Smashing the Glass (Pint) Ceiling, Part One: “You are the Wolf.”

A woman-to-woman guide on destroying barriers in the beer world

My last post got published on a local magazine’s website. Neat! Check it out!

The first thought I had after all the love (it felt like buckets of love! Thank you!) that piece got was this:“Okay, good work, you did the thing, it was a good thing and they thought the thing was good, but what next?”

Well, remember when we looked at the numbers about how many women who drink craft don’t feel the societal pressure of what is deemed “appropriate” to drink? Boom. That’s what we’re going to talk about — overcoming the barriers that make women think craft beer isn’t for them.

(Fair warning — this is going to get a little less formal, with less numbers and more theory. More anecdotal, is that okay with you all?)

Let’s go on a field trip of the mind: I want you to think about how a dog gets used to an electric fence. Imagine this: you’re playing in a beautiful, plushy yard. You’re romping around, howling with joy because the sun is out and the sky is blue and there are so many smells! And then, you see it — you guessed it — a squirrel, ready to climb up a tree, eyeing you from just outside the your yard. Your first instinct is to run after it, so you do.

But then, you feel it. ZAP. BOOM. IT’S AN ELECTRIC FENCE. ELECTRIC SHOCK. YOU’RE NOT LEAVING THIS INVISIBLE BARRIER. NO WAY.

The next day, you try again. ZAP.

And again the next day. ZAP.

You get zapped each day until you finally give up. You’re not getting anywhere near that squirrel. And he mocks you, because you can’t have the freedom that allows you to roam and devour squirrels.

Now, it’s funny thinking of yourself as a dopey Labrador trying to get the squirrel, but here’s the real life application: young girls are subjected to this “electric fence” in society that mandates their behavior. Your owners, I mean, parents/teachers/trusted adults do this because they love you and want to protect you. Really, it’s done with good intentions but it can be slightly detrimental psychologically when that mentality transfers over into adulthood.

And for those who are calling bullshit, you need to watch this:

Yeah, that shit makes me cry. Here are some more examples of “fencing” that are not uncommon for young ladies to hear:

“That’s not lady like.” ZAP.

“If you dress like that, you’re asking for it.” ZAP.

“Only slutty girls wear clothing like that.” ZAP.

So when that electric collar is off and women face adulthood, we don’t go outside the boundaries set for us because for fear of getting zapped. Just like the girl in the ad who thinks she shouldn’t partake in the science fair.

BUT GUESS WHAT MY ADULT LADIES. GUESS. WHAT.

THERE IS NO ELECTRIC FENCE. I REPEAT. THERE IS. NO. ELECTRIC. FENCE.

Societal pressure is a figment of your imagination. You may feel it, it seems like it is there, but it’s not there. Yes, it tightens your insides and makes you second guess yourself.

But really, there isn’t an electric fence. You can do anything. You can try anything. No one is stopping you, and damn them if they try. When the collar comes off and someone tries to corral you, it should be as difficult for your captors as domesticating a wolf.

Some real-life examples from my adulthood:

“Women don’t drink beer.” BITE.

“Women only drink light beer, so I’m going to suggest that.” BITE.

“Are you sure you want that porter?” BITE.

“Here’s your cocktail ma’am. Oh, I’m sorry, I thought this was yours instead of the beer.” BITE.

“Woah, I didn’t expect YOU to order that.” BITE.

(A quick note to save my skin later: Don’t actually bite your bartenders, please. You can accomplish the same effect by being politely firm. Remember, if you can’t say something nice, say something clever but devastating. A simple, “Excuse me? I am a woman who enjoys beer, and I would appreciate the same courtesy you give your male patrons who also enjoy beer” shuts rude bartenders down pretty quickly.)

Some advice to any man who tries to bar a woman trying to understand/love craft beer: You dont f— with wolves. Don’t f — with adult women. I have the same advice for any woman who perpetuates the idea that beer is just for the dudes: Nuh uh. Dont f — with those wolves. You’re about to get your head bit clean off.

And to everyone who says “F — all of that controlling bullshit. Beer is for the people! All kinds of people!” you’re doing the work of saints. You are beer saints. You are making the beer world a better place. Thank you.

So, the first step to learning to like craft beer is realizing this:

IT IS NOT A MAN’S WORLD. YOU ARE ALLOWED HERE TOO.

Phew, okay. That’s the biggest barrier to break down. AND IT ISN’T EVEN REAL. YOU CAN’T TOUCH IT. IT DOESN’T EXIST, but it is the biggest lie about craft beer that keeps women out: it’s a man’s world, and you’re not allowed.

If you think that I’m joking, remember that 75% of the craft beer drinking population are men. That’s a pretty damning number from the outside looking in.

So come on in. You’re welcome here, and you’re especially welcome in the brewery I work for. Your local breweries will (or should, at least) embrace you and your curiosity. And if they don’t, remember that you’re the wolf. You are free to devour beer as you please.

Up Next: Some not-so-invisible barriers that we will also annihilate with the same cruelty.

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