Food conveying masculinities: how conformity to hegemonic masculinity norms’ conformity influences food consumption


  • L. Campos
  • S. Bernardes
  • C. Godinho


Unhealthy eating habits have a great impact on people’s health. Sex-related differences in their adoption exist; however, sex is not the only explaining factor, with gender playing a vital role in this relation. Drawing upon the Gender in Context Model and the Focus Theory of Normative Conduct, we aimed to investigate how conformity to hegemonic masculinity norms influenced men’s and women’s meat, vegetables and fruit consumption, and how gender-salient contexts moderated this relation. We also aimed to test if sex-related differences in these foods’ consumption were mediated by the conformity to hegemonic masculinity norms. In a quasi-experimental, between-subjects, 2 (high vs. low gender salience) by 2 (man vs. woman) design, 519 participants (65% women; M = 44 years old) completed, in an online questionnaire, the Portuguese version of the Conformity to Masculinity Norms Inventory, and answered questions about their past week’s meat, fruit and vegetable consumption; additionally, half of the participants received a message designed to manipulate gender salience while the other half did not. In order to test our hypotheses, regression analyses were performed. Our hypotheses were partially confirmed; the relationship between the conformity to masculinity norms and food consumption was moderated by gender salience, and sex-related differences in food consumption were partially mediated by the conformity to masculinity norms. Therefore, this study showed that gender is an explaining factor of food consumption patterns, both through conformity to gender norms, and through contexts where gender is salient, and, thus, an important variable to be considered. .





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