I like to drink beer. Whenever I go to the bar, I'm not the girl ordering a cranberry vodka or a red wine or a cosmo. Nope. I'm ordering an IPA. Lately, I've been into Goose Island, in case you were curious.
This surprises people, especially guys. They're like, "Wow, a girl who drinks beer! That's awesome." And then I suddenly become cooler than every woman they know.
I'm always flattered when this happens, but I can't help but wonder why it's so "awesome" that I like beer. Even my boyfriend makes a point to say that he loves that I like beer. Why does the fact that I like beer have any meaning other than the fact that I like it?
Perhaps it's because women aren't "supposed" to like beer. After all, beer is very much marketed toward men. You don't see beer commercials starring pretty girls in slinky dresses -- you see bros yelling in football jerseys or hanging at pubs. And if there are pretty girls in slinky dresses, they're usually what comes as a RESULT of drinking beer. Beer is the masculine force that makes men friends and helps them attract all the women they want.
So, I get it. Beer is for dudes. And if a girl likes beer, it's cool because it's kind of unexpected.
Let's turn the tables for a second. What if a guy orders a cosmopolitan? Men aren't "supposed" to like cosmopolitans. "Sex and the City" made it clear that cosmopolitans are for women, which means it would totally be unexpected for a guy to order a cosmopolitan. Doesn't that mean that it's cool, in the same way that it's cool for a woman to order a beer?
No. Nobody in his or her right mind would think a guy ordering a cosmopolitan is cool. But why?
Well, I have a theory. If it's cool when a woman does a masculine thing, and it's lame when a man does a feminine thing, that means masculine things are better than feminine things. That, ladies and gentleman, means our reactions to people's beverage choices have nothing to do with how unexpected the choices are. Our reactions have everything to do with sexism.
Yes, sexism. Even in the subtle nuances of your drink choice on a Friday night.
This particular form of sexism is not super obvious, but I bet it affects men all the time. I bet lots of men feel a lot of pressure to order something MANLY at the bar, even if all they want is something that tastes fruity and delicious. They feel like they have to go OUT OF THEIR WAY to order something that isn't too "girly." Which, to be honest, sounds like an unnecessarily stressful way to demean women.
Our society needs to do better. Advertisers and producers of TV shows and movies need to stop assigning gender to f*cking alcoholic beverages. Why did Don Draper have to drink so much whiskey in "Mad Men"? Surely he could have wanted a cranberry vodka at some point, right? I mean, those taste pretty refreshing. Let the man have a cranberry vodka every once in a while. Let the man do something GIRLY. (GASP!)
What? Is there something wrong with being girly? Because I sure as hell don't think so. In fact, I think girly is pretty damn cool.
The amount of times I've heard guys rag on each other for ordering something that isn't a beer or a whiskey on the rocks is not OK. We need to let men order whatever they want at the bar without making fun of them. If a guy wants to order a goddamn cranberry vodka, LET HIM ORDER IT (and ladies, don't judge him for it). Stop making him feel bad for doing something feminine. Stop contributing to a system that hates women.
And if all of this means I won't be cool for ordering beer anymore, then so be it. I will gladly stop being cool for liking beer so men can feel better ordering cranberry vodkas. Because THAT'S the kind of feminist I am.