There’s a line in the sand for marketing the successes of women and progress and then there’s the unnecessary advertisement of a women succeeding because she’s a woman.
Here’s one example. The well reputed Cicerone program, which I believe to be of very high value, has recently announced the successors of the recent round of Master Cicerone certification. To be sure, this high level achievement is notable for anyone to pass.
Why then did Cicerone choose to highlight the recent graduate as a female? It should be a ‘who cares what gender’ situation, especially in light of the fact that the beer community seems to think itself non sexist.
What color is her hair? How about her eyes? Should that be noted – that she is perhaps the first graduate to have a XYZ breed of dog too or is of a specific heritage that we feel we must bring to the surface?
Highlighting gender and age diminishes the true news here: successful attainment of a difficult goal hard won.
When you highlight something like this (gender, age) you unfortunately do everyone a disservice: you send the message that it’s important to point out that a woman can in fact attain this kind of progress. However well intended, it’s the wrong thing to do. It’s focused on gender as a “wow – she made it” instead of “wow – this person made it.” Focus on the brain and intelligence, not the plumbing.
Did they announce the first certified MC’s as “The First Men To Pass The Test”? I bet you a few beers they didn’t.
This post is not meant to malign the program. I like and respect Ray, founder of the program and endorse what’s he’s created. We’d be first in line to talk about the import of beer education for everyone. This time it includes the professionals too.
Point out the successes and leave gender out of it. We shouldn’t be caring about what gender is succeeding at beer. We should simply be nudging those forward who want the assistance and celebrating their wins with nary a gender reference in mind.
This pushes everyone back into the score keeping mode.
And unless age has any relevancy with success in this world that we are trying to constantly improve, negate the age reference “youngest”. It’s like you’re saying the longer you’ve been on the planet the more we should expect you to achieve in societies expected patterns. Pointing out age, whether it be young, old and everywhere in between, perpetuates the ridiculous focus that age has anything to do with success.
Let’s get over it and get on with it, shall we?
It’d be a good move for them to change the news on their page to simply highlight the latest graduate of the program.