t expected to show their emotional regard for animals…they must maintain the powerful and tough stance society dictates for them’ (Open-ended questionnaire, 78 completed, analysis conducted 19th May 2009). This quote shows the social construct of the stereotypical male, which incorporates the necessity to consume meat. In an article titled ‘Vegetarianism as Feminism’, it is claimed that ‘the masculine image leads to an increased consumption of meat among men, and on the other hand, the increased consumption reinforces meat’s masculine image’ (Harel 2007). Both of these primary and secondary resources corroborate to show that society’s expectations of men are clear: consumption of meat creates a masculine image.
Hence, society still considers a man who abstains from meat as controversial, and at the very least, a topical point of conversation. My own personal experience reveals this. As a part of the rare species of male vegetarians, I commonly experience comments that question my masculinity once my diet choice is revealed. Some people even directly relate my abstinence of meat to my thin body shape. Far too frequently I am fed comments such as ‘get a bit of meat into you’, ‘you’re very thin…probably because you don’t eat any meat’, and my personal favourite: ‘eat some meat so you can grow some muscle’ (Personal reflection, conducted 14th June 2009). These comments, in particular the last one, reflect the attitudes that many people have towards meat consumption and the value meat has in one’s diet. I see my abstinence from meat as an important part of my personal identity and a backbone to my social morals and values. However, others perceive my vegetarianism as a threat to my masculine identity in society and this places me almost like a second-class citizen in some situations.
An article published in British tabloid ‘The Observer’ in July 2008 helps to recognise the social expectations and stereotypes placed on male vegetarians. Ellen (2008, p. 1) says: ‘pity the male vegetarian who needs real courage and fortitude, as he is battered from all sides by the incomprehension and ridicule of the world around him.’ Ellen takes a sympathetic, yet sensationalised, stance on the experiences of a male who abstains from meat in society today. Ellen however, goes on to discuss how a real man is one who does abstain from meat and is open about it, despite the ridicule he suffers in society. This is an interesting position for her to take, and she freely acknowledges that the male vegetarian is ‘perceived as somehow unmanly…if it weren’t for Paul McCartney, the male vegetarian would be right up there with Lembit Opik as The Guy No One Wants To Be’ (Ellen 2008, p.1)
In my focus group, one of the male respondents even claimed that he ‘thought about going vegetarian but he didn’t want anyone to think that he was gay’ (S De Jongh, focus group, 15th May 2009). This places a direct connection between meat consumption and the threat to one’s masculinity. In an internet forum titled ‘Why do people think all guy vegetarians are gay?’, one respondent claimed that ‘some people think that vegetarians are compassionate towards animals, and they associate compassion with femininity…’ (‘Why do people think all vegetarian guys are gay?’ (2008), viewed 17th March 2009, <http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080229172740AAU3A74>). This helps to support the notion that the perceptions of many people in society demonstrate the belief that males who abstain from meat are less masculine and, in some cases, their sexuality is at threat. Ellen (2008, p. 2) boldly concludes that:
‘In this hostile, ultra-macho, morally arid climate, to stand up and be counted as a male vegetarian must require cojones of immense size, much bigger balls, in fact, than your average carnivorous wimp, who just goes along with the crowd.’
Ellen believes that a man is stronger in a social stance if he abstains from meat, rather than the other way around as commonly accepted. Ellen directly challenges the perceptions generated by the mass media that infiltrate and direct social attitudes. She shows the cultural lag that exists in society with the connection between meat consumption and a masculine image. In my online focus group, one of the respondents gave her own personal story of her husband, in which she claimed:
‘my husband is vegetarian – he is tall, well built, lots of facial hair, likes cars and motorbikes, loves beer…perhaps your “typical” Aussie bloke…except for the vegetarianism! It’s amazing the comments he gets from people when they find out (not that he likes to advertise it). Many people just don’t believe him. In high school, he was known by the nickname “Burger” as a reflection of his vegetarianism’ (Jess, online focus group, 9th July 2009).
This response shows two things. First, it shows the connection that many members of society make between meat consumption and body image and shape and how these connections place stereotypes on people with different diets. It also shows the negative perception of people who abstain from meat, which is clearly gender biased.
