"Food, baby! PETA is wrong, I'm right. I'm adhering to the natural order, tooth fang and claw is it! To try and tell me that I can't eat flesh is just weird. I dunno even how to respond to such stupidity. This meat is food, case closed."
That cow? Food. That dog? Food. That grizzly bear? Food. That roadkill? Eh... food.
If you're a man, eat meat. If you don't eat meat, you're not manly. And eat red meat. Who only eats the white stuff? That's not meat; it's gotta bleed before it's meat. What are ya? Some skinny punk? A girl?
In case you haven't guessed, real men eat meat. They are obsessed about meat, and the bigger, redder, bloodier the better. They will often brag about how rare they like it; "it should moo at me!" Chicken and (most) fish barely qualify as manly meat, but if the guy is eating poultry, you can bet it's a big greasy drumstick. If it's fish, he probably got it with dynamite or it's some kind of shark. Bonus points are awarded if those items were deep fried or smothered in hot sauce (or both). The other end of the spectrum goes up to deer, bears, dinosaurs and anything bigger, depending on the setting. Bonus points if the meat is something he himself killed.
It never occurs to them that meat is simply part of a complete meal involving salad, meat, vegetables, dairy products, fruit, and this bowl of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.note (Technically humans can survive on only meat; if you include the organs and everything, you'll get all the nutrients you need because the cow already ate your greens for you. You might be a bit blocked—meat is low on fiber—but as long as you stay hydrated you'll still be pooping and you won't die.) Also prevalent is a conviction that however much non-meat food a man eats, he'll still be hungry, for some reason.
If a girl is a carnivore, unless she's a holdout for low-carb, it's to show that she's tomboyish.
A subtrope of Testosterone Poisoning. Related to Manly Men Can Hunt and unrelated to Large Ham (although overlap is possible). Bacon Addiction is a Sister Trope.
See also Real Men Hate Sugar.
The Burger Chef Rancher, basically a very large hamburger with no bun or condiments, with a side of "Texas toast" (regular toast sliced twice as thick as usual). The ads showed a big James Garner-looking guy coming in and going "I'LL HAVE A RANCHER."
Speaking of James Garner, he used to voice-over those all-American "BEEF: IT'S WHAT'S FOR DINNER" ads brought to you by the National Livestock and Meat Board.
Sam Elliot and Robert Mitchum were part of that campaign too. Just smell the testosterone!
When Wendy's introduced a new line of salads, their commercials addressed this stigma: a guy is taunted by his buddies for ordering a salad, until they see how delicious it looks.
Anime and Manga
Luffy, the Hot-Blooded pirate captain of One Piece, has an obsession with meat and hates vegetables. In the Toriko Manga Crossover, it's revealed that his full course menu is meat. All of it. Including the Salad, Soup and Drink categories.
Vegeta from Dragon Ball has this attitude. After being absorbed by Super Buu, he is disgusted upon seeing that the monster's stomach is full of sweets and "not a single bit of meat".
Hunny of Ouran Host Club tries to follow this in as a part of building himself as a suitable heir for his family. It doesn't take and he goes back to eating sweets.
Hajime No Ippo: Ryuuhei Sawamura likes meat. Really, really likes meat. In a twist of the trope, it's used to emphasize on his insane tendencies. Oh, if I say he likes meat, I mean he also likes the meat of his enemies, strongly resembling cannibalism.
The stage adaptation of Bleach has an extra song with Ikkaku teaching Hanataro how to be manly. Eating RAW meat is one of the things a real man must do.
In Eyeshield 21, Gaou will only eat meat. Considering he's modeled after a T-Rex, it's not at all surprising. Other characters love meats too, but they only consider it as a tasty treats or protein sources, in case of Shin.
Takes up a large amount of stories in Toriko, as mentioned above.
Inverted in Living Dead as Toriko, a female zombie, loves to eat meat and has great knowledge on different types of meat. In fact, if she doesn't eat enough meat, she'll revert to a mindless zombie until she eats some.
Lance Blastoff (a politically incorrect parody character from Frank Miller) who converts a beautiful vegetarian to meat eating by the extremely manly act of killing and roasting a dinosaur.
Astérix and Obelix both really like their roast boar.
