The next time you hear someone make an assumption about women and their boozing preferences, consider the following two cents from a range of female voices.
There is a lingering gap between the reality of women who enjoy a drink and the world that tries to market to them. Sometimes, as Chicagoist contributor Lorna Juett notes, the tactics can be as overt as a drink called Chick Beer, all dressed up in little black dress silhouette on pink packaging and tagged as a light beer that “more women prefer.” Juett is bothered, because “dumbing women drinkers down to the lowest common beer denominator does not legitimize our presence in the marketplace.”
More often than not, the assumptions about female drinkers come out when a woman is steered toward fruity or light beers, says the Guardian‘s Naomi McAuliffe. She blames the general culture in the United Kingdom, which fails to acknowledge that “women’s tastes tend to vary as much as men’s.” And whereas she isn’t a fan of fruit beers, she remind us that “they’re not in fact a new-fangled wheeze dreamed up for the fruit-salad-craving womenfolk, as using fruit to spice beer predates the use of hops by millennia.”
After all, says fellow Guardian contributor Sophie Atherton, “there’s been strong connection between women, brewing, and beer throughout history. These days, despite endless patronising marketing ruses like chocolate flavoured beer, ale enthusiasts regularly trumpet statistics showing an increasing number of women drinking beer.” Recently, the Guardian reported that Atherton had beome the UK’s first female beer sommelier.
Along with beer, women have been known to appreciate a good cocktail just as much as men, if not more. The topic of female tippling is explored in a book of essays called Drinking Diaries, edited by Leah Odze Epstein and Caren Osten Gerszberg. As The New Yorker points out, “[The] collection stands in opposition to the picture of a plucky gal at cocktail hour, like the ladies from ‘Sex and the City,’ who proudly subverted old gender stereotypes of propriety around drinking.”
When it comes to becoming a gatekeeper, the scales are tipping closer to the center as more and more women become career barkeeps.