It is this cultural lag in gender values and expectations that the functionalist theory thrives on, and of which the media continually pushes. The media has been an instrumental, and in many areas positive, socialisation tool in promoting the social acceptance of many different groups, as well as the breakdown of social stereotypes that exist. One only has to look at the emergence of the ‘meterosexual’ as a male who is a full-fledging member of society and appears in almost all television programs and movies. The media’s continual promotion of different groups of people such as the ‘meterosexual’ has helped to break down stereotypes that enforce traditional gender roles. In this context, ‘media’ refers to ‘television, radio, films, magazines, newspapers and other impersonal means of communication that reach large audiences’ (Howitt and Julian 2002, p. 37). The term ‘stereotype’ refers to ‘a simplified judgement and representation of the characteristics, often negative, about a group of people’ (Howitt and Julian 2002, p. 162).
However, the stereotypes that exist with regards to meat consumption and its connection with masculinity have not been broken down, and it is the media that in fact has pushed these further into social norms. Following the blatant sexist tone of the ad campaigns of the 1970’s/1980’s that featured slogans such as ‘Feed the Man Meat’, today the ad campaigns continue to instil, albeit more implicitly, this social ideology. The release of the ad campaign ‘Red Meat – We Were Meant To Eat It’, funded by the Meat and Livestock Association of Australia, in 2007 corroborated with social expectations and attitudes by demonstrating how man has eaten meat for thousands of years and this is what has helped human development. An online article titled ‘A Meat Eater Accuses Meat and Livestock Australia of Lies and Tripes!’, states that:
‘by using traditionally blokey men [i.e. Sam Neill] to tell us they need meat, the MLA is sending a message to Australian women. It knows that women still carry the “basket power” – they do most of the shopping – and it’s [their] job to look after [their] menfolk’ (The Vegan and Vegetarian Secrets Blog 2009).
Two of the respondents to my online focus group also stressed the gender bias evident in television ads for meat. One of the respondents used the example of the 2004/2005 lamb ads featuring Sam Kekovich. Research into these ads allowed me to see them as a perfect example of the media painting the idea that we, as Australians, need to eat meat (the ad appeared just before Australia Day). It even appealed to one’s need to fulfil their nationalistic honour. The respondent claims that:
‘Sam Kekovich tells us all in a very deep assertive way that we should all be eating meat. In one of the adds [sic] he even has a go at vegetarians (calling them “soap avoiding, pot-smoking, hippie vegetarians”). So why did the marketing people decide on using a male identity (who is every way [sic] a “blokes bloke”) rather then [sic] a female to try and sell meat to Aussie consumers?’ (Carissa, online focus group, 9th July 2009)
This response generated a wave of other responses that discussed the media and its influence on the consumer. One other respondent (a male vegetarian) concluded: ‘when I first saw these ads I was still (strict) vegetarian, but found myself feeling “caught up” in the speech, even though I had no intention of buying lamb’ (Joshua, online focus group, 9th July 2009). This response demonstrates the power the media has in creating the opinion of the consumer, even a consumer who is a strict vegetarian!

Deborah Lupton (1996, p. 107) even acknowledges that ‘food advertising for meat products frequently seeks to employ the cultural stereotype of meat as a man’s food.’ In a small informal focus group that I conducted with people from my school, I brought up meat advertisements and why there is a lack of women who feature in these. One respondent claimed that ‘it just doesn’t seem fit to put a woman in the role of trying to promote meat. Meat needs to promote the idea of strength, and to do this, men need to assume the roles in advertisements.’ (L Scott, focus group, 15th May 2009). In my open-ended questionnaires, as a response to the ‘Red Meat – We Were Meant To Eat It’ campaign, I posed the question: ‘Do you believe that advertisements like these have a heavy influence on the consumer and their attitudes towards the consumption of meat?’ 81% of respondents answered ‘yes’, which only furthers the evidence that the media plays a large role in influencing consumer and societal attitudes (Open-ended questionnaire, 78 completed, analysis conducted 19th May 2009). Even clear examples from my participant observation show direct links between society’s attitudes and media campaigns. For example, there are countless times when I am in various situations where people claim that ‘we were meant to eat red meat’, ‘all through human evolution meat has played a key role in our diets’ and ‘meat increases our brain size’ (Participant observation, various dates). I conducted a smaller questionnaire of 40 people (20 males and 20 females) in which I asked ‘Do you think that there is an over-representation of males in meat ads, and thus a sexist attitude is promoted through these ads?’ The results further demonstrate that the association of meat with masculinity is heavily promoted by the media:

 

I asked the same 40 people this question: ‘Do you think that if a male abstains from meat consumption, his masculine image is threatened?’ The results yielded were less sexist than the attitudes promoted through the media:

However, there is still that threat in society that abstinence from meat for males demonstrates a lack of masculinity. My personal experience conjures up many examples of this being the case, and I can recall one example where I confessed to a group of people (around my age) that I was a vegetarian. One of the responses I received was: ‘but you’re a guy. Guys shouldn’t be vegetarian’ (Personal reflection, conducted 14th June 2009). In my online focus group, one of the respondents claimed that ‘females seem happy to acknowledge it [being vegetarian], while men (especially of high school age) find this might bring negative connotations with it’ (Jess, online focus group, 9th July 2009). This shows that for males who abstain from meat, there are still various negative social connotations that come with this choice.

