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Appetite. 2001 Aug;37(1):47-56.

Men, masculinity and food: interviews with Finnish carpenters and engineers.

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  • 1National Institute for Consumer Research, Lysaker, Norway.


This study explores how Finnish men from two occupational groups describe food in their everyday life. The concept of masculinity is used in interpreting men's food-related behaviours and beliefs. Data are drawn from semi-structured interviews in the 1990s with twenty carpenters and twenty engineers involved in the building trade. The paper presents analyses of the similarities and differences in how the men talked about meat; vegetables; beer and wine as parts of meals; food as energy, health and pleasure; and cooking. The results show variation both between and within occupational groups. The men did not stress the role of meat, but rather emphasised the role of vegetables. The carpenters tended to favour meat whereas the engineers had a more positive attitude to vegetables. Eating was described as an everyday routine needed to refuel the body and stay healthy. In addition, the engineers talked about the pleasures of eating. The men described cooking as optional or exceptional. The carpenters seemed to more actively embrace hegemonic masculinity and reject what is feminine than the engineers, who have reformulated their definition of masculinity to encompass concerns with health. This study suggests that both masculinity and occupational class play a role in male food-related practices and preferences.

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