Other than the oh so very obvious answer of us ladies being the superior species I thought I had better dig and delve a little so not to upset the male masses. All jokes aside (not joking) females seem to be paving the plant-based pathway for us to walk and I'm wondering exactly what it is that makes woman go vegan first?
Before getting into the facts and stats on the matter, from personal experience, it's clear to see who comes out as compassionate first. I myself have been Vegan much longer than my non meat eating man, my sister went vegan before her veggie hubby, my boyfriends mum and sister are vegan but have meaty eating men, my veggie (nearly vegan) mum is but my dad is still..."not eating as much meat" another words, not vegan! This is just me and my bubble of family and friends, but it is as clear as day who are dominating the vegan movement...that's right ladies - we are! (Cue smug faces)
Now before any vegan guys get grumpy with me, please don't. If anything I have more respect and admiration that you go against the grain...well actually, you're more for the grain and less for the meat! Either way, I think this proves that you stand for what you believe in even more so, regardless of what society associations have been applied to the vegan lifestyle. We are all in habit of finding it somewhat a miracle when a man makes the change, or when we see a celebrity male go vegan - but when you hear of a woman...meh, its great but it doesn't seem to have the same impactful message. It is simply more unusual for a man to be vegan than a woman and more celebrated when a man goes vegan than a woman - I want to figure out why!
So to back up what I am claiming here, and to prove its not just an isolated situation to my friends and family, some research I did showed that in Britain almost twice as many vegans identify as female (63%) than male (37%), and in America 74% of vegans are woman! My question again - Why??
I can't answer for all woman and say "oh well it`s because of this and that" and I am pretty sure that my reasons for being vegan are nearly if not exactly the same as a vegan mans. Animals, health, the environment and so on. So really my question isn't a simple why, it is why do more woman take action sooner?
I figured what with women being wired to nurture the young we could have a more instinctual link to being compassionate generally. After reading a fair few studies on the 'compassionate instinct' I found that we all, both men and women, have a natural instinct to help others who are suffering. To sum up Research by Stanford University, they found that compassion is natural, and gender doesn't make any difference. Well - that stumped me! OK...so maybe women engage more when first learning about veganism and can transfer this compassion to the animals easier?
Dare to care or defend?
We all know of that awful defensive reaction we can get when telling someone about veganism, and the awful truths behind the meat and dairy industry, does this differ between men and woman? Lets face it, when we first face the truth, its difficult, uncomfortable and somewhat stressful, so I looked at how women and men naturally react to stress. Shelley Taylor at UCLA found that men do in fact react differently to stress. She found that men have a 'fight or flight' response to stressful situations whereas woman are more likely to respond to stress by socialising, bonding, finding protection, and nurturance from others. Imagining now the defensive argument (fight) with a man about veganism or the complete avoidance (flight), compared to that of a female who would naturally befriend and bond over a stressful topic, its starting to add up why woman may hear the voiceless much sooner.
Once I got to grips with men being just as naturally compassionate as woman, then learning that the reaction to stress differs, I once again wondered why. I thought back to being a child and being bought a baby doll, a play pushchair, animal cuddly toys, cyber pets I had to keep alive (I actually cried when my Tamagotchi died) and realised that a reinforced sense of compassion, care, nurture and empathy were all very present and constantly growing my compassionate behaviors into adulthood. My nurture was being nurtured! However for men being given action figures, battle ships, superheroes and so on as a child that would surely add no reinforcement to what comes naturally - compassion! Thinking about when a woman cries and is looked after, but if a man cries it is (in my opinion wrongfully) viewed as a sign of weakness. There really is no wonder that woman can be comfortably compassionate but for a man, it goes against what he has been taught, but not what comes natural!
I feel like I could really keep digging with this topic and keep finding out fascinating facts to suss out why some men wuss out of being vegan but this is more than good enough for me. I am happy in knowing that men are equally as compassionate as woman but discussing veganism for the first time is stressful, it can make them either fight or fly, and why it is not so easy for men to stand up and yell about being compassionate without feeling uncomfortable about it all.
But boys, I have a secret for you...woman find compassion incredibly sexy. Start yelling!
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