In my online focus group, another of the respondents remembered an experience that he had had which reinforced the notion of ‘man and his meat’:
‘This made me think of a male English friend of mine living in Spain. We had a barbeque one day and his 8-month old son picked up a slab of raw steak and started chewing/sucking it. Andrew (the dad) was so proud! He made comments such as “Look he’s a real man” and kept harping on about how manly his 8-month old baby was because he had found some raw steak to chew on’ (Tim, online focus group, 9th July 2009).
This example even suggests that family expectations of a person, teamed with social expectations of each gender, can be an important part of the socialisation process. One could go off on a tangent and think what the father’s reaction may have been (in the situation above) if his daughter had picked up the raw steak and started chewing it. Would his reaction have been the same? We could only ponder this outcome, however one thing is clear: the choices one makes in life are dictated by society’s expectations (on a macro level), which are publicised through the most important socialisation agent in this research area: the media. These expectations are fed through a person’s family (on a micro level), in order to ensure that a person adheres to society’s gender-specific roles, which are dictated and maintained by the functionalist theory.


Where To From Here?
An Exploration of the Continuities and Changes in Gender and its Connection to Meat Consumption, as well as a Prediction of Future Trends
There is a definite continuity that exists with meat consumption as an example of masculinity. For hundreds of years now, society has shown its collective belief that men need meat in order to maintain a physically healthy and active lifestyle. The most obvious example of this continuity, particularly in the last sixty years or so, is evident through the influence of the media. It is the media which has stressed the importance of meat being a symbol of a man’s power in society. The media has supported the traditional patriarchal structure of Australia’s ideal family and it is this structure which has placed men at the top.
One of the respondents to my online focus group used her personal experience to claim that:
‘meat and gender are very important to the family structure. [In my family] the oldest male is the one usually in charge of the meat, whether it be the barbeque or carving the roast. This task always falls to either my father or grandfather. They take the role very seriously; they are almost territorial over it. Once the meat is cooked or carved it is also up to them to serve it out to people. The meat therefore almost represents their maleness and the fact that they are in charge of its cooking and its distribution confirms to them that their maleness is in tact’ (Maria Hauff, online focus group, 9th July 2009)
Through my own personal reflection, I can use countless examples to support this idea. At regular barbeques that my family has with friends or other family members, it is always the males who are in charge of cooking the barbeque. Even my vegetarian food, which often mimics the shape and style of a steak or a piece of chicken, does not get cooked on the barbeque, and it is the females who will cook it inside. This is not my own personal choice, as I have no problem with my food being cooked alongside meat; rather it is the choice of the males cooking the barbeque, as the barbeque should only be reserved for ‘real meat’ (Personal reflection, conducted 14th June 2009).
It is this sense of power that is held by the males, who are in charge of the cooking and distribution of meat today, which demonstrates the element of power that is felt in having control over the distribution and consumption of meat. It is this power that reveals the gender distinctions still held in society today, and allow for a continuity of the traditional gender-social structures supported by the functionalist theory. Hence, one of the respondents to my online focus group concludes:
‘I definitely think vegetarianism is feminised. If you don’t have the bloodlust (even if it does come to you in cling wrap from the supermarket) then your status as a “real man” falls into question, which I think is a good example of how patriarchy is restrictive to even the men it seeks to elevate’ (Jenna, online focus group, 9th July 2009).
This quote superbly defines the modern male meat-eater, who clings onto the little patriarchal power they have left in society after successful movements such as feminism, and this power just happens to rest with meat consumption and distribution.
It is undeniably difficult to locate statistics which show the number of male and female vegetarians in Australia, and a search on the Australian Bureau of Statistics only reveals one article regarding vegetarians, and this has no gender connotations. I did however find one article titled ‘The Growth In Vegetarianism’ (published in the UK), which claims that
‘historically, many more females than males have been vegetarian and this situation is anticipated to still be the case…however, between 1999 and 2001, there appears to have been a particular increase in the proportion of male vegetarians and a decrease in female vegetarians’ (Research and Markets 2006, p. 8).
