07 Jul 2011 @ 3:10 PM 
 

More sexism for beer.

 

Among other things, I consider myself somewhat of a feminist.

I know, I know. It might seem a little contradictory because I own a penis, but trust me: I’m all for equality among the sexes. Some of the most important people in my life are women and I want to see them treated fairly and, frankly, like people rather than some mystical, mysterious demographic. When I see something that I consider sexist, I tend to get up in arms. Unfortunately, I don’t really have the vagina uterus credentials to do it properly, and I’ve been known to get up in arms about things that I might be a little idealistic about, so there’s your warning for the rest of this article.

One of the first things I saw this morning via Twitter was this tweet referring to an blog post over on Smart Bitches about a “scientific” article about romance novels that was, essentially, very sexist toward women. The assumptions of said scientific article are basically long-perpetuated stereotypes about women and romance (and I won’t even get into the dodgy sampling/research).

That should give you a little bit of an idea about the kind of reading I do on a daily basis. Hi. I’m a complex individual.

Then, as I was trolling through Twitter this afternoon I came across a little discussion about Chick Beer.

Go ahead and click on that link, swallow a little bile, and come back. I’ll wait.

Got your eyes adjusted away from the pinksplosion? Right on.

I don’t even know where to begin with this. No – strike that, I do. I can start back about two years ago with the BitterSweet Partnership. (“Finally, a beer just for women!” – Nice market research!) Yeah-huh. This isn’t the first beer for women, but it does make the same basic assumptions:

Women are delicate creatures that need to be coddled. They can’t possibly determine what kind of beer they like out of such a complex array on the shelves, because hey: learning is hard! Not to mention, we all know that beer makes you fat, so slow down girl! You want something low in calories, low in carbonation, low in bloat! Something pink!

It’s the same damn thing as that article above. It’s women perpetuating ridiculous and insulting stereotypes about… women!

Here. Let me describe a beer for you that I think sounds disgusting. Women who read my blog, please let me know if you think this beer sounds appealing:

A slightly flat Light American lager.

Whooo-hoo! Can we serve it warm, too?

Does it sound more appealing if you know the six-pack looks chic, like you’re carrying a cute little purse? What about that the label is shiny? How do you think the six-pack carrier or label will change the flavor? Please frame your answer using as few expletives as possible.

Here’s the way I see it: If women really truly want a choice in beer that suits their taste and style, there are 1700+ craft breweries in the country to choose from and I guarantee that many of them will make something that suits someone’s individual taste and style … assuming they like beer. And if they don’t like beer? I suggest starting there instead of something they’ve probably already tried: slightly flat Light American Lager.

Where does this crap come from? Haven’t we been able to move past this in the industry? Women drink beer. A lot of women drink beer. And if my experience has taught me anything what they like is robust, flavorful beer. Not something designed for their delicate sensibilities, but ones that they enjoy because.. oh.. they like the taste of it, not because it comes in some fancy, shiny, carrying case.

It’s an exemplary example of something that I really like to argue: That when you separate women as a social group, regardless of your intent, you are being inherently sexist. What the underlying assumption to all of this is, is that women have to be treated differently than men. I see the intent: You want something that women will enjoy, that will make them feel special, etc. – but that underlying assumption, while well-intentioned, is also what allows this incredibly short-sighted and sexist example and will continue to provide many more as long as people continue to treat women as though they are inherently NOT people.

As a lot of people have said on the internets already today: I hope this is a joke. I hope this is designed as satire. But I doubt it.

Sorry, ladies. You’ll just have to drink it. After all, it’s designed just for you.

Tags Tags: , , , ,
Categories: industry, marketing, new beer, op-ed
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 07 Jul 2011 @ 04 19 PM

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Responses to this post » (15 Total)

 
  1. Jael says:

    Pass me a Sixpoint Righteous Rye while I warm up my throat-punchin’ hand, wouldja?

    The idea that “women” move in some sort of school-of-fish-type bloc, liking and drinking and watching all the same things, never fails to infuriate me. Marketing BS at its “finest.”

  2. As a woman who LOVES craft beer (AND the color pink), this beer literally sounds like the most nasty/boring flavor imaginable. Gross.

    I’ll admit, I’ve been hoodwinked by flashy beer labels, only to find them not able to live up to their fancy drawings or sexy names. It took a few tries to realize that a lot of times, my favorite beers are the ones with no frills on the bottle that are like fireworks in my mouth!

