If the incessant loop of "Baby It's Cold Outside" playing at the grocery store hasn't tipped you off yet, allow me: The holiday shopping season is upon us. And if you celebrate this time of year, this means you have approximately one month to buy everyone in your life a meaningful gift—and retailers won't let you forget it. Hence, the holiday shoppings ads, which are now playing at a rate of approximately one thousand per minute. While some of these spots are kinda clever, others are downright terrible. That's why were reprising an age-old Bitch blogs tradition, as timeless and hairy as Santa's beard. It's the Offensive Commercials Holiday Showdown!
I've always been perplexed by the stereotype that women just don't like beer very much. The stat I hear most often – which I quoted in my post about Teri Fahrendorf – is that only about 30 percent of American women prefer beer to either spirits or wine. Of course, if I were asked the question that way, I'm not sure which of the three I would choose myself. Wine has always intimidated me a little bit, because while good wines can be had at any price point, the quality and flavor varies year to year, and getting really, really into wine seems to require more disposable income than I have. Liquor is, well, quick, and a well-balanced cocktail is a beautiful thing, but can also come with a hefty price tag. With beer, there's enormous variety; while lots of breweries do special seasonals that vary year to year, or super small-batch brews that are both tasty and a little expensive, there's a remarkable consistency and affordability to beer, and it's likely I spend the bulk of my booze allowance on it.
I see plenty of other ladies at brewpubs, beer-forward bars and beer tastings I go to, but the conventional wisdom is that I'm a rarity. I wondered what, if any, actual research had been done on women's purchasing and tasting habits where suds are concerned. So I chatted with Ginger Johnson, the founder of Women Enjoying Beer, a southern Oregon-based business that does qualitative research and marketing for beer companies, as well as educational events for women interested in beer. Johnson told me she started the company because she ran across the same problem I did: "There's not a lot of stats. There's stereotypes," she said.
It doesn't surprise me that Snoop took the opportunity to engage in a little product placement, though he's also joked about pot brownies on Martha's show. What's more interesting is that Landy's deal with Snoop appears to be a case of the tail wagging the dog. References to cognac started appearing in hip-hop lyrics as early as the 1990s – somewhat, it seems, to the surprise of cognac makers. Previously the brandy (named for the region in France where it's made) was marketed to older, upper-class and upper-middle class white folks, at least in the U.S.
After a few years, the stodgy, slumping cognac industry seized on the trend and started enlisting rappers for endorsement deals; right after Snoop was shown pouring yak into mashed potatoes, Hennessy released a special edition cognac to celebrate Obama's inauguration.
African-Americans probably don't make up the percent of the market that some cognac makers claim. But the cognac industry continues to court African-American customers heavily, and rappers are still coveted spokespeople for luxury booze (even if they're also, uh, shilling for Hot Pockets).
According to a New York Times piece from earlier this week, teens still work out to lose weight just like they did in my mom's day, but that's not all: A recent study shows that boys are increasing their workout routines, and they're increasing their "muscle-enhancing behaviors" (everything from diet changes to steroid use) along with them.
At Feminist Camp, there's no bug juice, no panty raids, and no singing around a campfire, but that doesn't mean it's not an experience you'll remember forever. Soapbox, Inc., the speakers' bureau and training organization founded by activists and Manifesta authors Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner, hosts two camps per year, and registration is currently open for the Winter 2013 session (previously known as Feminist Winter Term). The weeklong camp immerses attendees in feminist advocacy, policy, art, and more, spending each day meeting with organizations like Third Wave Foundation and Sistas on the Rise, as well as individuals who have made feminism integral to their careers.
Former Camper NC Eakin, who attended in Winter 2010 and now works at a feminist nonprofit in New York City and blogs at Genderqueer Fashionista, has a rundown of what made the experience so worthwhile.
Last week I had the pleasure of talking with Teri Fahrendorf, who started the Pink Boots Society in 2007 after a road trip to check out breweries all over the country. Again and again, she said, she encountered women who worked in craft breweries who had never before met another female brewer, let alone one with a couple decades' worth of experience. Immediately, they wanted to know who and where the other female brewers were, so the Pink Boots Society – named for the boots Fahrendorf wore on her road trip – was born as a list of women brewers throughout the country.
"They weren't getting something they wanted, which was communication with a woman in their field," Fahrendorf said. "The fact that I had been a brewmaster for 19 years opened their eyes. Watching them get inspired by my story in turn inspired me to want to mentor all of them. I can't mentor all of them, as much as I try."
I'm reliably informed that the poster (right) grandly named L'Enfant but more commonly known as Man and Baby wasn't a phenom in the United States like it was in the U.K. Here, it capitalized on the worldwide success of Three Men and a Baby and perfectly captured the sensitive man zeitgeist of the late '80s, becoming one of the country's top-selling posters of all time.
Honestly, I never understood its popularity. Sure, the guy was hunky in that Levi's ad beefcake way, but what was the baby adding? Even as a kid, I associated having children with stress and domesticity; I didn't yet understand that a man caring for his child was considered a novelty.
In both a national and global context where the rates of domestic violence against women are consistently soaring (according to the United Nations Population Fund Report, more 55 percent of women living in India face violence within the home), awareness campaigns and messages which seek to address this particular manifestation of gender-based violence are incredibly pertinent. Calling on women to recognise that they are not alone in what they experience, and highlighting the ways in which this violence manifests itself and affects other facets of a woman's life are key components of such outreach.
"Suffocation is the worst kind of abuse"
"It always starts with the little nicks and cuts"
"Respect the space you really deserve"
"How much longer will you adjust?"
These taglines, part of a far-reaching poster campaign, seem to fit the bill. Or they would, if violence against women were their subject. In fact, they're being used to sell bras.
Taking a cue from feminist art-world culture-jamming collective the Guerrilla Girls comes Australia's Bolshy Divas—anonymous disability activists "in the style of feminist masked avengers, exposing and discussing discrimination, unmet need, and issues which affect people with disability and their families."
Attempts to rid British newspaper The Sun of its topless 'Page 3 Girls' have always failed in the past, with feminists' concerns dismissed as prudery and jealousy. Could a new campaign be about to succeed where others have failed? And what issues does this raise for feminists?