The Myth of Meat; Uncovering the Cultural Constructions of Contemporary Animal-Product Consumption in the United States
Barrineau, Alyssa K
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Cultural constructs have long been a central focus in the field of anthropology. Food, along with other cultural constructs discussed by anthropologists, such as gender, emotions, dress, empire, and illness, to name a few, are crucial when studying human culture. This text discusses the contemporary cultural constructions of meat via Roland Barthes’ theory of myth. Unveiling the myths associated with animal-product consumption furthers our understanding of food and dietary habits as being culturally constructed. Myths, in all contexts per Barthes, are social constructs. They are ideas, beliefs, customs, traditions, and norms that—despite being myths—shape, create, and inform our realities. Vegans have become modern-day mythologists by demystifying the myth of meat and have created another way of life that seeks to end non-human animal exploitation, dismantle colonial and patriarchal systems of power, and regain individual and collective health and wellness.