The research found that the women rated vegetarian men as 'less attractive' in all circumstances, despite some of them being vegetarians themselves.
The quickest way to a woman's heart is if you're a meat eater! According to a new research conducted by the University of Padova, men going vegetarian or vegan may want to reconsider their dietary lifestyle as it may affect their relationship.
The study titled "Eating Meat Makes You Sexy: Conformity to Dietary Gender Norms and Practices," was published by the in the recent issue of Psychology of Men and Masculinity. The study was led by the University of Padova and was conducted by researchers Caterina Suitner and Susanna Timeo.
Previous studies have explored the connection between masculinity and meat-eating. Some studies have found that people perceive men who are vegetarian as virtuous, but not likely masculine. Suitner and Timeo decided to experiment with this perception and took their curiosity to the lab.
The researchers recruited 228 men and women under the age of 50 to take part in the experiment. One of the exercises involved rating fictional accounts of vegetarian men as well as meat eaters. The women were asked to rate the men with descriptors such as 'I would date him', 'sexy', 'attractive' and 'ideal partner'.
The fictional omnivore men were described as eating foods such as salami, polenta, and strudel, whereas the vegetarian men were described as eating foods like yogurt, fruit, tiramisu, and soup. The research found that the women rated vegetarian men as 'less attractive' in all circumstances, despite some of them being vegetarians themselves.
The researchers found that culturally, women prefer meat eaters over vegetarians. This is more true for Italians. "We have found that, in the Italian context, females seem to prefer omnivorous over vegetarian males as possible mates, and that this discrimination is stronger among women holding negative attitudes toward vegetarians," write Timeo and Sutiner in their research paper.
The researchers noted that they did face a certain amount of confusion when it came to the implications of their findings. Unfortunately, what they found was only focused on specific cultural explanations such as stereotypes and gender roles.
What the research found was that the idea of 'masculinity' needs a cultural update. "Because women tend to reward mates who adhere to the gender stereotypic role, the detachment from [eating meat] may become more difficult for men," stated the researchers. They also added: "It is, however, true that new models of masculinity are emerging and that the hegemonic model might be overcome."