Action movie legend and former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarznegger might be associated with a certain kind of old school masculinity, but he has no time for marketing or media that peddle unrealistic and regressive ideas of what it means to be “manly.”
Schwarzenegger makes an appearance in the new documentary, The Game Changers, which explores the growing popularity of veganism, especially in the world of professional sports. The 72-year-old actor, a big advocate for plant-based diets for both health and environmental reasons, has reduced his own meat intake by 80 per cent. And you wouldn’t exactly call Arnie a slouch in the fitness department, would you.
In a new clip from the film, Schwarzenegger states that what you eat has no impact on your masculinity, and criticizes the way that meat is advertised in popular culture as something “for men”.
“There’s no one that can relate to it better than I do because I’ve lived in that world,” the seven-time Mr. Olympia champion says. “‘Steak is for men’… They show these commercials—burgers, George Foreman with the grill and epic sandwich—this is great, great marketing for the meat industry, selling the idea that real men eat meat. But you’ve got to understand, it’s marketing. It’s not based on reality.”
Why is a rare steak seen as a sign of masculinity? Probably because it appeals to the primitive part of our brain that still identifies as a hunter-gatherer. But when was the last time you went literally hunting for your pre-workout meal?
It’s 2019, and those old jokes about vegans being weak and anemic aren’t just tired; they’re inaccurate. You only need to take a look at fitness influencer Simon Hill, whose ripped physique is the partial result of a 100 per cent plant-based diet, and actor Jared Leto, who credits his vegan, alcohol-free lifestyle with helping him stay shredded, to start questioning whether meat really is an essential source of protein… or whether we just fell for those ads.
If a meat-free diet is manly enough for Arnie, who are we to argue?
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