Averted in Superman: Birthright, which established Superman as a vegetarian in keeping with his cherishing and protection of lives in general. Other stories tend to go back and forth on whether he's a vegetarian or not, ones that don't will make it favorite food beef bourignon with ketchup.
The Croods averts this. Eep, her mother, and her grandmother are happily carnivorous. Watch just how fast the giant bird's leg disappears in Eep's care. Granted, they're all likely opportunistic omnivores, but jeez...!
The warriors on Gor are quite fond of meat. In one book Tarl and his friend are at a fancy dinner party, but they both preferred a big steak to the delicacies being served. In another book he and his (different) friend take time out of their Quest to go hunting because they "need" to eat meat.
Real kzin eat meat. At least, modern male kzin do. The Kzinti have taken it so far, that as a Proud Warrior Race they went from ancestral omnivores to dedicated carnivores (except for ice cream).
And to make it even more manly, they eat raw meat. When fresh meat is not available, they heat it up to about body temperature to make it feel more authentic.
One of the most literal examples of all time in The Stormlight Archive. Alethi men eat meat, spiced food, and other thick, hearty fare. Women eat sweet food, fruit, and other similar dishes. This is not a matter of choice. It is considered abhorrent in their culture for men to eat women's food or vice versa.
Whenever a story has a scene where Conan the Barbarian is having a meal, he's usually eating a "joint of beef" and washing it down with either ale or wine.
Sam Vimes of Discworld prefers his BLTnote Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwiches with as little L and T as possible, and with all the more B.
Jerry Spinelli's Fourth Grade Rats sees peer pressure for boys to pack no sandwiches that don't have meat in them.
Played with in the Young Bond novel Silverfin. Hellebores Sr. and Jr. are sitting down, having an all-red meat dinner, and the son wishes they could at least have some green vegetables. His father immediately criticizes greens as women's food. (Even though it takes place in the 1920s, Hellebore is consistently shown to be retrograde throughout the whole book.)
Parodied in a sketch from The Armstrong And Miller Show where a King is hosting a massive banquet for the man of honor, but he doesn't really likes the food and so says he'll just eat his couscous he's brought in a tupperware box. He gets called out on his and says he'll gorge on the very next disk, a large roasted wild boar that has an apple in it's mouth. He leans over, grabs the apple and takes a bite, then complains that it's a Granny's Apple.
The sketch in which they revealed that is something of a subversion of the trope. That's because Red was trying to get Dalton to guess the word 'vegetable'; after thirty seconds of false starts, Red got Dalton to (successfully) complete the sentence "Your father ate nothing but red meat for seventy years and now he's a....."
After That '70s Show's Red Forman is forced to go on a low-protein diet after his heart attack, he complains that the salad Kitty makes for him "is not food, this is what food eats."
Earl was astounded when his son, Robbie, became a vegetarian. Since they are Dinosaurs— specifically, megalosauri, which are bipedal carnivores similar to the more familiar tyrannosaurus rex— it is treated like a gay/fantastic drug sort of thing.
Big Eater Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation planned a junket trip to Indianapolis around visiting his favorite steakhouse. The discovery that it had been shut down sent him into full-blown Heroic BSOD. He consoles himself by eating his other favorite food, breakfast, ordering all the bacon and eggs in a diner.
Ron got on well with Andy after Andy recommended a burrito place for lunch - Ron cuts his suggestion short with "You had me at 'Meat Tornado'.
Jim and his brother-in-law from According to Jim proudly live by this trope, though said brother-in-law would try (or pretend to try) to have a vegetarian diet if his date does it herself.
In the Doctor Who episode "Amy's Choice", one of the Dream Lord's insults implies this:
"[Y]ou're probably a vegetarian, you big flop-haired wuss."
Crosses over with Continuity Nod: the Doctor became a vegetarian at the end of "The Two Doctors." It didn't stick, though: the Ninth Doctor enjoyed a steak dinner with Margaret Slitheen in "Boom Town."
On several occasions the hosts of The Man Show would crack jokes at the expense of vegetarians.
In the Seinfeld episode "The Wink", Jerry goes on a vegetarian diet for health reasons and is worried that the Girl of the Week will not respect his virility.
