Soy boy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Soy boy is a pejorative term sometimes used in online communities to describe men perceived to be lacking masculine characteristics. The term bears many similarities and has been compared to the slang terms cuck (derived from cuckold), nu-male and low-T ("low testosterone") – terms sometimes used as an insult for male femininity by online communities.[1][2][3]

The term is based on the presence of the phytoestrogen isoflavone in soybeans, which has led some to claim that soy products feminize men who consume them, although there is no correlation between consumption of soy phytoestrogens and testosterone or estrogen levels[4] or sperm quality.[5]


Soy products contain high amounts of phytoestrogens.[6][7] As they are structurally similar to estradiol (the major female sex hormone) and have activity at the estrogen receptor,[8] concerns have been raised that it may act as an endocrine disruptor that adversely affects health.[7] While there is some evidence that phytoestrogens may affect male fertility, "further investigation is needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn".[9] Several review studies have not found any effect of phytoestrogens on sperm quality[5] or reproductive hormone levels.[4][9]


The term is often used as an epithet by internet trolls. It is often targeted at perceived social justice warriors, vegans,[10] social liberals, and similar groups.[11] The term has also been used in online debates about the fashion appeal of cargo shorts.[12]

Soy boys are often depicted as feminized and unathletic, usually with glasses and a poorly-groomed beard, and having a characteristic open-mouthed smile called a "soy face" or "soylent grin,"[13][14] a pun on the 1973 dystopian film Soylent Green.

After UFC Vegas 11 in September 2020, UFC fighter Colby Covington made disparaging reference to Nate Diaz's "soy boy diet"; Diaz is a vegan.[15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hosie, Rachel (30 September 2020). "Soy Boy: What is this new online insult used by the far right?". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2022-05-24.
  2. ^ "An Anatomy of the Soy Boy". New Socialist.
  3. ^ Beck, Chris. "The Rise of Nu-Males and Soy Boys". Splice Today. Retrieved 2022-08-08.
  4. ^ a b Reed, Katharine E.; Camargo, Juliana; Hamilton-Reeves, Jill; Kurzer, Mindy; Messina, Mark (2021-03-01). "Neither soy nor isoflavone intake affects male reproductive hormones: An expanded and updated meta-analysis of clinical studies". Reproductive Toxicology. 100: 60–67. doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2020.12.019. ISSN 0890-6238. PMID 33383165.
  5. ^ a b Messina, Mark (May 1, 2010). "Soybean isoflavone exposure does not have feminizing effects on men: a critical examination of the clinical evidence". Fertility and Sterility. 93 (7): 2095–2104. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.03.002. PMID 20378106.
  6. ^ Thompson, Lilian U.; Boucher, Beatrice A.; Liu, Zhen; Cotterchio, Michelle; Kreiger, Nancy (June 17, 2006). "Phytoestrogen content of foods consumed in Canada, including isoflavones, lignans, and coumestan". Nutrition and Cancer. 54 (2): 184–201. doi:10.1207/s15327914nc5402_5. PMID 16898863. S2CID 60328.
  7. ^ a b Rietjens I. M. C. M.; Louisse J.; Beekmann K. (June 2017). "The potential health effects of dietary phytoestrogens". British Journal of Pharmacology. 174 (11): 1263–1280. doi:10.1111/bph.13622. PMC 5429336. PMID 27723080.
  8. ^ George G. J. M. Kuiper; Josephine G. Lemmen; Bo Carlsson; J. Christopher Corton; Stephen H. Safe; Paul T. van der Saag; Bart van der Burg; Jan-Åke Gustafsson (1 October 1998). "Interaction of Estrogenic Chemicals and Phytoestrogens with Estrogen Receptor β". Endocrinology. 139 (10): 4252–4263. doi:10.1210/endo.139.10.6216. PMID 9751507.
  9. ^ a b Cederroth C. R.; Auger J.; Zimmermann C.; Eustache F.; Nef S. (2010). "Soy, phyto-oestrogens and male reproductive function: a review". International Journal of Andrology. 33 (2): 304–316. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2605.2009.01011.x. PMID 19919579.
  10. ^ Cunningham, Brent (18 September 2019). "Plant-based meat and the knock-down, drag-out fight for the American diet". Vox. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  11. ^ Reynolds, George (October 25, 2019). "Why do people hate vegans?". The Guardian – via
  12. ^ Jennings, Rebecca (April 18, 2019). "The latest debate on right-wing Twitter: are cargo shorts for 'real men' or 'soy boys?'". Vox.
  13. ^ Abascal, Luis (4 July 2021). "Basado, charocracia, chad o pesetas y cunetas: así habla el Team Facha". Elplural (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 19 September 2021. Retrieved 22 Sep 2021.
  14. ^ Klee, Miles (2020). "'Soy Face' Is Real, and It's Annoying — It Just Needs a Better Name". Mel Magazine. Archived from the original on 1 October 2021. Retrieved 22 Sep 2021.
  15. ^ "Fact checking Colby Covington's controversial UFC Vegas 11 post-fight statements". September 21, 2020.
  16. ^ McCaugherty, Stephen (September 21, 2020). "UFC's Nate Diaz Challenged: 'I'll Take His Life'".