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Sexism in the craft beer industry

I’ve not worked in the wine industry for over a decade, I wonder how and to what extent the wine trade has similar problems. (I did see a colleague (rightly) sacked for sexual harassment back in 2005.)

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I fail to see anything rational that would make one whole industry worse (or better) than any other.

Surely the problem is certain individuals?

If you think that’s bad… take a look at the ‘craft coffee’ trade - EVERY one of them seems to be brothers this, guys that, typically with beards. Oh… and a mule.

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I respectfully disagree. There are ‘cultures’ within certain industries. It happens because key individuals who shape the culture move from one business to another, making certain behaviour normalised or accepted, or because that culture permeates key events. I’ve seen plenty of macho behaviour and sexist ‘banter’ in the food/drinks industry, including by key individuals who are in positions of power and who exclude people who challenge this and whose behaviour is copied by the emerging ‘talent’

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This is true. There is a long history of unfortunate, juvenile and sometimes downright outright offensive beer names that dates back to the original CAMRA/craft ale fraternities. Unfortunately I think some of this has been carried forward into the modern craft ale industry and along with some of the ‘new laddishness’ of the '90’s created some fairly unpleasant behaviour. See Brewdog for an example.

However, it’s far from isolated. My own industry (advertising/media) is currently experincing a bit of a ‘me too’ moment & some of the stories coming out are pretty horrific.

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Indeed. I used to think ‘Old Peculier’ was OK - but now I’m almost 60 I realise it is unacceptably ageist AND encourages poor spelling. How jolly dare they.

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This kind of behaviour is absolutely outrageous.
It reminds me of the Coke break ad where the office girls were drooling over that poor buff window cleaner chap. God only knows what fate he’d have to endure should alcohol been involved.

On a superficial level your example supposedly compares like for like - but scratch the surface and it’s nothing of the kind.

In a world that historically objectified women, controlled their bodies, their movements, their brains - in fact, their very existence - showing women doing the reverse just doesn’t convince. Women cannot really objectify men in quite the same way, because the risk of predation that comes with men’s ability to act on their drooling doesn’t quite exist.

In fact, ask any man (especially amongst fellow men), and they will most likely think the ‘poor chap’ is actually quite ‘lucky’. It just won’t work in reverse.

Then again, I’m sure you were just lightening the mood and joking, right?

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Yes, of course I was trying to lighten the mood and have a bit of fun with the subject matter.

And I would probably agree a lot more with the points made in your second & third paragraph prior to the advent of the Spice Girls and ladettes that followed. Women are not the shrinking violets they used to be.

But joking aside, things have changed over the last 20 years here in the UK, and thank heavens for it. As a nation I personally don’t think the vast majority of us Brits objectify or try & control women. They certainly don’t within my own social circles.

Oh dear though. Unfortunately, I feel you’ve let yourself down a bit with the comment about the poor window cleaning chap being quite ‘lucky’. I have 2 exceptionally good looking male friends who have suffered pretty badly at the hands of women that have objectified and abused them by pinching their bottoms, groping, unwanted sexual suggestions and advances. There seems to be no shortage of women that are quite capable to act on their droolings. Surprisingly, these guys do not feel lucky at all. In fact over time they’ve developed a unhealthy distrust of women which has had a hand in impairing their ability to sustain long term relationships. Sadly, I think you’ve stepped into the ‘pot kettle black’ realms of the hypocrisy which exists within the topic.

Anyway, on a slightly different note, but probably the reason for making my joke in the first place: I struggle to understand why certain aspects of our society, beer brewers for instance, are being focused upon for relatively minor sexist transgressions compared to the elephant in the room, religion. Particularly the Abrahamic ones, which seem to get away with blue murder and continues to go unchecked regarding the subjugation of women. Blessed are the brewers, in comparison.

If this happens to any men (and I’ve met only one who had cause to complain of this, who was a stunningly chiselled and very charming international rower in his mid 20s living in a university town), it happens so vanishingly infrequently that your comparison with the experience of some level of harassment and predation by almost all women, at some point in time, is completely invalid. And if you think this doesn’t happen in this country, I would refer you to pretty much everything that has been said by many women over the last year in the context of the violence against women that has finally gained some prominence in the media. I think our responsibility as men is to demonstrate some allyship, not score points.

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Indeed - your male friends should not feel lucky. My comment wasn’t that men experiencing this sort of attention are ‘lucky’ - rather than amongst men there is a perception that this sort of ‘attention’ is something to celebrate. That’s not what I think or feel. Any sort of harassment, regardless of one’s gender, is just that - harassment, and can have significant psychological implications. Nothing ‘pot’ or ‘kettle’ about my remark.

As per @Jcbl comment, the reality is that such things happen very rarely compared to a more culturally (which includes your religious argument) embedded destructive behaviours towards women.

Absolutely! :+1:

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‘‘Indeed - your male friends should not feel lucky. My comment wasn’t that men experiencing this sort of attention are ‘lucky’ - rather than amongst men there is a perception that this sort of ‘attention’ is something to celebrate.’’

But aren’t women envious of the attention their more attractive female friends are getting a similar thing. Don’t they feel their good looking friends are the lucky ones. Suggesting males would celebrate this attention when women do as well is still pot n’ kettle.

I also thought Jcbl’s comment about allyship was bang on, & superbly hit the nail on the head.

I think I may have better looking mates though…Kev was the spitting image in looks and build of Brad in the film Troy about 20 years ago.

I guess it’s a question of degrees.

Attention can come in many forms; it’s always nice to be complimented for one’s gorgeous looks (I can only assume! :smiley: ), but there are forms of ‘attention’ that are distinctly moving into the predatory or down right menacing territory.

Again, I didn’t suggest that men should ‘celebrate’ this attention - only that in my experience, this is the sort of ‘narrative’ they will be telling themselves or each other. But I accept that I am not a man, so only going on what I have seen/heard/experienced second hand.

It’s a great shame that some (notably young) women have a notion that equality is something that can be achieved by emulating the worst aspects of their male contemporaries, be it in language, attitudes or behaviour.

I guess they go on the old adage that ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’.

Even my very well-adjusted 18 year old struggles with the very unhealthy, and often conflicting, messages young (and older) women are being bombarded with about what would make them ‘acceptable’.

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Try getting your ‘laughing gear’ around a few of these examples of just how badly wrong brewers can get it:

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Going back on topic slightly, I just wanted to recommend the wonderful Melissa Cole, who I’ve followed on Twitter for a number of years and am a big fan of.

She’s a hugely talented beer writer - there’s few who know more about the beer industry, in fact - and she also frequently takes the time to highlight instances of sexism in the beer industry too. Some of the beer names some breweries think are acceptable in the 21st century are mind-bogglingly offensive.

Just seen @MattH’s update above - some very good examples in that article.

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One needs to be happy within ones own skin, I guess is a good analogy. Problem for the less experienced is that you often don’t know you’ve stepped outside of your comfort zone until it’s too late. Fortunately though life can be forgiving, and the great thing about mistakes is that we can learn from them. Would you say most of the unwelcome messages young women are having to deal with come from other women (pier pressure) or males.

Having great parents & a good communication relationship with them is probably the most valuable asset any youngster can have in life. Friends kids that have this are an absolute pleasure to be around. Sounds like you’ve worked very well on that front.

That’s the Brighton version😀

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Both, unfortunately. But historically - men defined the agenda, so for many of us women certain things are seen as ‘the norm’ (I include myself here - it’s very difficult to disentangle from the dominant narrative sometimes). Men have their own pressures to contend with, no doubt.

Time will tell… It still feels like work-in-progress :slight_smile:

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