On the first Friday of every month beer bloggers around the world join together for The Sessions (which are also known as Beer Blogging Friday). There’s no entry fees or membership required, we all just write a blog entry on a pre-determined topic each month.
This month’s session is hosted by Nichole Richard (aka Nitch), who you can find over at Tasting Nitch. She’s chosen the topic of ‘‘Women and Beer: Scary Beer Feminists or a Healthy Growing Demographic?’’. She’s left the brief very open-ended, stating that we can ‘‘Feel free to write about what you want as long as it is beer and woman related!’’.
Okay, so I’ll talk about the whole ‘‘women in beer’’ thing and how sick to death I am of it (sorry, Nitch). Almost as sick as I am of the stupid argument about trying to define craft beer.
Now, permit me a slight diversion that will make sense later. For ages, in the music scene for ages it was quite common to see ‘‘women in rock’’ stories. Hell, as a working journalist I think I’ve written a few of them in my time.
But you don’t see them much any more, do you? That’s because no-one cares whether this band has a female drummer, or that group has two female guitarists. We see them as just musicians, and their gender doesn’t matter.
That’s a great thing because something I realised a few years after writing my ‘‘women in rock’’ story was that it simply perpetuates this idea of females in rock and roll as ‘‘other’’, as not quite belonging, as being seen as enough of a novelty to comment on and write stories about.
And I think the same message can be conveyed when we talk about ‘‘women in beer’’ or ‘‘female brewers’’, when we should just be thinking of ‘‘beer drinkers’’ or ‘‘brewers’’. When I say ‘‘we’’ I mean those of us in the beer community. Sure, the rest of the world that doesn’t care as much about beer as we do will still likely think women drinking beer or making it as a tad odd or unusual. And they’ll likely do so for a while.
But you can’t blame them, really. If the beer community itself continues to talk about ‘‘women in beer’’, continues to make special beers specifically aimed at women’s palates, then we can hardly get peeved when the broader community does.
So it starts with us – we should stop talking about female beer drinkers and brewers as though they’re somehow different. Stop looking at women’s enjoyment of beer as being not the same as men. And for God’s sake, we should stop with the asinine and condescending ‘‘women’s beers’’. If people want to drink beer, they’ll drink it. If they don’t, they won’t. Doing stupid shit like adding rose petals in your beer or putting it in a pink bottle don’t so anyone any favours.
Everyone else will take their lead from the beer community. If it doesn’t matter to us then, eventually, it’ll stop mattering to them.