However, the article goes on to claim that these statistics have been fluid in the years following 2001 and the male vegetarians still remain significantly lower than the number of female vegetarians.
There has been very little change in this area, and the media still portrays meat as being ‘male’ food. Trend extrapolation through my observation and research of past social values and expectations in my research area has led me to conclude that the media has institutionalised these social circumstances in society today. The only notable change that has occurred is the fact that meat advertisements are now less explicit with their gender direction and try to encompass everyone. These ads portray meat as a necessity to the diet, rather than ‘necessary just for a man’. However, as my research has found, the gender bias in meat consumption is still implied in today’s advertisements, and thus evident in the limited statistics available comparing male and female vegetarians.
By using trend analysis as a method of predicting the future in this area, I have concluded that as long as this gender bias is continued, it is unlikely that the institutionalised gender values surrounding meat consumption will change and thus the idea of ‘man and his meat’ will remain a continuity. My research has found that society continues to regard meat as a necessity to the male diet in order to produce the ‘strong, brooding men’ society needs. This perception highlights the social stereotype of the weak, effeminate, outcast male vegetarian, and leaves us as a minority. If my future predictions are correct, this stereotype will remain for some time.

 

Conclusion
Researching this PIP has not only been an invaluable experience, but also has revealed some unexpected hidden connections between the stereotypes of modern masculinity and the consumption of meat. This PIP maintained my interest over the past 9 months because it was a topic that was very personal and mirrored experiences I had on an almost daily basis.
This PIP has taught me the association of many of the fundamental society and culture concepts with my topic; some of which were not entirely obvious. My most important cross-cultural component of ‘gender’ allowed me to explore and develop the social stereotypes of each gender put in place by agents of the socialisation process (most importantly, the media) and how these affect one’s activities and behaviours in society. I was also able to explore the concepts of ‘environment’ and ‘time’ in relation to my topic, which gave me a wider understanding of how I can effectively integrate the concepts of the Society and Culture course into my social research.
I decided to use my stance as a rare male vegetarian to my advantage; and to do this I engaged in a variety of research methodologies that were suited to this. My personal reflection was one of these, and although it was a difficult methodology to undertake, it taught me valuable skills in detecting my own bias and opinion. Once this was done, I was able to use this methodology at its utmost usefulness, and it proved to be an integral methodology for my PIP.
The ease at which my primary and secondary research connected with each other allowed me to take a deeper look at the concepts integral to my course, and how these played an important role for my topic at a macro level. Concepts such as ‘gender’, ‘time’ and ‘environment’, as well as socialisation agents like the media all provided different perspectives that I found not only have an influence on my micro world.
My PIP has allowed me to conclude that society, although it moves forward and with the help of the media breaks down various stereotypes and promotes changing gender roles and expectations, it in fact does the opposite when it comes to meat consumption. It builds up the idea that men are expected to eat meat in society and to not do so threatens their masculinity. I have also found that the functionalist theory has connections to my topic in promoting traditional gender roles and creating a cultural lag in this area as society moves forward. Whilst I was aware of the construction of gender roles, through my research it was made clear how such roles can become entrenched in society’s social and cultural history. In this sense, I learnt how a cultural lag of values and attitudes, coupled with social development, leads to a co-existence between continuities and changes. These conclusions were supported by both my primary and secondary research.
If I had more time I would have liked to have investigated the cross-cultural component of ‘environment’ further, as this was of particular interest to me. I found through my limited research of this topic that attitudes toward meat consumption differ immensely depending on one’s environment. However, due to restrictions of the area I am in, teamed with time restrictions, it would have proved quite difficult to investigate this area further and thus my major cross-cultural component of ‘gender’ remained the centre area of research to my PIP.
My PIP is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, pieces of research that I have ever conducted and it has given me invaluable experience in conducting ethical and successful primary and secondary research. It has also taught me how to reach conclusions from a successful combination of these research areas in order to increase the credibility of my work.
By undertaking this PIP, I have learnt to undertake social research that is governed by strict ethical standards. By being able to place key course concepts and methodologies into their context, I have learnt the significance of assessing my own work and the work of others, not only for its effectiveness, but also for its ethical respectability. These are skills that I can now use in future social research that I undertake at university or beyond.


