why do women compose the vast majority of the US vegan population?

title says it all

The lack of a citable fact say it all too.

Vegan demographics

It skews very heavily young and female.

Because animals are cute?

Personal theory: Fad, image, etc.

For men, tearing meat from the bones of a wild animal that you hunted down and killed with your own bare hands is too much a part of our image. Women don’t have that, so the fad can take hold.

While veganism has a serious moral basis for most practitioners, it is also a dietary system.

Is the answer simply that women are more likely to focus on dietary issues than men? I have no cite for that, but guess it’s common knowledge. if there is any doubt, read any female-oriented magazine.

I sometimes bring my wife to her Weight Watchers meetings. Male participation is small. At a glance, it’s at least 90% female attendance. I guess it makes WW a great place to pick up girls with low personal esteem… Sorry, that’s a different topic.

I assume the diet issue is culturally based, that women feel a social pressure to look good. A smaller proportion of men do, and it’s more often linked to their health issues.

It probably has something to do with the fact that women crave meat less than men do (and crave sweets more). Note that traditionally men trying to please a woman present her with a box of chocolates, not a steak.

It’s obviously going to be easier for someone to decide not to eat meat if they want it less.

I know a lot of vegans (mostly women), and I would say a majority are currently struggling with or have struggled with eating disorders or ‘disordered eating’, and body image problems. These issues are more common in women than men.

I’ve also known many full-fledged anorexics, and plenty of them are/were vegetarian or vegan.

Veganism is a rigid, but mostly socially acceptable, way to restrict and manage your intake of food, and many vegans lose weight because they have such limited options (and/or disordered eating habits). Mostly though the female vegans I know are normal weights, it’s the men that tend to be too thin - because you can maintain 20-30% bodyfat just fine on grains, beans, and vegetables, but it’s harder to have substantial lean mass eating only plant matter.

There are two main reasons for being vegan: caring about animal welfare and for diet and nutrition reasons.
Both sit uncomfortably with society’s idea of masculinity.

The perception is also that a vegan diet may leave one quite thin and pale. This would be less of an issue to a young woman than a young man (no, I’m not saying people become vegans for cosmetic reasons).

And look at it this way: the proportion of vegetarians / vegans varies hugely across cultures and history.
It’s a personal choice, but social norms have a massive influence.

More of an observation than an answer: there’s two food co-op stores here both stocking very little meat. Whenever I go into the one downtown, about 90% of the patrons are women.

Um. Since when was caring about animals not masculine?

Well for a start men don’t even have veganas!

I’m not saying this is the main reason or even a very important one, but my first thought when reading the thread title was “I would never date a vegan man.” Same reason I’d never date a guy who was a very picky eater: too much of a pain to cook for/dine with, plus it makes you look high-maintenance. I wonder dating issues have discouraged some men from having such a restrictive diet.

I’m going to step out on a rickety limb and offer that a component of it has to do with the different ways women and men channel their anxieties and little control issues. Women tend to funnel them inward where they take the form of more self analytical-perceptive, self controlling-restricting, and more subtly self destructive activities (that’s not to say veganism is all these things by any means, but it is self controlling-restricting), whereas men tend to spew these things outward into more other controlling and overtly self destructive activities. Same reason why women are far more likely than men to suffer from vague somatic disorders like IBS, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, and so forth.

Since only 1% of the population identify themselves as Vegan, we are dealing with traits that are unusual in men or women. Veganism is unusual behavior in men or woman.


It seems to me that this is similar to reading something profound in the fact that 3% of men list gray as their favorite color and only 1% of woman.


Caring about animals in a “animals are cute! 'ooos a whiddly cutie, 'ooo? AAAAAAAAH! Spider! Make it go away!” kind of way wasn’t considered very masculine last time I looked. Reports of women entering vet school or biology school because “animals are cute!” and running away screaming the first time they heard of “dissection lab” abound; reports of men doing the same… I personally haven’t heard any.

Caring about animals without mistaking them for Hello Kitty is perfectly masculine.

I think your stereos are typing busily. You seem to be describing what you consider “very masculine”, and this view is not likely to be shared by everyone.

I showed your post to my sister, who is a vet. She says that two men were the only people to faint when they first chopped up dead animals. The women just chopped happily (“We do more cooking” she says). If she is right, the masculine thing is to faint at the sight of animal blood. Hmmm…

I recall a barbeque on our college apartment balcony with the 4 chicks from the apartment next door. We four guys all had beef in some form & they all brought over some manner of chicken to grill.

This was a decade before the “boneless skinless breast” was available in grocery stores. And “chicken tenders” were another 20 years in the future.

I asked my favorite gal why she chose a chicken breast & got back a well-rehearsed story about the horrors of red meat reminding her of blood & death and male aggression and …

Being the engineer, I commented that my 8oz slab of sirloin had no bones, no overt fat and except for its distinct grain pattern looked like something which could have been extruded from a machine. Meanwhile, she intended to strip her meal’s skin & flesh from the rib cage, leaving half a skeleton for all to see. Heck, there was a complete anatomy lesson in all the layers of skin, fat, fascia, and various muscles she was going to expose. Not to mention all the ligaments & tendons. And blood vessels.

Made sense to me, but wow did she get hostile.

Needless to say, I did not get lucky that night. Rational thinking; preventing nerds from getting laid since year one.

Yeah, all that, and also because, for the most part, men are actually “made of” meat, and women are made of plants.

**“Boys are made of Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails”

“Girls are made of Sugar and spice and all things nice”**


I’m guessing it’s dietary more than cuteness. Highly biased and completely anecdotal but: I think half (or more) of my female friends have something going on like “I don’t eat wheat”, “I’m avoiding meat, but I eat fish”, “no dairy” etc., etc. When asked, these are not folks with true allergies or conditions about these things, but are just “avoiding” them.

The men I know are overwhelmingly: “Has it stopped moving?[li]” “Yeah.” “Ok, let’s eat it.” [/li]
More tender stomachs or a lesser symptom of the whole modern body image/diet thing? I dunno.

[* In east Asia the “stopped moving” is optional].