Can the Boys Stop Being Boys?: The Paradox between Rebellion and Inclusion

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111 Responses

  1. zic says:

    Right up there with Ladies Night as so last century.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Vikram Bath says:

      Beer is wonderful!!!Report

    • Richard Hershberger in reply to Vikram Bath says:

      I don’t buy it. This is a bad generalization of one’s own preferences: Someone doesn’t like beer, assumes that therefore no one likes beer, and therefore claims to the contrary are made for external reasons such as social pressure. feh. This is implausible on its face. It is one thing for a transitory fad to be due to social pressure. Some “thought leader” comes up with some fashion due to ulterior motives such as making a buck or to maintain alpha status. The sheeple go along with it for a while, but soon it is replaced by a new fad. But over the long haul? I get this sometimes with music: the claim that no one really likes classical music. Those of who listen to it only do this out of snobbishness and pseudo-intellectualism. In the case of beer, people have been drinking it for millennia. Even if much of the time it was for bacteriological reasons, this hasn’t been true for some generations. So which is more likely: the entire beer economy of the past century is based on people drinking something they don’t like because everyone else is doing it, or that one individual’s tastes are not necessarily universal? I suppose it depends on how solipsistic the individual.Report

      • morat20 in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        I used to think I hated beer. Turns out I just hated the stuff my father drank (which was, you know, the beer that was around when I was old enough to drink).

        It wasn’t until, oh, late twenties or early thirties that I stumbled onto a beer I liked (again, via “This is the beer that’s here” — why would I purchase something I’ve never liked?).

        Which isn’t to sat people can’t hate beer. All beer. Tastes differ.

        But to me, I would have been a “dislikes beer” for a good ten years after I was old enough to drink it. Turns out I just dislike crappy beer. 🙂 (Well, I have a marked preference for darker beers and my family mostly drinks really light stuff. Crappy light stuff to boot.)Report

        • Kim in reply to morat20 says:

          My dad hates beer. But that’s an honest to god taste aversion…Report

          • morat20 in reply to Kim says:

            I get that. 🙂 I can’t stand cherries, myself. (Which is a running family joke, insofar as my father — every year — insists that I not eat all the cherry pie at Thanksgiving, because he can’t remember it’s my brother who is the pie-thief. It’s been almost 40 years. You’d think he’d remember which of us likes cherries).

            Tastes differ.

            Beer is pretty wide ranging in taste, but it’s got enough commonality at the base that it’s gonna hit some people wrong. That’s just how tastebuds works. 🙂Report

            • Kim in reply to morat20 says:

              Nah, I meant Taste Aversion, not “doesn’t care for it”

              As in, first time he had beer (at 16), he comes home drunk enough his mum smells it on him. And she beats the living crap out of him (only partly because he won’t admit he was drunk or who gave it to him). Then his dad comes home and beats him up, again, because my dad let his mom find out.Report

        • KatherineMW in reply to morat20 says:

          I dislike both beer and wine, and I’ve tasted sips of plenty of good vintages/brews. They all taste too much like alcohol, which I find an unpleasant flavour.

          The only exception I’ve found to this rule is “small amount of alcohol + large amount of mango juice”.Report

  2. LeeEsq says:

    A lot of this stuff is only important to people on the Internet. It really doesn’t matter what side your on, whether you think the beer stuff is sexist or you think it’s all in good fun. Unless you on the Internet much of your time, your not going to care about it. The same goes for anything else that falls under the social justice movement. Most people do not care about sexism in the craft beer industry even if they like craft beer.

    I suspect that your right and a lot of the immaturity in craft beer marketing and imagery comes from a need to rebel and be non-corporate and straight-laced. A lot of liberals who find the social justice movement exasperating do so because they seem priggish at times.Report

    • zic in reply to LeeEsq says:

      This just isn’t true.

      In Brookline Village (MA), there used to be a liquor store with girls in bikinis in beer posters in the window. One day, someone at the Brookline Phoenix (now defunct) asked the owner if anybody ever complained about the posters. He said, “No,” and that if somebody did, he’d take them down.

      Now I was raising my kids in that neighborhood, and I and other mom’s has discussed those posters repeatedly; but we live in a world where we see that women’s bodies and their sex appeal are constantly used to market things; and changing that world is like hitting your head against a brick wall to knock it down.

      But there was a crack in this particular wall; and so women wrote letters to the Phoenix; they stopped in the liquor store and purchased a bottle of wine and mentioned that, no, they didn’t particularly like the posters. And the posters came down.

      This happened before the internet was invented, too. Maybe men only care on the internet, but women have always sort of cared; there just doesn’t seem much we can do about it, because men continue to buy things because those products are connected to their emotions about sex and women and. . .Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to zic says:


        I find it interesting that you mentioned that the moms bought wine instead of the beer.

        One of the reasons I think the sexist names persist is because of the stereotype that women dislike beer and generally drink wine, cocktails, and sometimes hard alcohol. I know more women who drink whiskey neat than drink beer. I can’t even drink whiskey neat.Report

        • zic in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Well, when I used to drink, I generally drank dark beer (actually, I prefer ales). I like wine with food, if it’s well-paired, but I don’t like it without food very much. And when I was young, I preferred Johnny Walker Black.