Annotated Bibliography
Primary Research:
Focus group
à conducted at school (15th May 2009)
à online (through Southern Cross University) (9th July 2009)
Contribution to my topic: I conducted two focus groups, each with people from different ages and locations, as well as a mixture between genders. My first one was conducted after school one day, with three of my peers, three of my teachers and two of my family members. This allowed me to discuss, in a relaxed environment, the different concepts of my topic and how each of the participants saw the connection between these concepts and my topic. At the beginning of the focus group, I was quite involved, and as it furthered, I sat back and took notes on the discussions circling. This focus group allowed me to see the perceptions and stereotypes that existed of male and female meat-eaters and vegetarians, and how these shape one’s identity. My online focus group began when I contacted a variety of universities and got into contact with Dr Baden Offord, who is an Associate Professor in Cultural Studies at Southern Cross University. Through the university’s website, I was able to set up an online focus group with Offord’s ‘Gender, Sexuality and Culture’ class, where I gave my hypothesis and topic focus and allowed her 70+ students to comment on it. I received an overwhelming response and found many of their comments extremely useful. Being conducted through the university also, the reliability of the comments was increased dramatically. 
Credibility of source: My focus group conducted at school consisted of no experts in the field I was researching, however because the focus of the group was to look at stereotypes and social expectations that the participants had experienced, this was not necessary. My online focus group was partly conducted by Dr. Baden Offord, who is an expert in the field of Cultural Studies, and all the participants were a part of Offord’s ‘Gender, Sexuality and Culture’ class. This increases their reliability collectively as a source of information and thus added to the credibility of my PIP.
Interview
à K Aitkin (12th July 2009)
à W McVicar (12th July 2009)
à Informal interview with J Sanders (31st January 2009)
à C Johnston (2nd July 2009)
Contribution to my topic: I conducted four interviews, each which gave me a different perspective on my topic and the concepts associated with it. My interview with K Aitkin gave me an insight into the value of meat as a commodity during the Great Depression of the 1930s. My interview with W McVicar allowed me to understand the extent to which the ‘Feed the Man Meat’ campaign was publicised. My brief informal interview with J Sanders allowed me to see the attitude differences, depending on the environment in which one lives in, and the interview with C Johnston helped me to understand this area further.
Credibility of source: Although none of the interviewees were experts in their field, they provided me with all the information necessary for the research I was conducting for my PIP. K Aitkin was a child when the Great Depression hit, and thus had first hand experience in the scarcity of meat at that time. W McVicar was a teenager when the ‘Feed the Man Meat’ campaign was around and thus remembers vividly the extent to which the campaign was spread. My informal interview with J Sanders allowed me to contrast the attitude differences, and with Sanders being someone who lives in a rural area, he provided first-hand opinion on the consumption of meat. C Johnston’s interview also proved incredibly useful, as she once lived in a rural area and has moved to a larger city now. She was able to contrast her experiences and use these to help with my PIP topic. This was a highly valuable interview also and allowed me to explore the concept of ‘environment’ further.
Open and close-ended questionnaire
à 78 completed (analysis conducted 19th May 2009)
à 40 completed (analysis conducted 2nd July 2009)
Contribution to my topic: The questionnaires provided both qualitative and quantitative primary research of which became very useful in my analysis of different attitudes. I was able to use the statistics gathered from my questionnaire in order to contrast my findings with the portrayal of the masculine association with meat by the media.
Credibility of source: I distributed 100 questionnaires and received 78 back. I also ran a smaller questionnaire of 40 people, of which I carefully monitored the gender distribution in order to try and come to the most accurate conclusions. My questionnaires also were distributed across a variety of different areas in order to include the most accurate perspectives. By using a questionnaire and not a face-to-face interview, I was able to garner more accurate and truthful results, due to the potential sensitivity of my topic area.
Personal reflection
à conducted 14th June 2009
Contribution to my topic: My personal reflection was of extreme importance to my PIP, as I experienced much of the controversy I researched on an almost daily basis. I was able to use the comments and personal experience that I have to help direct my PIP, as well as support the arguments given by my other primary and secondary resources.
Credibility of source: Personal reflection comes with a variety of barriers, as it is very hard to remain objective whilst conducting this methodology. However, sometimes objectivity is not always the goal that needs to be reached, and in fact some degree of subjectivity is necessary in order to conduct personal reflection successfully. Although I had to be careful to eliminate as much bias as possible from my PIP, sometimes the direction my PIP took relied heavily on my personal reflection, and because this is a Personal Interest Project, there is always going to be an element of personal bias in the research. However, what I had to ensure I was doing was countering the bias with solid secondary and other primary findings to support my argument.
