What Needs To Change With Women’s Beer Group Names

This article is still very true.

And it makes me wonder when women and going to stop perpetuating and creating “clever” monikers for females beer affinity groups. Bad names do way more damage than they do good. Here’s some I’d strike from the list:

  • Pink Boots Society
  • Girls Pints Out
  • Pussy Cat Beer Guild
  • BABES

All of these are – perhaps well intended – and have intentionally chosen names for the groups that will only continue to hold women back. Education can’t be packed in a sexist wrapper and called good.

It’s absolutely mind-blowing when you consider they were created by women. What the heck do the men then think – “If she calls herself a girl/chick/babe/broad, then why can’t I?” And they’d be right. Double standards in public are a poor and stupid choice.

Cheers to smart women who are helping create progress - Ginger (c) with Krissy (l) and Rocky (r) of Snake River Brewing, Jackson WY - where they recently hosted a women + beer event

Cheers to smart women who are helping create progress – Ginger (c) with Krissy (l) and Rocky (r) of Snake River Brewing, Jackson WY – where they recently hosted a women + beer event

Correction of ills, overcoming everything from the female/male wage gap to prostitution, are all part of gender equity it’s a big picture issue. It’s global, local and everywhere we can and can’t possibly think of. It’s up to women mostly to stand up and say. Men, you need to speak up as well.

There is no room in my mind for any of these names to be related to beer. So let’s bring beer into the picture.

If beer’s been modernly perceived as a male drink of choice, and women want to get into it – great! They must do it with full respect to themselves. Cheekiness or being coy or clever with words isn’t helpful – again, it’s damaging and negates and reverses progress. Women are smarter than that. The days of going to university or college for women to find husbands should be dead. This behavior and thinking will never deliver full equity. Don’t be lazy and let this mindset persuade you into thinking it’s okay. It’s not okay.

A cheesecake type calendar is circulating in the beer world of females who work at breweries in seductive poses. Women, this isn’t helpful or cute or even good. It’s simply perpetuating that you are the sum of your boobs and legs, smiles and eyes. Be the sum of your brain cells and backbone, your fortitude and intelligence.

The kicker for me is that the women voluntarily featured in the calendar I know to be otherwise smart women. What broke down? Where was the idea that “this is cool!” when all it does is further objectify them instead. Missteps and selective ignorance and blinders to what’s right, especially intentional ones, need to become extinct where women and beer are concerned.

If we can change the way people think about two universal planetary things (Women + Beer) we can indeed change the world for the better. I’ve seen it. It’s possible and I’m going to stay at it.

Here’s the good news: It’s easy to encourage and make change happen. Stand up, speak up, be vigilant. Women and men everywhere are responsible for making equity and equality happen.

Here are some groups who do it right:

  • Ales 4 FemAles
  • Crafty Ladies
  • Fermenta
  • Women Enjoying Beer

They’re highlighting education to a population that has not been focused on or considered to enjoy beer. They’ve chosen names and titles which build up respect for women learning about beer, not breaking it down. It’s about education first to a powerful population they recognize are curious, deserve full respect, do a majority of buying in the USA and are fun to have around.

Are you part of the solution or problem?

FYI – If you read this and want to take issue, you better be prepared to tell me how these groups and titles truly encourage equality and equity. No ranting from a lopsided perspective allowed (no, I’m not being hypocritical).

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Why Gender In Marketing Beer Matters

There’s ongoing conversation about whether or not women should in fact be recognized and actively marketed to for beer. While it may seem like a silly question to some, frustrating for others and “huh?” for yet others, I think it’s important. Here’s why.

At the center of the issue is that any population that has not actively been invited to converse and be involved in a conversation needs to be invited. Women here are the said population, beer is the said conversation.

IMG_1112Recently I was contacted by a respected and sharp colleague about writing a column for Valentine’s Day about women and beer, specifically which beers to suggest for women who currently don’t consume. In the stream were 6 other people I know in the professional beer arena and so ensued a query: Should this instigator write about this topic? Is the writer, who in this case is male, qualified to write such a piece? And if so, then what are our thoughts?

Responses were varied, with common themes, which is common in doing this sort of ad hoc research. I commented right away. He’s precisely the right person to do this. Thoughtful, exercising quality journalistic professionalism….and incidentally a man.

Feminism isn’t about gender. It’s about equality and respect and having everyone participate in progress.

