Sorry, vegetarian and vegan men, but women prefer your meat-eating brethren.
At least according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Padova (that’s in Italy). The study titled “Eating Meat Makes You Sexy: Conformity to Dietary Gender Norms and Practices” found that when women were presented with fake bios of men that either showed food preferences that included meat or yogurt, they preferred the men who ate meat.
One experiment (out of three conducted by the researchers) asked 50 Italian women to rate the men’s bios as “attractive,” “sexy,” or even “I would date him.” Negative descriptors were also included.
An example bio, as presented by PJ Media, reads:
“Alessandro is a 29-year-old guy. ... He works as a personal trainer and lives in an apartment with a friend. His hobbies are playing tennis and playing bass guitar. ... His favorite dishes are polenta, salami and mushrooms, and strudel.”
Vegetarian and vegan men’s bios, however, claimed their favorite foods were things like fruit, soup, tiramisu, and yogurt.
Women — even vegetarian women — rated meat-loving men much higher.
“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,” the researchers wrote.
Another experiment showed that societal and gender norms may have played a role in the attractiveness ratings. The researchers found that men who thought vegetarianism was a feminine trait tended to be meat eaters, and often expected women they dated to order traditionally vegetarian foods like salads.
Obviously, there are problems with the study, so it should be taken with a grain of salt. For starters, this was conducted in Italy, so it might not transfer to American attitudes. It’s also just one limited study, so we don’t know if it can — or will — be replicated.
The researchers also appeared to want the conclusion that it was society, rather than biology or a desire for strong, healthy mates, that caused women to prefer meat-eaters.
While this is a fun study to share on social media — or write about — one should always question such experiments.