London: Men believe eating steak, burgers, and bacon makes them more manly and veggie men are seen as wimps and less macho even by women who do not eat meat themselves, researchers have revealed.
Professor Hank Rothgerber of Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, who has published his research in the journal Men and Masculinity, said that meat eating was linked with 'manhood, power, and virility'.
"There is a group of manly men who swear off what they call chick food, and they seek a double whopper to declare their manhood," a daily quoted him as telling NBC news.
"Meat consumption is a symbol of patriarchy resulting from its long-held alliance with manhood, power, and virility," he added.
The men questioned in the study said animals 'just taste too good to not eat them' whereas women were more apologetic about eating meat.
The study surveyed 125 undergraduate psychology students for one study, and 89 for the second. They were all white middle class students in their late teens and early 20s.
Prof Rothberger found that men expressed more favourable attitudes toward eating meat, denied animal suffering, believed that animals were lower in a hierarchy than humans, provided religious and health justifications for consuming animals, and believed that it was human destiny to eat meat.
"These are direct, unapologetic strategies that embrace eating meat and justify the practice," he stated.
While the professor admits his study was limited, he believes there could be even more pressure to 'prove manhood' by eating more meat.
Previous studies have also shown the association between men and meat is as old as the hills.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia revealed that vegetarian men are seen as wimps and less macho than those who like tucking into a steak - even by women who do not eat meat themselves.
And last year, a team from the University of Pennsylvania and Brian Wansink of Cornell University showed consumers link meat with masculinity and concluded was 'a strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, all-American food.'