          But since alcohol also pretty much means instant migraine, I don’t drink anymore at all; haven’t had a drink since 2007.

          And lest you think beer’s got some extra sleeze factor going on, watch the ads for stuff like wine coolers and twisted tea; who lot of resistance lowering being suggested; and it doesn’t much matter which form the spirit takes so long as drunkenness and lowered inhibitions ensue.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to zic says:

            I didn’t mean the sexist names but just failed names in general.

            I would bet money that the people who founded He’Brew are Jewish.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to zic says:


            Which just raises the question if it is subversion whether the in-group does it or not? Would Happy Ending imperial stout be more acceptable if the brewmaster and marketer turned out to be women of Asian origin?Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              My point is that saying you are okay with the Raging Bitch name because you think Pliny the Elder and Younger is clever is pretty tone deaf and offensive.

              And I’m not sure if He’Brew was created by Jewish folks. I know the company is now owned by Boston Beer (Sam Adams) and Jim Koch is Jewish, though I don’t know if that played any part in the deal.Report

          • Kim in reply to zic says:

            Dark beer for me, Concord for wine (a good concord is a thing of wonder) — i like my alcohol sweet and complex.Report

        • I can drink the first two neat, After that, I get kind of sloppy.Report

        • Doctor Jay in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Well, for one thing, MrsJay likes dark beer (think Becks). For another thing, alcohol is one of those things that some people use to signal their gender. You know, drinking single malt scotch is very manly, and drinking something with umbrellas in it is feminine. And then you find the people that don’t care so much, like me and MrsJay. When Gen. McChrystal said the remarks to Matt Taibbi about Obama that got him cashiered, he was drinking Bud Light Lime. That’s a pretty “girly” beer, right?

          Though honestly I don’t drink much at all these days other than the glass of red wine I have every night to raise my HDL cholesterol level.Report

      • Damon in reply to zic says:

        “He said, “No,” and that if somebody did, he’d take them down.”

        “they stopped in the liquor store and purchased a bottle of wine and mentioned that, no, they didn’t particularly like the posters. And the posters came down.”

        Problem solved. If no one is complaining, no one will take action. The more interesting question is why “I and other mom’s has discussed those posters repeatedly;” after all that discussion NO ONE talked to the guy. All you did was complain to your social circle.

        What’s the preferred mode now? Internet campaign of shame! God forbid actual customers go to the owner/manager and complain in person.Report

    • veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

      @leeesq — Do you think I only care about “social justice” stuff on the Internet? Cuz that would be literally a stupid thing to think.Report

  3. aaron david says:

    Whether or not the names are sexist, worse, they are stupid. I absolutely loath that smarmy, wink-wink, nudge-nudge BS. And yes, they are mildly offensive and from a business point of view they are stupid as many retailers won’t carry your product. We do live in a world where many business’ have to think about the names that are on menus or shelves and all the whaler beards and neck tattoos in the world won’t change that. Which is a good thing.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to aaron david says:


      I like good clever names like Pliny the Elder and Younger. You can’t have the good without the bad.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        “You can’t have the good without the bad.”

        That’s just not true, @saul-degraw .

        Are you cool with He’Brew? Would you be cool with a beer made by Germans that used a Jewish slur in the title? Or is some bad off limits and other bad not?Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:


          OT is doing a lot of weird stacking with my posts.

          When did I say that I found that Raging Bitch was an acceptable name? What is the exact quote that says that?

          I don’t generally buy IPAs or Flying Dog beers because at their price point, I have other favorites. What I said was that it did not occur to me to think of it as sexist because of the dog mascot until the article pointed it out. So I was admitting to a sub-conscious/unconscious bias which agreed with Will Gordon’s point. This does not mean I approve of the name.

          You are taking what I am saying and twisting it to a different meaning. This is why people don’t like doing mea culpas or admitting to a form of “I did not think of this before until now”. There is always someone around to take such an admission in the worst possible way with maximum bad faith and jump up and down and say “See. See. See. Evil!!!!”Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            You said “You can’t have the good without the bad” in response to @aaron-david articulating his issues with the names. You then cited a name you like. I don’t know how to conclude that you think we have to accept the shitty, offensive names in order to have the good names and that is a price you’re willing to pay because you really like those good names. What else was I supposed to understand from that?Report

          • Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            “I don’t generally buy IPAs or Flying Dog beers because at their price point, I have other favorites. ”

            There is that. Flying Dog is localish to me, so I see it a lot. I find most of their brews unimpressive. They aren’t terrible, but in the domain of craft breweries they are mediocre at best.Report

        • Brandon Berg in reply to Kazzy says:

          Are you cool with He’Brew?

          Your anti-pun bias is a matter of public record, Kazzy.Report

  4. Kazzy says:

    “People don’t decide to enter the craft beer world because it is staid and respected. People enter the craft beer industry because they like to drink and want to make money from booze, not selling insurance or accounting. There is a rebel and non-corporate persona. These are not people that want to put on white-shirts and ties and look clean and well-maintained. They are people who want to wear t-shirts, have beards that make them look like 19th century Whaling ship captains, and not have to worry about how the neck tattoo is going to damage their career prospects.”