One of the goals here is to make the connection of women and beer so obvious that it’s no longer an eyebrow raising, patronizing facet of our society. At this time it’s still firmly entrenched so change we must actively pursue.

Think it’s already there? Think again. When you’ve got people in breweries marketing Double D Blonde, Tramp Stamp and dozens of others with highly sexualized images to go with them, then yes, Virginia – there’s a massive problem.

  1. Is this beer quality to begin with? If so, then why pander to a hormone raging teenage boy level name and graphic. Totally ridiculous, tired (as another write stated), and completely eliminates not just women. It’s insulting to women (reduced to bodily parts) and men (you’re too sex driven to think of anything else) alike.
  2. Why are the women and men in the companies not completely squashing these ideas? Products that have these labels should not be allowed to do business until they partake of meaningful and lasting gender respect education.
  3. “Small” brewers in America are the worst. So no – small isn’t best. Small is small. And in this case small also means small-minded thinking.
  4. I’d hedge a bet that everyone involved in all these brands has a female in their life they care about. Why are they totally dissing her and not seeing the obvious connection here completely baffles me.

One of the colleagues in the stream pointed out that she’d rather have people say holy shit you know a lot about beer,” instead of gee, you sure know a lot about beer for a girl.” I agree. I find it curious that someone who is tired of hearing about gender in beer calls herself a girl. This is precisely why we need to keep talking it out. It perpetuates permission to call a woman a girl instead, thereby indicating she’s under 18 and infantilizing her person.

Out as in, all women and men need to demand full respect in titles and names – yes they matter. Huge. Girls, chick, broad, bitch, and babe are all damning words and do not connote full respect, are not clever in the world theatre and only help stagnate progress. Correct someone when they use girl instead of woman.

There’s a relatively enthusiastic group in the community that uses Girl in the first of three words in a title. While they may preach that they are about education, the very fact that the first word in the title of the name is denigrating is seriously regressive. I expect to hear from one of them, following the post, as I have little time for someone who tells me “F*** you, we can call ourselves what we want,” “get off your feministic high horse” and so forth (they do that). Undiplomatic, unclassy and most importantly closed and narrow-minded. If you’re going to be belligerent an unseeing of the damage you’re doing, I’ll have no part of it.

It’s both amusing and tragic at the same time that there are those who think disrespectful labels and titles are acceptable and keep using them. No you can’t call yourself what YOU want and not push your own myopic and selfish feelings on the rest of the female population. It’s not about you, it’s about all of us.

Left Hand does it right: Ales 4 FemAles

Left Hand does it right: Ales 4 FemAles

We have to be fully aware that if we all want full dignity and respect, then the titles and labels we use in any public arena must reflect that. You can still exercise cleverness as it fits, like Left Hand Brewing’s Ales 4 FemAles – as long as respect is intact. A4F hits the target, retains integrity and respect, and communicates what the group is about.

It’s a well documented fact that in societies where women are fully respected the culture is healthier, happier, and more successful in many ways than those who do not fully respect women and females. Rather ironic that America, one of the greatest countries in the world and clearly a World Leader, is *still* so far behind on gender equality.

You can respect women, men and beer simultaneously. We all should.

I hope we go somewhere with this idea, collectively as a group, since there will be strength and great varied opinions in this rank. In the meantime the writer has my full support, which he had before.

Stay posted…watch to see what happens.

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Left Hand is All Right!

Many thanks to the hundreds of guests that joined us at Left Hand Brewing for special Ales 4 FemAles events the last two nights.

What an incredible group of switched on, tuned in, flavor and fun loving beer people! T’was a thrill and honor to be part of this tremendous series that Cinzia & Sue started years ago and that Morgan adeptly runs now.

Cheers to Left Hand & Ales 4 FemAles!!

Cheers to Left Hand & Ales 4 FemAles!!

Here’s what I love about Ales 4 FemAles:

1. They’re about education first

2. They understand that addressing a specific segment of the population, in this case women, requires a dedicated effort

3. They have a ball bringing topics to the participants that enlighten, engage and promote education.

4. There is no chest beating of “We are Women, hear us roar!” – that’s not the point, and they understand that. It’s “We Love beer, pour us more!”

Monday and Tuesday were in the co-ed series realm which is all good too. Single sex education has huge and proven value. Mixed crowds for the right scenarios are equally productive.

I appreciate, laud, and admire Left Hand for this effort – all while remaining ever committed to high quality beer, taking care of their crew, and being a very active part of their community.

This is what beer is all about.

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