Participant observation
      à various dates
Contribution to my topic: Participant observation was conducted both intentionally and unintentionally throughout the whole process of my PIP. I used participant observation mainly to see the attitudes of people towards meat consumption and the difference between genders. I covertly observed my peers, family and other people who happened to be present when the topic was raised. I even resorted to getting some other people to raise the topic in order for my research to be more dynamic and less biased. Thus I could come to more accurate conclusions about people’s attitudes, without the sensitivity of my abstinence from meat getting in the way.
Credibility of source: By trying to remain as subtle as possible with my participant observation, I was able to gather more accurate responses from people involved. I even at some points would sit and type in the responses on my phone, so that it would appear that I was not entirely involved with my observation. This would allow the most accurate conclusions possible to be made and often generated heated discussions afterwards when the topic was raised by me openly giving my viewpoint.


Secondary Research:
Adams, Carol, The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Theory, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2000, p. 17
Contribution to my topic: This book provided only a limited contribution to my topic in the end, however provided some great preliminary research. This source was one of the first in which I explored my cross-cultural component of ‘gender’ more deeply and gave me various other leads for my later research. The source does however focus heavily on aspects which were not relevant to my topic, and thus provided limited help in these areas.
Credibility of source: Adams is an open feminist and vegetarian, which gives the reader a clear indication of her potential motives before even opening the book. However, this is quite possibly a deliberate attempt of Adams in order to make the reader take these into account when reading her works and thus make more balanced conclusions. Adams uses a variety of sources to support her arguments, however because of the limited usefulness of her publication, there was no need to endeavour to find out the credibility of these sources.
Babylon Online Dictionary, http://dictionary.babylon.com/gender, 27th June 2009
Contribution to my topic: This source merely gave me the current definitions of ‘gender’ and ‘environment’ of which much of my PIP is based around.
Credibility of source: The Babylon Online Dictionary is constantly updated and widely-respected as a genuine source of definitions and the like. Thus, sourcing my definition of ‘gender’ from this site gave me an up-to-date social interpretation of the concept.
Brubach, Holly, Real Men Eat Meat: Waving The Blood-Red Banner High, New York Times Online, published 2008, retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/indexes/2008/03/09/style/t/index.html#pagewanted=0&pageName=09brubach& , 1st July 2009, p. 1
Contribution to my topic: This source gave a fantastic insight into the social expectations and cultural lag that exists with meat and its connection to gender stereotypes. The title of the article itself also gives a valuable conclusion of social expectations and thus an insight into the article. However, only the first few paragraphs provided any use to my PIP and the rest went on to discuss areas that are irrelevant.
Credibility of source: The source was published only last year and is thus recent and very relevant. It is a newspaper article, and thus gives a sensationalised view of the social situation when it comes to meat consumption. Brubach uses emotive language in order to further the stereotype of ‘man and his meat’ and the fact that it is written this way must be taken into account. It is sourced from the New York Times, which is a very reputable newspaper that is recognised throughout the world. Despite the article being published in the USA, it is still useful as American societal attitudes often reflect those in Australia.
Dixon, R., 1985, ‘Meanwhile, “feed the man meat” dies a sexist death’, The Age, 4th September, page 3
Contribution to my topic: This article was the only reliable secondary source that discussed the ‘Feed the Man Meat’ campaign and even this article only provided a few brief references to it. However, it did discuss the gender inequality in meat advertisements and provided a perspective published 24 years ago. This was useful as it allowed me to realise that the sexist attitudes in meat consumption were recognised then and thus I could understand the more sexually-ambiguous nature of meat advertisements in today’s society.
Credibility of source: This source is from ‘The Age’, a Victorian newspaper that is nationally-recognised. Published in 1985, it allowed me to understand the stage that society was at with the connection of the media to meat advertisements. The context in which the article was written in, as well as the fact that it was authored by a female, must also be taken into account. The feminist stance taken by the article did limit its usefulness; however this stance was not too extreme and thus still remained useful.
Ellen, B., 2008, ‘It takes a real man to say he enjoys tofu’, The Observer, 27th July, p.p. 1, 2
Contribution to my topic: This article, although when first found was of little use, proved to be quite a useful article in giving a different perspective on the male vegetarian in society and explored the social stigma surrounding males who abstain from meat. Instead of painting the male vegetarian as weak and effeminate, Ellen twists the article and claims that a male who comes out and says he is a vegetarian is in fact ‘more masculine’ than the male meat-eater. Ellen shows the social expectations of males in regard to meat eating quite well, and these proved useful in my topic.