    Is this true? Or is this the image that the industry projects, because — for whatever reason — consumers what to buy their craft beers from people who look like the described image?

    My friend used to work for Sam Adams, one of the first (if not the first) real American craft brewer. My friend used to work for them. They had a VERY corporate culture. Sure, they liked to feature this guy in the commercials: but that was only after the whole craft beer/rebel image boom. Sam Adams was founded by this guy:, Jim Koch. Koch was far from the type of person you describe above. But, hey, the former guy sells nowadays so they feature him and have pictures like this floating out there: because, hey, they don’t want to be the beer company with the old Jewish businessman representing it. Koch is still pretty prominent in the ads but beard dude is becoming bigger and bigger.

    So, yea, I think the branding of the craft beer industry is very intentional, including the sexism.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:


      When did your friend work for Sam Adams?

      Sam Adams is largely not considered a microbrew or craft beer anymore by others because of their size and ubiquity. There is a big debate about how big you can be before you lose craft beer status.

      The culture at Sam Adams in 2015 can be quite different than the culture of 4 college friends who decide to start a beer company because it is their hobby and why not try making a go at it?

      Now we can argue about which companies succeed and which fail. I am sure a lot of businesses fail because they treat as too much of a lark and not enough as a business but I think if you went back in time, Sam Adams culture at the begging would be a lot different than the Sam Adams now.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        My friend worked from them in the mid- to late-2000’s. Sam Adams was founded by Koch and Rhonda Kallman in the mid 80’s. Koch’s background was in business and law. Yea, maybe it was different back then but what reason do we have to think that?

        How much inside info do you have into the world of craft/micro-brewing? What are you basing the quoted description of the industry leaders on?Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:

          You get hypercritical about my posts in ways that you don’t get about the posts of others.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            You can engage my points or make this about me. Your call. Am I wrong here?Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy says:

              To be honest, I thought the same thing. Sam Adams a microbrew? Not for a long time now. And really, they were only “micro” in the sense that Sun Microsystems was (that is, plenty big, and they always were, just nowhere near the biggest players in the game.)Report

  5. Michael Drew says:

    Since there’s a non-flattering beer-related connection to my home state (and city) here (basically an inevitability when taking Wisconsin and beer together and observing the consequences, so no worries), I wanted to name a Wisconsin brewery that is among my favorites, which has no sexist beer names (to my knowledge), and furthermore employs a fantastic Wisconsinite woman graphic designer (and musician) to do (I think all) their packaging and label designs. And furthermore, they are the best graphic designs on beer packaging I know of. And furthermore, On Wisconsin!

    And furthermore, this is the graphic designer.

    And furthermore, this is the brewery.

    (It’s called Furthermore in case you don’t get my joke yet.)Report

  6. Michael Drew says:

    Furthermore, there was a movie that came out recently that wasn’t terrible that dealt with gender in the craft beer world a little bit.

    Mostly it’s a romantic comedy with the traditional gender dynamics (though the beer couple being portrayed SPOILER doesn’t end up getting together in it). But it does manage to get into the self-centeredness and lack of empathy of the creative, driven types of men who are at the front of the industry, and some of the loneliness they create for women in the industry.

    It’s called Drinking Buddies and it stars Olivia Wilde, Ann Kendrick, and your friend and mine, Jake Johnson.Report

  7. Alan Scott says:

    I’ve heard of zero of these beers before today, and I doubt that’s a coincidence–names and labels that are off-putting to a section of the customer base are just going to have a harder time getting the sorts of exposure they need to expand outside their initial market–even if those off-putting labels where what generated enough of a splash to get that beer some initial notice.

    Locally, I’m aware of one beer with a rude name–but that name was changed to something innocuous when the brewer decided to market that beer commercially. And even that name wasn’t degradingly sexist in the way that the labels in the article clearly are.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Alan Scott says:


      A lot of microbrews have small distribution networks. There are a lot of beers I would like to purchase but the breweries are too small to come to California. They are still working on scale but they are not interested in becoming bud. A brewery that makes 50,000 barrels a year (which translates to a few hundred thousand bottles, maybe a million bottles) is not going to be able to spread over all 50 states so easily.Report

  8. One beer company I find offensive is Revolution Brewing. It tends to rely on Leninist/Stalinist imagery more than I like. But maybe it’s all tongue in cheek, though. It’s sometimes hard to tell. Perhaps I’m more sensitive than I’d otherwise be because I live in a neighborhood that’s inhabited by people from a part of the world really screwed over by Stalin’s crimes.

    I don’t think this is a problem or “a paradox and contradiction for liberal politics.” I don’t like their advertising and their imagery, so I don’t go out of my way to patronize their product. But I don’t feel compelled to ask the liberal state to ban them.

