Soyboys will be boys: Negotiating vegan masculinities in the land of lamb ‘lovers'
Vegan men wield the dual privileges of men (in a gender hierarchy) and human animals (in a species hierarchy), yet identify with a liberatory movement that is seemingly antagonistic to both patriarchy and anthroparchy. This contradictory positionality is predicted to be especially acute in Australia where meat – foregone by vegans – is closely tied to the Australian master identity (Plumwood, 1993). Homing in on these power dynamics, I conducted 10 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with vegan men living in Australia. I explored how vegan men conceptualised their identity in relation to patriarchy and anthroparchy, as well as how they related to animals – both human and non-human – that live within and across these hierarchies. Interviewees described feeling stigmatised in Australia, and responded to this stigmatisation by valorising reason, emphasising the importance of argumentation and practising tactics that weaponised masculinity. These findings align with work on hybrid masculinity (Greenebaum & Dexter, 2018) which suggests that vegan men distance themselves from hegemonic masculinity, but ultimately fortify power relations between men and women. However, I also found that veganism appears to act as a ‘gateway’ through which vegan men could begin to appreciate other social issues. Ultimately, by investigating the experiences of vegan men, I hope to map a more discernible path towards equity on the basis of gender and species, and contribute towards building a more reflexive social movement.