Staying on course. Bodies, masculinities, and food practices during the “critical age”

By Nicoletta Diasio, Vulca Fidolini


There have been an increasing number of studies on masculinities over the last two decades. However, they do not often deal with men’s relationship with their bodies and their health through their eating habits. Based on an ethnography of the food choices of men (40 to 60 years) in France and Italy, this text tries to answer the following questions: How are the first signs of aging, dietary practices, and strategies of self-optimization connected? How does this connection result in reinforced or renewed forms of masculinity? The article presents the strategies of self-enhancement adopted by the interviewees based on different dietary regimes (carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, fasting), and it seeks to identify how food choices are related to ideas and perceptions of masculinity.


  • masculinities
  • food
  • critical age
  • bodies
  • optimization
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