Lately at the remarkable Feminist Food Club of Berlin, I discussed how the way we speak about drinks is still very full of stereotypes and what we can do about it.
In 2017 ? Yes, in 2017.
Because if men and women palates are not different, the choices of drinks according to gender are still very much made by social norms and expectations. And it makes no sense !
This is probably why it was the topic of many conversations in the industry's gathering lately (great talk about it at the last Paris Cocktail Week last June or at Bar Convent in October).
Anyway both my short talk and this as well short text will, I hope, contribute to unravel how the idea of gendered drinks is very much embbeded in our society, why and what we can do about it.
But first : a video !
Yes a video made by Indulgence
Interesting, right ?
I want to go a little further than bar situation in order to show how it is deeply embedded into our societies.
For example ... in movies.
Who hasn't heard about the film Crazy stupid love in which a über confident Ryan Gosling tells to a awckward and unconfident Steve Carrell : “stop drinking like a pussy”? And what does he mean by drinking like a pussy ? He means drinking pink colored drinks. Huh ? Do I really have to add any comments ?
If film helped reviving the culture of cocktail lately, they are also responsible for reviving stereotypes.
# TV series
Another cultural medium perpetuating stereotypes are series. What about Mad Men and Sex in the City
Who is drinking what according to you ? Yes again, strong whisky for men, light cranberry cosmo for women. You gonna argue those series are almost old. Yes they are but not their force of attraction.
Men work and women are having fun.
I’m stoping quickly about whisky.
Whisky is an interesting topic when talking about gender at it seems the most polarizing. Drinking whisky is still an activity dominated by men. And the deeper you delve into the world of whisky, the more men will dominate the debate and discussions. The blogger David Tjeder noticed that on the social forum Malt maniacs & friends. There were 9356 members in that Facebook group at the time he’s writing a post (it was november 2015) and how many identifying themselves as women : 13
It has changed till now. But that that much.
Whisky = men culture for many.
And this is actually on that aspect that advertisers are surfing.
Speaking of example in the advertising, whiskey indeed give us many examples of gendered bias.
Checks those ads for example
# 4 magazine, online viral articles
See those two examples from men and women side ?
Did you notice something ? why are drinks that women appreciated always named girly ? while the drinks men favor are manly drinks.
It is always girls vs. men. Why are women considering themselves as girls ? Did they interiorize some kind of inferiority ?
I’ll be you I’ll check “men glasses” vs “women glasses” in your broswer once. The results do depend of the country you are in and your previous searches of course, but it's generally quite instructive to check there is not obvious neutral reality. Just bias. Thank you Ms Harraway and your oblique look concept.
Last but least, let’s examine the terminology associated with drinks.
They are not words that describe flavor or odors, there are no flavor or odors’ descriptors. Those are words to describe a person.
And isn't it where we need to act. TAKING GENDER AWAY OF DRINKS DESCRIPTION ?
Training staff to realize when they are diving into stereotype, rephrasing sentence, keeping it positive and polite and explain customers there are actually being unprecise and offensive ?
Great articles about it.
Please read !
In the spirits business
In Punch Drink, with a great study of how it is to drink as a women.
In Slate, with an article to prove me wrong about whisky :-)
A great academic article showing discrimination between straight and gay men regarding drinks here
Etc, etc, etc...
(this section is an ongoing on...)