The year is 1940. Prohibition is not long over, its spectre haunts the United States of America as disintegration and war haunts Europe. Advertising barons, smug men in suits, sit in warm offices across the North American continent devising methods for selling lager beer. They are trying to tap into their own brains, decant ideas that are refreshing and retain well.
“Aha!” shouts one bespectacled lout. “The woman’s voice.”
A mass of advertising heads rise and fall. Of course, think these hundreds of men, looking out at their secretaries typing and fending off sexual advances on the office floor. The woman’s voice. It’s perfect. Who understands it better than us – good, red-blooded, hard-working, middle-class American husbands?
A further disturbing part of this Budweiser advertisement from 1940 is the “Test” featured at its bottom. It is severely reminiscent of the “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man” maxim.
“Give me an exclusive palate for a week and I will give you a captive drinker.”
All of this commentary of course comes from a 2015 unmarried male who brews his own beer and has no idea what a happy wife looks like.
I recently noticed this article
over on Homebrew Dad
I agree with the author’s overall sentiment. I find the “bro culture” in a lot of the brewing community to be pretty ugly. Thankfully my home city Melbourne is reasonably progressive and its inner-city brewers are on the whole open and welcoming. Even so, of the fifty-odd members in my brewing club only two are female. Sometimes we get more women in at meetings but they are usually partners of brewers as opposed to being brewers themselves.
The Homebrew Dad article is correct to point out that women in the past brewed a lot more than they do at present. This shift started occurring when brewing industrialised in the 16th/17th century and male capitalists began to replace the gentry’s influence in society, taking brewing out of the home/home business and into the factory. Krenze’s 2014 thesis, “Change is Brewing”, touches on this, but the most relevant text is Bennett’s Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World. It’s not an objective disempowerment however, as one can also argue that women were only majority brewers prior to industrialisation because of patriarchal demands.
Either way, in brewing as in all things we who are privileged should be cognisant of the gender imbalance and work to diminish exclusionary behaviour. If more women want to brew, they should have the means and support to do so.
And geez I wish those American podcasts had less penis jokes. Boooring.