    Similarly with sexist advertising, which given the context is probably much more serious than Stalinist imagery because sexism and alcohol is probably a more pressing problem in the US in 2015 than Marxist-Leninism is now. Still, if someone finds it so offensive, they should just not buy the product. Or they should write to the companies and explain why they don’t buy their product. The “paradox and contradiction” is thereby resolved, at least when it comes to “politics.” If we change “politics” to culture or to society, then maybe the paradox is still on. (And of course, we can always go down the rabbit hole of “the cultural and the social are political.” I’m not gonna stop anybody from doing that.)Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:


      I don’t see a paradox in either case. As I understand it, liberalism demands that we accept that some people are going to express disagreeable positions and that we leverage appropriate mechanisms to respond. As you note, refusing to consume the product or communicating with the company are two such mechanisms. Distributors putting pressure due to customer complaints or the potential thereof is another (and contributed to Flying Dog’s Doggie Style going from this label to this one

      It sucks that so many in the industry rely on this crap and super sucks that sexism remains such a key component of our broader cultural fabric, but that doesn’t mean a paradox exists. It just means that rooting these issues out using legitimately liberal means remains part of the liberal cause.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:


      I find Revolution Brewing more ironic because it seems like a capitalist co-opting of socialist figures. I also don’t see the Stalin as much as Eugene Victor Debs who deserves nothing but admiration.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

      RE: Leninist/Stalinist/Soviet imagery.

      This is something I am somewhat uncomfortable with at times as well. I really like a lot of it, from USSR poster/propaganda design (infinite variations on “the industrious worker strides purposefully into the future!”), to Russian Futurist stuff. I like simplified color palette (usually red, yellow, black and white, though “cream” sometimes gets a special dispensation), and the bold lines. I have patronized clubs and bars that designed around faux-Soviet elements.

      And then I wonder if I’m like those English punk kids in the late ’70s, monkeying around with swastikas and stuff, or the occasional Asian entrepreneur that opens, like, “Hitler’s Hamburgers” or whatever.

      Sure, those Nazis had Boss uniforms and knew how to throw a parade, but…Report

  9. Kazzy says:



    Dogfish Head employees almost 200 people.
    Flying Dog’s (you forgot their most popular brew “Doggie Style”) management looks like this: Yea, the marketing guy has a funny pic but marketing people tend to be like that. The rest look more or less like most executives. And they’ve had various battles with the government and with distributors over their names and artwork and have adjusted accordingly.

    I’m not arguing that the craft beer industry hasn’t attempted to cultivate the image you’ve described. Rather, I’m asking how much of that is a carefully cultivated image and how much of that is an actual representation of the culture within the industry. My understanding — which comes from the firsthand experiences of someone who worked in the industry — is that it looks more like other industries than it doesn’t. Is it Madison Avenue? Wall Street? No. But how many places really are like that other than those spots. Is it a bunch of tattooed, bearded wildmen who went rogue and are brewing beer in their basement because damn the man? No. And there is no evidence to support that that is actually how the industry works other than their own attempts to portray at that way. As such, I conclude that those brewer who engage in the sort of sexism highlighted in the OP are doing so rather intentionally because it fits with their image.

    I hope you are willing to engage a substantive challenge to your piece here.Report

    • zic in reply to Kazzy says:

      ea, the marketing guy has a funny pic but marketing people tend to be like that.

      Marketing guy = girl.

      It was a girl coming up with these campaigns. Equal opportunity misogyny.Report

  10. Kim says:

    There’s no such thing as bad publicity, is there?
    Just look at Cardinal Zin… (Now Banned in Ohio! — does that make you want to buy it?)Report

  11. Doctor Jay says:

    The rebel pose is such a staple of selling certain things (Like Rock And Roll!) that it is automatically suspect for me.

    So what a craft beer company is selling is rebellion from the big breweries. Kind of like what Harley-Davidson sells. You can be a rebel, too, by buying our beer!Report

  12. veronica d says:

    Back in the height of retro/hipster culture, a certain appreciation developed for classic cheesecake. This took the form, mostly, of young men with Betty Page tattoos, alongside a steady stream of young women who strived to look like her —

    — and if I could look like her! OMG!

    (I don’t look like Betty Page. My sadness is without bounds.)

    In any case, this seemed like a cool enough scene. There was sexism, to be sure, since there were people. But often enough the women seemed in on the game. In fact, from this scene we get a burlesque revival and new a new passion for roller derby. Which yay. And notice, these things were largely driven by women — but men could come!

    And then there were some people who became deeply fascinated by vintage porn.

    Which actually, I’m totally okay with that, as long as you ain’t shoving it in people’s faces.

    This craft beer thing — to me it looks as if it comes from this same zeitgeist, or at least marketers are trying to sell us that image. The independence. The counterculture. An eye toward the past. Except now the middle class kids can get tattoos, and not only the sailors.

    It’s not really a counterculture, but it’s definitely a thing.

    Is it sexist?

    OMG yes. This is stuff by men, for men, where men can laugh at crass, degrading sexualized humor. Unlike burlesque and roller derby, the gals are not expected to like this.


    I get street harassed a fair amount, and over the years I’ve sorta figured out that different men harass in different ways. Furthermore, it’s usually pretty obvious what these guys are thinking. They ain’t a particularly sophisticated lot. In fact, for the most part, they ain’t even shallow.

    In any case, right now I’m gonna talk about one type of guy — or guys actually — the dudes in a group.