Credibility of source: The article, published in a UK newspaper, is written to generate a level of humour on the surface, however if a reader digs deeper, they find a deeper, hidden suggestion. The article is quite sensationalised and it is this that generates the humour present, however there are some statements which were very helpful to my research. This shows that just because the article wasn’t entirely credible, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t useful.
Fraser, R., 1999, ‘Australasian Regional Report’, International Vegetarian Union News, viewed 19th July 2009, http://www.ivu.org/news/aug99/ozreport/html
Contribution to my topic: This source allowed me to contrast the access to vegetarian food between cities and rural areas, and thus use this as a basis to conclude that social attitudes were different, depending on one’s environment. Therefore, this source related directly to my cross-cultural component of ‘environment’.
Credibility of source: This source is a report that comes from an article in ‘International Vegetarian Union News’, and therefore has a potential for bias. However, I simply used the article to see the differences in access to vegetarian food depending on environment, and thus limited bias exists in this context. It is possible, however, that the author may have sensationalised this level of access to prove a point.
‘The Growth In Vegetarianism’ (last known published date June 2006), Research and Markets.com, viewed 26th June 2009, http://www.researchandmarkets.com/feats/download_sample.asp?report_id=552389&file_name=The%
Contribution to my topic: This source proved useful in my last chapter on continuities and changes and future predictions. This allowed me conduct trend analysis of the difference between the number of males and females who are vegetarian to see whether this is to remain the case. Although the article had limited contribution to my PIP, it was useful in seeing the changing number of vegetarians between genders.
Credibility of source: The source is based around UK figures, which limits its usefulness. However UK figures are quite possibly very similar to Australian figures. Since it is near impossible to find appropriate Australian figures, these UK ones were the most reliable. The author of the article is unknown, which lowers its credibility and the article is also a feature of a .com website, which shows that it was not government or organisational research and the statistics could prove to be quite inaccurate. However, the number of people that the article surveyed (over 5000) helps lift its credibility.
Harel, Naama (2007), Vegetarianism as Feminism, viewed 3rd June 2009, http://www.anonymous.org.il/e-feminism.htm
Contribution to my topic: This article proved very useful in providing me with important background information regarding my PIP, as well as some integral quotes. The article explored the other side of what I was looking at (vegetarianism as feminism, rather than meat consumption and masculinity), however did provide some very useful information on the male domination present with meat consumption and the power that comes with this.
Credibility of source: The source was published on an Israeli website, which limits its usefulness to my topic. However, the article does demonstrate some interesting points that are relevant in Australia too. The website that published the article is titled ‘Anonymous’, which at first glance, appears to show a steep decline in the credibility of this article. However, ‘Anonymous’ is actually the name given to an animal rights group in Israel. The animal rights stance taken with this article does however once again limit its credibility and increase its chances of being biased, and I had to be sure that this was taken into account when using it.
Howitt, Bernie and Julian, Robin, Heinemann Society and Culture, Reed International Books Australia Pty Ltd, Melbourne, 2002, p.p. 37, 145, 162
Contribution to my topic: This source gave me the definitions of ‘functionalism’, ‘media’ and ‘stereotype’ on a Society and Culture level, which helped me, and the reader of my PIP, to understand exactly what I was talking about when discussing these areas.
Credibility of source: These definitions were sourced from a Society and Culture textbook, and thus gave definitions relevant to the subject itself. This increased its credibility of my writing, of which much of it I based around these definitions. However, the definitions of ‘gender’ and ‘environment’ I sourced from another dictionary, as I found this book did not encompass these concepts explicitly in the way that my research needed.
Preston, Christine (2000), Social Continuity and Change, and Social Theory, viewed 19th June 2009, http://www.ptc.nsw.edu.au/scansw/preston.html
Contribution to my topic: This article provided me with a small amount of information regarding the functionalist theory and what it stresses in society. I used this as a background to build up my research of the connection of this theory to meat consumption.
Credibility of source: This article comes from a government educational website, and the area the article focused on is based around Society and Culture as a subject. Thus it is a credible article that was useful in providing me with this background knowledge. I did, however, have to make sure that all information written in the article was still relevant to the syllabus and Society and Culture course, as the article was published in 2000.
