Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My beer has lady parts (and yours does too)

Dear Fellow Imbibers,

My beer has genitals (again).

A few months back the internets kind of blew up over a craft beer misstep made by a women's forum when they recommended fruity beers as an entryway to the "confusing" world of beer (they've since removed their video). You can read an expletive-laden version of events by Claire Lower (because expletives are really my favorite) or a more sober rendition from Guys Drinking Beer.

Click image to enlarge
This month, La Fleur Magazine's boasts "Girl Beer" as a feature on their January 2014 cover (pictured at left). The gendered article title has elicited some negative reactions. Ginger Johnson of Women Enjoying Beer takes issue with the terminology, stating that "nothing good can come from the perpetuation of less than full respect titles" and that "it perpetuates [the idea of] gender oriented beers."

Despite my own mild objections to the headline, La Fleur's article (which you can read online for yourself) does a decent job of recommending some pretty top-notch beers in a manner that both respects the intelligence of its readers and does justice to the beer itself. Not to mention, it was written by women who actually like beer.

What's a girl to do?

Does it matter what we call ourselves if the end goal is to invite more women to the table? Or is it disrespectful to use "girl" in any context when we're talking about grown women? Is a gender-neutral approach really effective or required when we're trying to call more women to attend to their glass?

Jennifer Rios, a commenter on the WEB Facebook page, says context is key:
"After reading the article, I'm thinking 'girl beer' was meant to be more of a tongue in cheek attention grabbing headline. None of the selected beers are what that title brings to my mind [...] my lady friends & I would have no problem with Pike or Dogfish. Girl beer is just a term, it only has as much power as you give it."
@ATLbrewbabe, who recently started up a Georgia chapter of Girls Pint Out had this to say when asked for comment:
"I'm 31 and don't mind the word 'girl' and use it frequently. I don't think twice about seeing the word 'girl' all over pop culture either, i.e. HBO's GIRLS, Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Truth is, there isn’t a clear-cut official marker of adulthood in our culture. If you're 35 living with mom and dad are you a girl (by immaturity) or a woman (by age)? I'm so confused. That's it, I'm bringing back the oh-so-slang, but gender neutral 'peeps.'"
Rather than getting our panties in a bunch, I say we go commando and shine some light on our similarities. Arguments aside, quibbling about the difference doesn't seem to inspire people to shake their groove thing on a common dance floor. You know what I mean? Of course you do.

So let's just let beer be sexy, and if so-called "girls" want to come to the party with their drinking cards, let's ask them to join the rumba. Shall we? Until the next glass my lovelies, eat well, drink whole heartedly, and savor the deliciousness of your daily life. As always, I'm devotedly yours in the way of beer.


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