    Look, when these guys shout at me, “Shake that ass,” it is not a compliment. Not really. Nor are they hitting on me. Don’t be silly. No bro-dude is gonna try to pick up a tranny in front of his friends. Nope. None of that. It actually has not much to do with me.

    This is male performance for the benefit of men. They are doing it for each other, as part of their little bonding ritual. You can see the easily, if you watch their behavior after they shout. There is shared laughter. Their eyes go to each other more than to me. The pecking order remains ever in flux.

    Humiliate a woman == bond with men.

    So these beer labels — yeah. This shit is sexist as hell. Please just stop.

    Really guys, you can do better than this.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

      How do they know you’re a transexual?Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to veronica d says:

      I would have to say I agree wholeheartedly with this. I don’t much hang out with men who do this sort of thing, so I would have to say that there are guys who do do better than this. It frustrates me a little bit that these men are invisible, never referenced as “male behavior”. I’m a man, every bit as much as they are. My masculinity is not less than theirs, but theirs is the one that gets attention. Precisely because it’s a problem. And that makes the tongue-clucking a reward that keeps the system going.

      I think that’s one component that drives this – the attention. It’s transgression as status. “I am powerful, no rules apply to me”

      This kind of thing is a complex mix of status and identity. It is by no means universal. I gain my status among my group of male peers either by how good I am at coding, or by whipping their butts at board games.Report

      • veronica d in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        @doctor-jay — Right. This came up on Tumblr the other day (cuz of course it did), where someone posted a video of a female comedian saying, “Boy I wish I had male confidence”

        — to which a bunch of young men responded “Holy crap I wish I had her confidence!”

        Thing is, she’s talking about something real, about how masculinity and femininity code status and all of that. Trust me, this stuff is real, and as someone who has walked both paths, it’s really fucking real.

        On the other hand, she was erasing a whole crapton of actual men, those who fall short of that particular loud and aggressive style of manhood. And those dudes notice when they are (in a sense) beneath the female gaze.

        And so it goes.

        I think we can talk about both issues.Report

        • Kim in reply to veronica d says:

          So, um, is it offensive when someone takes a bloke and turns him into a woman for tv? Complete with his sparkling personality?
          (yeah, this is kinda pulling the bloke’s tail, but still…)
          Do We even notice?
          I actually think we don’t, more often than not.Report

          • veronica d in reply to Kim says:

            @kim — What the hell are you talking about?Report

            • Kim in reply to veronica d says:

              Take a white boy’s charming personality, attitude and behavior, and put it on a black girl. Then play ball.

              I claim it’s not even noticeable that they’ve done it.

              If it is, I’m certain someone here can name the character.

              (Maybe you haven’t seen the show — doubt it, but I’m certain other people ’round here have).

              And you can take it as a given that the character does… exude confidence.Report

            • Chris in reply to veronica d says:

              What the hell are you talking about?

              Said everyone for the last several years on OT.Report

        • Doctor Jay in reply to veronica d says:

          Absolutely we can talk about both issues. I don’t see this as zero-sum at all.

          But I think a slight shift in rhetoric would be very powerful. By naming the problem behavior as archetypically male, you hand power over to the men who behave that way, you give them status. This is the exact thing that they are seeking, and you are following their script. Your disapproval is a badge of honor. If you simply label it as problem behavior, you don’t do that.

          Most attempts to get at this are labelled as “tone conversation” and dismissed by people who see it as an attempt to silence them. But by far, it isn’t an attempt to silence anyone, it’s a request to be seen.

          The next problem is that many adopt a strategy of withholding, avowing that they shouldn’t praise behavior that should be normative. I however, think that good behavior, and bad behavior is learned, and it is incumbent on somebody to articulate a vision of good behavior, and to notice it and reinforce it.

          People have so much stuff to deal with that I am disinclined to lay this upon anyone as a duty. This isn’t a duty so much as it is a calling. I have answered this call. Who else will?Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Doctor Jay says:


        I think the issue comes down to who gets to define what maleness is. Unfortunately, the folks like you and I (and many, many others) were not invited to the committee.

        Just the other day, my mom — my mom!!! — complimented me on my parenting skills by noting that I tote the boys around (I’m home full time in the summer with the almost-4-month-old and 2-year-old) “like a mom, not like a dad.” SERIOUSLY???

        But then I have a dad come up to me at the beach yesterday when I’ve got Little Marcus Allen in the bjorn and Mayo in the stroller while I set up his beach chair and he offers a hand, which was a cool move (though I wonder if he’d have offered it to a similarly situated mother). I turned him down as I had everything under control and I hate accepting help (I mean, I am still a dude in some ways!), at which point he said, “I don’t know how you’re doing it. I’ve got two myself and would never come here alone.” Sigh. He ain’t helping. I saw him later with his kids and he seemed perfectly competent with them yet he bought into this notion of male parental incompetency.

        Sigh sigh sigh…

        And, no, I’m not comparing this ‘plight’ to the one woman — cis or trans — face… just noting that sexism claims many victims and folks of all genders can be complicit in it.Report

        • Doctor Jay in reply to Kazzy says:

          Back when my firstborn was an infant, and Thing Two was just a concept, a close female friend of mine, observing me tending her, said, “You’re a good mom”.