Sanitarium Food Company 2000, ‘Sanitarium Vegetarian Study (Newspoll) (Australian Component), Vegetarian Network Victoria, accessed 12th May 2009, http://www.vnv.org.au/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=53&Itemid=64
Contribution to my topic: This report merely gave me the statistics on the number of people who are vegetarians in Australia, based on the findings of Sanitarium. This statistic then allowed me to flow into my main argument and show why this is the case.
Credibility of source: This source provided the most reliable statistic that I could find, as the Australian Bureau of Statistics has not written reports on the number of vegetarians in Australian society or the like. The article was not government-audited or run, and therefore the statistics and conclusions had to be approached with some care. It was sourced from the Vegetarian Network of Victoria, which automatically suggests that the statistics reached must be carefully analysed, as it is quite possible that they may have been manipulated to prove a point, or even quite possibly the people used for the report may have been carefully selected in order for the results to demonstrate a certain argument.
Stanford, Craig B., The Hunting Apes: Meat Eating and the Origins of Human Behaviour, Princeton University Press, 2001, p. 38, 202
Contribution to the topic: This book provided a helpful and well-sourced insight into the functionalist theory and how it relates to meat consumption. Much of the book focuses on discussing apes and their control and power over women through meat as a commodity. There are some connections of this to humans which proves helpful, so the book was relevant with the concept of ‘gender’ too. The chapter that proved particularly helpful was titled ‘Meat’s Patriarchy’ and this helped to show the clear connections between meat and male power in society. Thus it helped conclude that meat is a symbol of masculinity and showed why society expects men to cling to this power. Stanford even goes so far as suggesting that the idea of meat as a symbol of power is just mythical and, even if it gives only a small amount of the nutrients the human body needs, it is still central to the diet because of this mythical aspect.
Credibility of source: I originally found this source published on the Princeton University website as a reference and thus this indicated that it is quite a reliable source. Although published in the USA, the source is dealing with a universal topic, especially when dealing with the connection of human attitudes to that of apes – both of which reflect aspects of the functionalist theory. It is quite a recently published book also, which upholds its relevance to my research, and helps to ensure that it is quite a current source of information.
The Vegan and Vegetarian Secrets Blog Reveals (2009), ‘A Meat Eater Accuses Meat and Livestock Australia of Lies and Tripes!’, viewed 13th July 2009, http://www.vegansecrets.com/blog/
Contribution to my topic: This blog gave me an excellent quote regarding the implied sexual bias present in contemporary meat advertisements. The quote shows the patriarchy that is still present in Australian family lifestyles and how the media still promotes meat as ‘man’s food’. The title of the quote also suggests that the quote is coming from a meat eater, who sees this bias.
Credibility of source: The quote comes from a website called ‘Vegan Secrets’, which reveals potential bias at the beginning. The fact that the quote was submitted on a blog also shows that anyone could submit anything and the quotes do not have to be submitted by an expert in the field or the like. The quote was however submitted by a meat eater (they claim to be anyway), and this increases its reliability in giving an unbiased opinion.
Yahoo Answers, ‘Why do people think all guy vegetarians are gay?’, published 2008, viewed 17th March 2009, http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080229172740AAU3A74
Contribution to my topic: This article was relevant to my topic in showing the connection of meat abstinence with femininity. It allowed me to explore a different path in my PIP: that of the threat to one’s masculinity if he abstains from meat. The quote that I used from this showed the connection between compassion and femininity that is made in society. It was a good example of people’s attitudes in society in an informal and possibly truthful environment.
Credibility of source: The source is from Yahoo Answers, which takes a format similar to a blog. This decreases the reliability of this source, as anyone can submit answers if they wish. However, despite the reliability of the quote I used, it does present some interesting points and even though I am unaware of the author of the quote, it is still possible to use the quote to show societal attitudes. The fact that the quote was submitted online as has some advantages, these being the fact that it is quite possible that the author of the quote would have been more truthful and unafraid to say what they truly believe – which alleviates some pressures that are evident in face-to-face interviews.
Various Pictures Sourced From:
Contribution to my topic: These images, while providing limited factual information, did help to place my PIP in its context. They helped to show the masculine connotations and the power associated with meat that have existed over time, whilst providing a small element of humorous entertainment.
Credibility of sources: The sources are from a variety of different types of websites, such as blogs and websites that are run by animal rights activists. The credibility of the information on the images was not of great importance to my PIP, as they were inserted to show different types of interpretations that exist between meat and masculinity in a variety of different forms, rather than to provide any type of factual information. All three, however, can be verified in other contexts (e.g. the Father’s Day advertisement can be verified on other advertising websites), and this increases their reliability, and thus, their credibility.

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