Not Impressed: Pink Beer for Women

by | July 29, 2011
filed under Feminism, Pop Culture

Are you a woman who doesn’t drink beer much?

Is this because beer wasn’t pink enough for you?

After decades of beer companies making incredibly sexist ads policing masculinity and depicting women as nothing more than sex objects, beer companies have started to realize that women aren’t buying their products as much as men. Their solution: creating new lines of beer targeted to the very consumers they’ve been insulting (this Coopers ad campaign implying less-alcoholized beer will help you avoid hooking up with ugly women gets pride of place in my walk of shame).

Unfortunately, their idea that women would drink more beer if it were pink is no less insulting.

Molson Coors’ Animee beer is the latest to take up this idea. As The Daily Femme points out, the beers Animee line are “fruit flavored and bloat-resistant” and the “rosé beer” is pink. Basically they’re saying what women want is something pretty, pink, fruity, and sweet, that won’t make them fat. It might appeal to some women but the idea that it appeals to all of them is ridiculous. As Christie at Ms. Magazine blog puts it: “In essence, Molson Coors has kept the doors locked on its “no-girls-allowed” beer clubhouse, but poked its head out to say, “Hey look! We set up a crappy flowered tent next door. You guys can hang out there.”

Pacific Western Brewery's pink beer "Wild Thing", photo by Lori & Todd

Pacific Western Brewery's pink beer "Wild Thing"

Molson Coors isn’t the first beer company to go this route. Carlsberg launched a line of lychee-flavoured beer last year called Eve.

And closer to home, Prince George’s Pacific Western Brewing created a not-so-classy bright pink beer/aphrodisiac/energy drink called “Wild Thing”.

The thing is, it shouldn’t take pink dye and lychee essence to make beer acceptable as a woman’s drink. It was actually a woman’s drink to begin with.

In ancient cultures almost worldwide, including Incan and Nordic cultures, women were the original beer-makers. Stuff Mom Never Told You has a great podcast on the history of women and brewing that says in these cultures, beer was almost always considered a gift from a goddess. Women were also responsible for most of the brewing in the 1700s in England, when they were developing ale. They pinpoint the Industrial Revolution as a key turning point in the masculinization of beer. Then, taverns became a male domain due to rules preventing women from coming in in order to discourage prostitution. Molly and Cristen at the podcast argue that it’s bar culture since the Industrial Revolution that’s led to the gender gap and sexist beer advertising we see today.

So in the scope of history, beer becoming a man’s drink is relatively recent. But trying to change what beer is isn’t the way to get women back into the beer-drinking culture. Maybe the best way Molson Coors and other companies could attract women consumers would be to show some respect for the history and craft of brewing, and just basically for women as people.

For more, Modern Lady’s Erin Gibson has a funny take on all the pre-pink beer sexist beer ads:

-Jarrah

“Wild Thing” photo credit: Dave & Lori – http://www.flickr.com/photos/loriandtodd/3236216527/sizes/l/in/photostream/


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