The Scottish folk song "Tatties and Herrin" can be seen as an inversion, though it also invokes National Stereotypes:
Fan the queen's wantin' men tae gang fecht wi' her foes It's nae tae the roast beef devourers she goes But awa' tae the north amongst the brave and the darin Tae the lads that were brocht up on tatties and herrin'
Rune. Ragnar will pick up whole roast legs (not poultry, BIG legs, like lamb or venison probably) and strip them to the bone, or pluck giant lizards off walls and bite their head off in a single ravenous bite, then throw the bone/body over your shoulder? And wash that down with a flagon of mead, which you also casually toss aside to shatter on the floor. Oh, sure, there's sissy fruit growing on bushes occasionally. But aside from that, Health Food has never been manlier than Rune.
Jack T. Ladd in Guilty, even when hungry, turns down bread and potatoes. He needs his fats and proteins!
A gender-flipped version comes from Disgaea 2, with Rozalin. During the beginning intro to chapter 7, as the team's getting ready to head to bed, she admits to wanting "a nice, bloody prime rib", and when Etna talks about the reason she ditched Laharl (him eating her pudding), Etna claims sweets are a girl's best friend, to which Rozalin shoots her down with "I really don't like sweets. I'm more of a meat eater." The manga adaptation explores this a bit more, as when she got a cake as a child, it was WAY too sweet for her, which lead to her dislike of sweet things altogether.
Might be intended a clue that's she's actually Zenon, whose original gender is unknown and might be masculine, trapped in the body she's using since Real Men Hate Sugar in Japan.
In several of the Castlevania games, health is regenerated by finding power-ups that resemble a pot roast, sirloin, or roast turkey.
The charr in Guild Wars 2 don't waste time with many earthly pleasures, but good meat is one that they utterly love, men and women alike. As Cat Folk, they're exclusively carnivorous, and the only known charr holiday is called Meatoberfest.
In Persona 4 Arena, Akihiko's obsession with protein is a variation on this trope. Chie's love of meat leads to her receiving the tagline, "The Carnivore that Discarded Womanhood."
In Fire Emblem Tellius Ike's favorite food is (spicy) meat, along with him being a Big Eater. This trait tends to be Flanderized in fan works to the point where readers might think all he ever did was eat and occasionally swing a sword.
Ike: I'll pass on the desserts... But I'll take extra helpings of meat!
More or less alluded to in the Tales Series. Sometimes different characters make different recipes with different ingredients, and often characters have a preference for certain foods. Some of the manly men who prefer beef in their dishes include Lloyd, Flynn, and... er... Anise...
It's slightly more complicated than real men (due to a society of animals), but in Kevin & Kell, carnivores are expected to be carnivores and herbivores are expected to be herbivores. If one becomes 'trans-diet', as Bruno had, he can expect prejudice and accusations of betraying his kind.
One of the things Seymour does on Sin Fest to get more manly is eat a steak, which is drawn to look pretty rare.
Sokka is obsessed with meat (in contrast to vegetarian Aang). In fact, while trapped in the ground, he even admits that it's half of his personality: he's "Sokka, the meat and sarcasm guy" (but he's willing to give all that up and become "Sokka, the veggies and straight talk fellow" if he can just get out of that hole in the ground).
In the Fire Nation, even the meat eats meat.
Lampshaded in Powerpuff Girls when a boy claims eating the flesh of lesser animals is manly. His father agrees, but then is made to eat his vegetables by his wife.
In the South Park episode "Fun with Veal", Stan refuses to eat meat after saving some baby calves from a meat plant, which causes him to break out in sores that turn out to be miniature vaginas.
Hank Hill, who is appalled when his son Bobby temporarily becomes vegetarian to impress a girl. In another episode, when sarcastically asked "How many cows does your family eat in a year" he replies "Wait, we figured this out once..."
My Gym Partners A Monkey: Made fun of when Adam invites Amazon Kevin to Darwin Middle School, a hyper-masculine rugged adventurer who advertises cereal made made of miniature pieces of meat that turn red when dipped in milk.
Ren and Stimpy - Ren volunteers to be 'fake dad' to problem-child Kowalski, who looks like the scariest guy in prison. At a picnic, Kowalski requests a meat-on-meat sandwich washed down with a glass of meat.