          I smiled at her (the smile was important!) and said, “The word is Dad. I’m a man. Would you like me to prove it?”

          (yes, that was very cisnormative of me. It was a long time ago.)

          She giggled and said, “No!” But she never called me a mom again. This is all “see me”.

          You say “the folks like you and I … were not invited to the committee”. Well, we don’t have to participate in that definition. Yeah, we don’t also have to call everyone out who doesn’t agree with us, but we also do not have to participate. Be the change. The frustrating thing for me is when avowed feminists make this mistake, and trade in very stereotypical language to make their point. Very simple rhetorical shifts would clear this up, and redirect energy in a very useful way, I think.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

      I think that there is always going to be a certain amount of disconnect about what people find sexually alluring. This gets complicated in heterosexual relationships because of the long history sexism in the world. Its more than a little easy to find a lot of sexism in what many heterosexual or bisexual men find alluring in women for good reason that a lot of it is probably sexist. Men tend to have a similar disconnect with what heterosexual women find attractive but the complete difference in social status between men and women until very recently makes calling what heterosexual women find sexually alluring sexist quite dumb. One problem is that a lot of men, including myself, find certain things attractive in women that aren’t exactly compatible with feminism

      So with heterosexual male sexuality, you have this problem that doesn’t really exist with heterosexual female sexuality or same-sex sexuality. A lot of what many men find romantically or sexual attractive is at least a little contradictory to what feminism or sex positive thinking sees as acceptable. The issue becomes whether the contradiction needs to be tolerated because it is just as wrong to police the sexuality of heterosexual men as it is to police the sexuality of homosexuals or heterosexual women or do the past crimes make the policing of heterosexual male sexuality acceptable.Report

      • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        “One problem is that a lot of men, including myself, find certain things attractive in women that aren’t exactly compatible with feminism”

        oh, do tell…

        In my considered and informed opinion, many men find certain things attractive in women that aren’t exactly compatible with an enlightened society, or equality, or a host of other things. Feminism is the least of my worries.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Walking into a land mine here…..Report

      • Doctor Jay in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Well, a couple of thoughts.

        1) Nobody was put here on earth for the express purpose of pleasing somebody else, or some other class of people. In the context of a relationship, both parties had better put some energy somewhere into pleasing the other partner, and that goes regardless of what their gender is. And this means they (both parties!) put some energy into figuring out what that person likes and deciding whether they want to do it. And that transaction is strictly between them, as far as I’m concerned.

        2) In the event that you can’t find anyone who wants to do that thing you like, whatever that might be, there are very likely other things that you like. And you can learn to like new stuff. Making the focus of your life that one thing that you can’t have is a good way to be miserable, because no matter how powerful, sexy, or rich you are, there’s always something you can’t have.Report

        • Kim in reply to Doctor Jay says:

          Cognitive flexibility about what one likes is a hallmark of high intelligence.
          Which is to say that everyone around here ought to be able to enjoy a lot of things, but it’s hardly a universal trait.Report

      • veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

        [cw: veronica says stuff about sex the way veronica likes to say stuff about sex.]

        One problem is that a lot of men, including myself, find certain things attractive in women that aren’t exactly compatible with feminism

        Oh come on! I’m a cock-gobbling cum-slut who needs to feel pain!

        [Uh, maybe I should add a CW up top. I think I’ll do that now.]

        Anyway see, the cool thing is, our contemporary BDSM scene has figured out tools to deal with stuff like this and still stay basically pro-feminist

        — well, at least for a certain kind of feminism. You won’t satisfy the Mary Daly’s of the world, as if you ever could. But never mind them.

        Anyway, there is the scene and there are the things outside the scene. Inside the scene, I am what I want to be, a sad stupid girl who needs pain. Outside the scene, I am a woman, and you goddam better remember that.

        When I go into a shop to buy beer, I am a woman. When I want to play a non-erotic video game, I am a woman. When I am walking along the subway platform…

        — you get the idea.

        When I watch a kinky videotape, I wanna see the fucking bitch pay!


        You get to be the same way. But recall, there is the boundary of the scene. Reading an erotic novel, watching an erotic film — let your libido go. You get ’em motherfucker!

        When you are walking down the street, or at work, or at the store — different story.

        This is not too hard. The boundary of the scene — it creates a liminal space. Those who enter are those who want to enter, on their own terms, knowing the risks.

        If you go to a sex party, you’re gonna see people fucking. Better be okay with that. If not, don’t go.

        But damn well don’t hold a sex party where people don’t expect.Report

  13. Rufus F. says:

    I mean no value judgment about people’s sensibilities here, but am I wrong in thinking an underlying assumption of the Slate article and this post is that women will find these bottles inhospitable, either openly or perhaps be willing to play the “cool girl” who doesn’t complain? Because I gotta tell you, most of the women in my social circle would buy at least two thirds of those beers for the bottle alone. And plenty of males seemingly find them offensive. I just think there’s a mistake in ascribing one specific sensibility to one gender.Report

    • veronica d in reply to Rufus F. says:

      There has to be a middle ground between “absolutely gendered with complete perfection” and “not gendered at all, women will see this exactly the same as men.”