    I totally don’t even think this is a joke, which is even more of a joke IMHO.

  3. Greg says:

    I teed off on this one, too. Just a lazy, patronizing excuse for marketing.

    Adam at Beerpulse threw out this and wondered if we weren’t more inclined to be charitable to a brewery we already liked, rather than Minhas.

    I pointed out that the GF has a figure with actual eyes that look at you, Stevie noted that it’s a Belgian Pale Ale (and probably tasty), but we also agreed that yes, context probably matters when we decide how offensive such things are.

    The reality is that good labels and marketing respect consumers; this just treats them like idiots. I’m curious: What did you think of the Carlsberg Copen*hagen beer for women?

  4. cindy says:

    i was so incensed by this that i sent the company an email. the person who responded is dave who says he is the husband of the woman who started chick beer:

    i Cindy,

    I’m sorry, but you just don’t get the brand. We expected that there would be some of this.

    Chick Beer was conceived by my wife, an accomplished career woman, mother of five, and possessor of the best marketing mind that I’ve ever known. You’re entirely missing the irony. The idea is to turn around the term “Chick”, a pejorative when spoken by men, and spin in into a positive thing for women.

    The bottom line is that we are the opposite of what you think we are. Chick celebrates women far more than craft beers that ignore them and mass market beers that market to them only with the sides of their hands. Chick Beer was never intended to be for everyone, but it is an honest product that is nothing if not respectful of women.

    If you don’t want to buy Chick Beer, then don’t buy it. We never expected that everyone would….” and on a bit after that.

    here’s my response, which is much like what erik has written above:
    “Thanks for responding, but I’m afraid I do get the branding. It falls into a stereotype that women only like light beers. Craft beers don’t ignore anyone–they just make fabulous beers for all kinds of tastes, from lighter beers to stouts. As far as irony, I don’t read any irony in your product. It seems to straight forwardly market itself toward a certain stereotype of women consumers, pink and all. Even the idea that your product puts itself out there as all about charity. Unfortunately, what I have seen across my life is that any product like this that sells itself based on gender (and I’m including products geared toward men too) most often end up supporting the very stereotypes they claim to refute. I guess what I believe is that women do not need to be celebrated. They need to be treated as equals who can sort through the purchase of the huge selection of beers available to everyone without having to call it a chick beer with a pink label.”

  5. Christine says:

    I think Ithaca Brewing Co’s Flower Power is a nice girly beer, you know, because of the, uh, flowers.

  6. shficke says:

    Cindy, thanks for posting that email. In my opinion, if they really wanted to turn”chick” around or be ironic, they’d be making a giant, dark, hop-bomb, not the same kind of beer everyone calls “chick beer”. They’re not being ironic, they’re marketing directly to a collection of stereotypical assumptions about women: we like pink, we like sparkles, we don’t like flavor, we care more about style than substance. And hey, maybe they’ll reach a certain market, but they shouldn’t pretend that they’re doing it in an ironic way to empower women. That’s bullshit.

  7. Big Tex says:

    What annoys me about this is that this is a ploy about marketing, and not about beer.

  8. Stephanie Harper says:

    One word. Zima.
    *Blarrrghhh*

    • Anukool says:

      My favourite auohrts are as follows Patricia Scanlan, Marian Keyes, Jill Mansell, Erin Kaye,Sarah Webb, Mairead O Driscoll, Kate Thompson, Mary O Sullivan, Clodagh Murphy, Anita Notaro, Claudia Carroll,Zoe Miller, Melissa Hill, Emma Hannigan, Kate Mc Cabe, Sharon Owens, Michelle Jackson, Pauline Lawless, Fiona O Brien, Fiona Cassidy, Collette Caddle, Sinead Moriarty, Geraldine O Neill, Sophie Kinsella, Sheila O Flanagan, cathy kelly, Emma Heatherington, Martina Reilly, Claire Allen, Tara Heavey, Ciara Geraghty,Roisin Meaney, Claire Dowling, Linda Kavanagh, to name but a few. My earliest was Maeve Binchy the queen of chick lit .

  9. [...] bit much. It’s a Q&A. She Q’d, Lewis A’d. But many others  have ripped Lewis and Minhas (here, here, here, here, and here) for the beer, the marketing of which is defined by a pink outfit, [...]

  10. Jim says:

    Oh my… I don’t even know what to say…

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