Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the 49ers, recently Instagrammed his meal of steak, eggs, and fruit, with the caption: “This is lunch….. I don’t eat vegetables they make you weak!”
It doesn’t matter if he actually believes that or if he was trying to be funny: His post perpetuates the ignorant association of vegetables and negativity. The comment section of these kind of posts always conjure up remarks that are heavily sexist and loaded with gender slurs. Isn’t it funny how often anti-vegetarian comments conclude with the word, “bitch”? But of course they do: insisting that vegetarianism is “weak” also suggests that it’s effeminate. I already wrote about the sexism intertwined with meat eating in my Father’s Day post.
Sorry if I just put a little damper on your male power parade, Kaepernick.
He is also flat out wrong: he’s suggesting that you can’t be a successful athlete if you eat plants. But nobody featured on this website of vegan athletes are weak. And the men and women over at Vegan Muscle TV, are they weak? How about an Olympic athlete? Or a lot of Olympic athletes? What about me: am I weak, even though I bike every day and am getting ready to run my first 5K while on a plant-based diet?
There are currently 41.3K “likes” on the Instagram photo at the time of this posting. I imagine that most of those people agree with Kaepernick that athletics on a plant-based diet is a bad idea. And they are so wrong.
So disappointing, yet unsurprising.
“Meat seems associated with strength and power, two features generally attributed to males,” write the authors of a 2012 study published in the Journal of Consumer Research that examined why male consumers avoid vegetarian options.
In another study, published in the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity, researchers linked eating meat with “manhood, power, and virility” and found that men were more likely than women to “endorse pro-meat attitudes” and believed it was “human destiny to eat meat.”