A record number of women are vying for Senate seats and gubernatorial offices today, suggesting the political sphere is inching, ever so slowly, toward parity. Now if only the liquor industry could catch up.
While studies show an increasing number of women are choosing to drink cocktails, spirits makers persist in patronizing to their female customers. As Lauren Shockey pointed out in a recent essay for The Atlantic, straight-faced liquor companies have recently released a low-cal margarita mix created by a Real Housewives of New York cast member and a pink lychee liqueur called GIRL. Gosh, can I have a glass of that while I'm eating fish sticks at the kid's table?
A number of scientific studies have shown that men and women have different drinking habits (while simultaneously proving academics can make drunkenness dry and boring.) There's even evidence that male and female chimps booze it up in their own gendered ways, suggesting some women's distaste for the hard stuff may not be entirely a social construct.
But there are plenty of women who enjoy brown liquor, and it confounds me that the industry would risk alienating them.
I received a press release this morning touting an anniversary bottling of Benedictine. If serious spirits producers wanted to reach women, a sweet liqueur in a pretty bottle seems like a good starting point. Instead, the release suggests the bottle's "the perfect gift for any father, husband or brother." Presenting liquor to a lady, it seems, is still considered uncouth.
That's presumably because a bottle of alcohol carries with it the implication that the giftee is a drunkard -- at least when the giftee's female. Or perhaps there's an assumption that once a woman has a liquor bottle of her own, she'll binge her way into a dangerous stupor. Either way, it's a flawed and paternalistic way of thinking.
Today, I'm voting for making liquor an acceptable holiday gift for drinkers of both sexes -- and not just because I'm running low on Scotch.