I am an unabashed carnivore. I believe in buying humanely sourced meat, but I have no moral compunction about eating animals. I think they're tasty and nourishing, and I wouldly gladly walk across hot coals naked except for a silly hat for a nice plate of bacon. I am not one of those meat eaters, however, that looks down on vegetarians or vegans. I am a live and let live type (pun totally intended).
Interestingly, at least to me, people often assume I'm a vegetarian. Now I know my canines aren't particularly pointy and I don't wear the skins of my latest kill, but why would someone assume I don't eat meat?
I think it starts with the fact that I am a self described healthy eater. And I'm in pretty good shape. And finally, of course, I am a girl. A good amount of people who meet me, possessed of those three facts, immediately ask if I eat meat or not. Now, when I meet a man who eats well and takes care of himself, I don't assume he eschews flesh. I assume he avoids potato chips. And I think most people would agree with me.
I actually don't think these assumptions are out of line. After all, the vast majority of vegan/vegetarian blogs I read are written by women.* And the vast majority of Paleo blogs I read are written by men. Women seem to gravitate towards the vegetal end of the eating spectrum.
And I think we (we as in we women) do so for a combination of reasons. For one, we have been told for years that meat, especially red meat, should be consumed in moderation. In fact, we have been told that protein in general should be consumed in moderation,a nd anyway, there are alternative sources like soy. Vegetables are also 'safe'-they are low calorie and highly nutritive. And of course, it is less cruel to kill a carrot than a cow, at least in theory. Some people just naturally prefer the taste of veggies to meat, and maybe that taste difference is grounded in the XY/XX divergence. Some have argued that the preference goes back to the fact that men hunted and brought down the meat, while women scavenged for the berries etc.
As a side rant, can someone please explain pescetarians to me? I do not understand how you can draw a principled distinction which makes it ok to kill and eat animals that swim, but not ok to do the same to animals that walk on dry land. I am open to hearing the arguments...
But the part I find most interesting is that health=vegetarianism for women, and it does not for men. Personally, I physically feel most healthy when I'm eating a significant amount of animal protein.** Yet, even though I know intellectually, and very much enjoy eating a lot of meat, I still feel a twinge, as if it's still a emotionally little counterintuitive that so much protein could be good for me. Maybe it's those double Xs...
*I love vegetarian and vegan blogs, many of which have novel ideas for preparing veggies, not to mention some damn fine writing :)
**Relative to my size, of course.