      This is gendered.

      Some women enjoy (some kinds of) street harassment. Other women hate it entirely all the time. But it is certainly gendered.

      Outside of gay culture, can you imagine a beer named “cocking” or “fuckboy”?Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to Rufus F. says:

      Well, I’m a man, and I find the labels eye-rolling. I’m not sure they’re all the way up to offensive, it’s more like they make me think, “Are we all 12 years old?”. (Alas, we are)

      But I also agree with @veronica-d (something that happens a lot). It is gendered, it’s just not all-the-way gendered.Report

      • Rufus F. in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        I don’t have a problem with saying it’s pretty gendered, but it’s also pretty class-specific, in that people from a certain socioeconomic milieu and academic background are going to find a pinup girl on a beer bottle or “Raging Bitch Ale” offensive much more quickly than the women I know where I live. Saying that those women, the ones who asked me to bring back Raging Bitch Ale for them next time I’m in the states, are pretending to be cool for the boys, or comparing them to women who enjoy street harassment is just a bit patronizing.Report

        • Doctor Jay in reply to Rufus F. says:

          I for one feel that women need to claim the title Bitch as their own. MrsJay used to frequent a website called Heartless Bitches International. So yeah.

          But it is pretty specific to class and social group, I agree.

          I have quite frequently watched people walk into a group of strangers and tell them, basically, “your norms are all fucked up, and you should feel bad”. That never works.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Doctor Jay says:


            I remember when the Internet was debating whether that sight was a boon or a bane.

            Personally I have never been fond of the school of thought that says it is okay to be an asshole/bitch/low-level psychopath if one freely admits to it.Report

            • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              It’s only okay to be a psychopath if you’re doing it for good.Report

            • Doctor Jay in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              Well, if you dug into it, what it was about was encouraging women to speak up, to advocate on their own behalf, and to own their feelings of aggressiveness. There might well have been problem elements to it, I didn’t dig into it that much.

              Aggressive behavior has a purpose in human life. It is denied to women in the traditional gender system. One of the tools used to deny it to women is calling them a “bitch” whenever they disagree or advocate on their own behalf.

              Of course, once women realize this has been done to them, they can often engage in aggressive behavior in a sort of scattershot way, blasting it around without any discipline or training. This aggression can be hurtful, and yet the women engaging in it see any criticism of it as an attempt to silence them, to make them passive.

              This is directly parallel to what we see in the martial arts world. All too often when we train a woman, we first encourage her to be more aggressive (this happens with men, too) and then we have to focus that aggression, stripping away the more random elements of it.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Doctor Jay says:

                It’s called a reverse discourse, turning what is said about you exactly around and saying it back.

                Men are not expected to like it, but that is the point. Why should they?

                It’s pretty cool, actually. Which is to say, it’s failure modes are obvious. It certainly cannot be the foundation of any discourse, but it has a place.

                If you do not like it, then completely eliminate sexism. Easy peasy.Report

              • Doctor Jay in reply to veronica d says:

                In response to If you do not like it, then end sexism completely

                Maybe this is part of the failure mode that’s obvious, but I’m not capable of completely ending sexism. I don’t hold that power. I may not be capable of erasing it completely from my own head. It might be that nobody has that power.

                I do what I can, and what I think works. I’m in the same kind of chains that (the hypothetical) you are in. They were put on me by the same people. I wish that (again, the hypothetical, not @veronica-d) you could see that. Then we could work on this together, instead of trying to kill each other.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Doctor Jay says:

                Well the thing is, a site like Heartless Bitches is not for you. Instead, it is a tiny little space carved out in the bigger culture, wherein women can (ever so briefly) not give a flying fuck about the opinions of men.

                And that’s freaking amazing!

                But such a space does not just happen, not by magic, nor by women asserting in some vacuous way, “oh we’ll just not care about the opinions of men. We’ll just completely ignore their existence.” Cuz the psychology does not work like that.

                To get the space, an active resistance is required, a specific challenge to the received discourse. This challenge can be pretty unpleasant for men.

                Too bad. We need this.

                But here is the bigger picture. Sites such as HB will never be the dominant voices of feminism. Instead, those dominant voices will be women like Hillary Clinton and Sheryl Sandberg and all the liberal woman “leaning in.”

                Which, I don’t much like them either, but that is the feminism in my employer’s HR department. That is the feminism on Oprah and CNN.

                And there are other shapes and textures of feminism, much of which welcomes men — alongside an enormous space that men themselves need to build, whenever all those guys who dislike compulsory masculinity find a way to push back.

                We can help. We have all kinds of theory. We’ve in fact written one or two books on the subject, which men can freely read.

                But we ain’t gonna do that work for you.

                We cannot do that work. There are reasons.

                The second wave emerged from the 60s counter culture, where women discovered that the big-hearted liberal men were actually just as shitty and sexist as the conservative men. Women in the peace movement were, in the eyes of the men, there to make food and fuck.

                Do you think this won’t happen again?