In the Bounty Hamster episode "Fashion Victim", though she's not a man, Cassie claims "Vegetarianism's for wimps!" which her partner Marion, himself a vegetarian, takes offense to.
Steppe Nomads were very carnivorous. And while many have said nasty things about them, no one has called them unmanly. For reasons you can guess.
Friedrich Nietzsche believed that vegetarianism was bad for the human spirit (not just men, but his philosophy definitely emphasized manliness (although Nietzsche's definition of "manly" is much more cerebral/Apollonian than most people's); he specifically calls it a cause of "physiological inhibition" in On the Genealogy of Morals.
This is possibly a reasonable stance for the time given that a poorly-managed meat-free diet can result in a lack of energy and other health problems. Of course, these days it is much easier to engage in vegetarianism or veganism and still receive one's required nutrients.
A lot of evidence shows that the early Neanderthals had a mostly meat-based diet. Researchers also believed this carnivorous diet may have been partially responsible for their demise, as the end of the ice age meant there was no big game for them to catch and little knowledge on how to grow crops, unlike their rivals and human ancestors, the Cro-Magnon.
Recent finds suggest that the end on the Ice Age did little harm to the biosphere, and actually increased the biomass and biodiversity of the early European lands, which became a home to what is now known as a European megafauna. The lack of big game that brought the demise of the Neanderthals is entirely their own fault: they've simply hunted andate it all. Similar situations repeated many times when the early humans arrived at the pristine ecosystems, like the Clovis culture in early North America and ancestors of the Aborigines in Australia and New Guinea.
Inverted: Alec Baldwin is a vegetarian animal rights activist... that pretty much settles it.
Subverted by the tenth-century warrior-saint Gerald of Aurillac. Although he would eat meat, especially venison, he preferred fish and vegetables. This did not make him anylessBadass.
Subversion: Former Hockey enforcer Georges Laraque is a vegan and an active member of the Canadian Green Party.
See also vegetarian slugger Prince Fielder, of the Milwaukee Brewers (at least for the next month or so. After free agency, who knows where he'll be?)
Several cultures, such as the Massai of Africa and the Mongols of Central Asia, subsist on diets that are almost entirely meat due to living in grasslands where there is little vegetation that humans are capable of digesting. Cattle, on the other hand, thrive on grasses.
Another straight example: Ted Nugent, who provides the page quote, basically subsists on a meat diet and yet remains healthy as a horse. Say what you will about the Motor City Madman, just don't say it to his face; when an animal-rights protestor threatened The Nuge's family, Nugent put the guy in an armlock and bodily dragged him down to the police station single-handedly.
The Lewis and Clark expedition was so put off by the idea of subsisting on fish, of all things, that they resorted to buying dogs from the Native tribes as they journeyed west. They ended up consuming about two hundred and fifty dogs in all, though by all accounts they'd resigned themselves to eating fish like the natives by the time they reached the coast.
The reason the beefsteak banquet was once popular as a political fundraiser (and began to disappear due to women getting the vote). It's also the reason they haven't disappeared altogether.
Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead loathes vegetables and lives on a diet of mostly meat, cheese, and Jack Daniel's. Amazingly, he's quite healthy for being in his late-60s and is well-known for his Rated M for Manly music and for allegedly bedding over 2,000 women in his life.
The "paleo" diet trend, which emphasizes eating only foods that would have been available to our caveman ancestors and is very popular among male-heavy circles that usually eschew diet trends, tends to be very meat-heavy.
Truth in Television: building muscle mass requires a large amount of protein, usually gained from a combination of whey supplements and meat. While it is possible to get all the protein one needs to build muscle mass without eating meat, you have to really know what you're doing, especially since large amounts of soy (a popular non-meat source of protein) can cause an excess of estrogen. Turkish oil wrestlers ideally eat four kilos of meat a day along with half a kilo of honey for this reason.
With common chimps (Pan troglodytes), the males go off on hunting raids and enjoy the meat themselves. They might share the meat with females, but usually only as a bargaining chip for sex. At least one population of chimps, however, has seen females learning to hunt for themselves instead of waiting for a male to notice them and share.