Saturday, October 19, 2013

Rough Final Project Proposal

            For my semester project, I will be doing a presentation (TBD) on the way alcohol is advertised to women. It is possible that I may broaden that out a bit to include all food and beverage, but the goal is really to stay within the limits just alcohol.  Yes, advertising is important in many ways, but I feel the way advertising agencies depict the relationship between women and booze is very unfair.  I can’t say that this picture is necessarily inaccurate the majority of the time, but only because I feel the real-life relationship has been shaped by the images the ads give to women.  They are so over-the-top, using ridiculous stereotypes of “femininity” to sell a sub-par product that it would be comical if it weren’t really sad.
            This is not only limited to advertising, but also the way we view female bartenders.  One typically associates a male bartender as being knowledgeable (in a nicer bar/restaurant), whereas one may expect that a female bartender was higher just to be eye candy. Until somebody can prove that men inherently have a better palate and capacity to taste and understand drinks, I think alcohol is just as much as a woman’s arena as it is a man’s.
               To follow up with that first article, I did some of my own comparisons of ads, and what found more or less what expect:  Ads geared toward men either focus on the quality of the product or the fact that drinking it will enhance his status.  Ads for women are mostly just splashes of color that attract the eye, but dont talk about product itself out, and therefore assume that a woman has little to no interest in it.  As always, the main message of an alcohol as geared toward women is "drink this because its sweet and people will think you're sexy".
           One of the most absurd things I found was Mike's Hard Lemonade rolling out with a Pink Hard Lemonade, aimed at women because it has the pink breast cancer ribbon it.  The second article addresses this, discussing how this is particularly offensive because there is a link between drinking and breast cancer. 
              I also wanted to discuss the history of women and alcohol/bartending.  That's where the last article from hte Wall Street Journal comes in.  It discusses how not too long ago, there were places in the country where it was illegal for women to bartend.  Of course now there are plenty of female bartenders, but more often than not, it seems they are hired not for their knowledge, but there ability to draw in customers with their looks.  This is something I will still have to research/work at to prove.


  1. I find this topic very interesting, as I work as a bartender and see many girls shy away from typically "manly" drinks, such as straight shots. Most first time females that come in end up ordering a cosmo or a margarita, drinks that are pretty much popularized for women within the media as the "feminine" drink.
    In addition, the correlation between looks and bartending is very real. I've heard my boss say many times when hiring new bartenders that they have to be not only a female, but a pretty female that can attrack male customers and can get them to buy more drinks. As a bartender, we are also expected/encouraged to dress slightly skimpier, a) because it would bring more patrons and b) because it would bring in tips. If you need anyone to interview or to give you inside information about what goes on in bars, feel free to contact me!

  2. I like your ideas so far. A bit of advice - and this is paraphrasing the Professor's advice to me, so I'm not trying to be patronizing here - but it might be best for your work if you were to approach this topic with an open mind. There is value in asking "are female bartenders hired for their looks?" rather than saying it, and finding research to make it so (even if you know the answer to the question already, which, lets face it, pretty much everyone does). Just my two cents.