                Yes, we are allies. We should be allies. We have common cause. But there remain parts within feminism that will never be for men. Stay away from those spaces. Find the other spaces.Report

  14. DensityDuck says:

    You could have published this article in The Onion with very few changes and everyone would think it fit perfectly on that site.Report

  15. Tod Kelly says:

    I think there are actually two things happening here simultaneously, and that it is difficult — and perhaps impossible — to tease out which is which. It’s hard to deny that part of the issue people have with things like this is sexism, but it’s also hard for me to shake the feeling that there’s also a good dose of the degree to which Americans are puritanically screwed up when it comes to the act of sex.Report

  16. j r says:

    Can Craft Beer Keep the Non-Conformist/Rebel Image and be inclusive?

    A few folks have already said the sort of things that I might say to an article like this, so no need to repeat. Plus, I am well past the point of believing that I am going to change anyone’s mind. Instead, I would just venture to offer an overly simplistic answer to that question above, which is taken from the front page link to this post.


    If you are the kind of person to get thrown into a tizzy over a beer with the name of “Raging Bitch,” then you are in no way rebellious or non-conformist. You are a moral scold. And I guess that is fine. The world needs moral scolds, as well.Report

    • Glyph in reply to j r says:

      Man, I was just wondering where you’d been.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to j r says:


      What tizzies do not make one a moral scold?Report

      • j r in reply to Kazzy says:


        • Kazzy in reply to j r says:


          I don’t follow. Is your point that any and all tizzies make one a moral scold? If so, then we are going to get into some definitional issues here.Report

          • j r in reply to Kazzy says:

            The last comment was a bit of a joke. My point is only that if you are the sort of person that overly concerned with political correctness and inclusiveness, you are not likely to be much of a rebel or non-conformist. That’s not to say that it is necessarily good to be a rebel and bad to be a moral scold. There are lots of situations in which people need a moral scolding; although I am yet to be convinced that this is one of them.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to j r says:



              Interestingly — and as I’ve pointed out several times here though Saul refuses to engage my counters — the craft beer industry isn’t quite as rebellious as the public image indicates.

              From the Brewers Association website (which I assume has to be a pretty big player given the number and names of breweries associated with them):

              “The following are some concepts related to craft beer and craft brewers:

              Craft brewers are small brewers.
              The hallmark of craft beer and craft brewers is innovation. Craft brewers interpret historic styles with unique twists and develop new styles that have no precedent.
              Craft beer is generally made with traditional ingredients like malted barley; interesting and sometimes non-traditional ingredients are often added for distinctiveness.
              Craft brewers tend to be very involved in their communities through philanthropy, product donations, volunteerism and sponsorship of events.
              Craft brewers have distinctive, individualistic approaches to connecting with their customers.
              Craft brewers maintain integrity by what they brew and their general independence, free from a substantial interest by a non-craft brewer.”

              Really what I think you’re looking at with some of the more outlandish names quoted in the OP is certain breweries that are trying to be “bad boy breweries” and who are working pretty hard to cultivate that image. I mean, some of the other heavy hitters in the industry are Dogfish Head, which is rebellious with the actual types of beer they make but are pretty stodgy otherwise; Sam Adams, which I already discussed; Yuengling, which I think is more than a century old.

              In fact, I think you are far more likely to find a craft brewery that would never approve of that sort of labeling/naming than one that would. But, ya know, that runs counter to the narrative.

              Are those labels and names problematic? Yea, probably. It isn’t really for me to say. Is it worth spilling much ink over? Probably not but, again, not for me to say.Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                In the spirit of our rebelliousness, we hired a major Manhattan branding company and collaborated with them to produce several different names and logos, which we then rebelliously focus grouped for about 6 months, ultimately choosing a rebellious target demographic of 24-36 year old urban professionals making $150,00-$1 million per year, and finally settling on a single name and logo for our product, which we are now rebelliously selling primarily through the most rebellious supermarket there is, Whole Foods.Report

            • dragonfrog in reply to j r says:

              On a general level it depends on the society in which one holds those views, doesn’t it?

              In a homophobic society, standing up for inclusion of and respect for homosexual people is rebellious and non-conformist. Same goes for inclusion of and respect for trans people in transphobic societies, people of colour in racist societies, slutty people in sexually puritanical societies,Report

  17. KatherineMW says:

    Most beer advertising/publicity is sexist, whether craft or mainstream. It’s hardly subtle that half the beer ads out there boil down to “beer! scantily clad attractive women! beer!” and/or sexual innuendo, and that the women in the ads are part of what’s being sold to beer consumers. (“Drink this beer and get hot chicks!”) Coors tends to be the worst for this.

    (However, as for the craft beer names, aren’t a lot of the names of mixed drinks innuendos as well?)

    I appreciate Molson Canadian’s bucking of the trend and instead going with an advertising theme of “Canada’s awesome! Woo! Canada!”Report

    • Nigel Tufnel in reply to KatherineMW says:

      Well, so what? What’s wrong with bein’ sexy?Report

      • Nothing. What’s wrong is that the women are clearly part of the package of things that are being sold to men in the ads. Women in ads as people who are attractive is different from women as items which are being marketed: the obvious implication of “buy this beer and get a hot girl!”, on the same level as “open an account with our bank and get a free cell phone!”Report