Traditional Sexism

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I’ve just read a great article in the Guardian regarding sexism in the brewing industry. I thought it was a well written piece with some ultimately positive news about women collaborating, forming alliances and making progress in what was one a very male dominated industry. (Well done to them).

Unfortunately, when I saw that someone had posted the article on Facebook, I was horrified to read some of the 80 or so comments that went with it. They ranged from the ridiculous to downright hatred. How can people be so nasty to each other? Instead of picking up on the women’s collaborative, they’ve focused on the fact that the author of the piece talked about the sexist marketing images used by other breweries and the fact that the female brewers agreed, saying that ‘laddish’ marketing was hackneyed and tired. This seems to have sparked a flurry of sexist comments from both men and women.

In my opinion, the women in the article were dead right. I enjoy drinking beer and I don’t see that marketing exclusively to men is in any way a good idea, let alone the damage it can do to a brand by offending a significant proportion of the client base. I can see that it would alienate a woman who was looking to brew her own beer. I can understand why other women are offended by the imagery and names that some breweries use.

I’ve included my thoughts on the Facebook comments below:

This isn’t an important issue/feminists should concentrate their efforts on bigger issues.

This is an important issue. This is everyday sexism – it’s not overtly excluding women, it’s using language and imagery to suggest that this product is for men – for no real reason. (As an added bonus, the imagery objectifies women.Thanks!) By doing so, women automatically exclude themselves as customers, often without realising it. The subtlety of this approach can help to normalise sexism as anyone who complains about such a seemingly minor issue is seen as whining, overreacting or being a killjoy. A society where sexism is the norm contributes to all of the problems that women face today (earning less, being overlooked for promotion, being objectified etc.) as it promotes the idea that women should shut up and get on with it. After all, militant feminists aren’t sexy, are they? And god forbid a woman should be unsexy…

Don’t buy it if you don’t like it.

I won’t, thanks. But I suspect a lot of people will (possibly without thinking about it) because, as in my earlier point, we live in a society where casual sexism is the norm – and I want to make people think about that.

Women don’t complain they aren’t binmen etc.

Yes we do – but I don’t think that’s particularly relevant to the issue in hand.

There’s beer that could be offensive to men.

That’s not ok either and it doesn’t detract from this issue.

These women are using sexism to promote their own crap beer.

No they’re not. These women are joining together to support each other’s business endeavours, make contacts, promote brewing for women and to encourage a community where women can help each other. If that generates media interest then great. That isn’t sexism, that’s business accumen.

Also, I love the way this comment assumes that the beer created is crap. I’m going to guess that the contributor hasn’t tried all of the different beers the women in the article had made – thus proving that sexism in the beer drinking community is alive and well and that women probably need to stick together if they’re going to get anywhere.

If the industry was that sexist those women wouldn’t be able to brew at all.

Sexism isn’t a black and white issue. Just because women are ‘allowed’ to make beer (wow, thanks!) doesn’t mean there isn’t a long way to go.

Feminazis! Puritans! PC brigade! You can call beer what you want!

Can you really? So, no matter how offensive, sweary, inappropriate, racist, homophobic etc. a name is, you can still use it? Well, I suppose you can, but why would you want to? No landlord/landlady in their right mind would put it on a pump, plus you’d have the added benefit of knowing that you’d upset a load of people. Well done you.

The Guardin is run by a fat ginger bitch so it’s bound to be biased! The brewer looks like a man! Lesbians!

I’m not even going to dignify those comments with a response. Please crawl back into the primordial soup and talk to me when you’ve evolved.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Get in touch below!

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