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When CAMRA, the UK real ale campaign group, decided to ban beers with sexist names and labels from the Great British Beer Festival this summer, the responses were quite predictable. Liberal newspaper The Guardian celebrated the decision to call time on drinks that depict outdated, sexualized and derogatory images of women. Tabloid paper The Sun, by contrast, said that CAMRA lacks a "sense of humor," listing a series of beers, complete with images, that would "struggle to escape the PC brigade."
Like the reaction to Berkeley city council's decision to rename "manholes" as "maintenance holes," gendered images and language are divisive topics. The evidence, however, suggests that the language and images we use in everyday life shape the way we think about who belongs in a particular social setting. And, more importantly, who doesn't.
CAMRA - Decision - Ban - Beers - Intention
CAMRA explained its decision as a ban on "discriminatory beers." The intention was to open beer drinking up to women who would otherwise feel alienated by sexist advertising. There is nothing inherently male about beer, and no reason why women shouldn't drink it. So diversifying beer culture seems like good business sense for brewers.
Women make up only 17% of beer drinkers in the UK so there is clearly an untapped market here. According to research conducted by YouGov for Dea Latis, a group of women brewers, advertising is the single largest barrier to more women drinking beer. So, from this perspective, banning sexist marketing seems like a good idea.
Beer - Names - Pump - Clips - Culture
While banning sexist beer names and pump clips might help to change the culture of drinking, more needs to be done to achieve gender equality in the brewing industry itself. There have certainly been moves to open up brewing to greater diversity. The Pink Boots Society has promoted women in brewing since the mid 2000s, and the FemAle beer festival...
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