As we near this blog series on feminism and comedy, I think it's time I started getting honest with all of you. Uncomfortably honest. And here's the uncomfortable truth about me: I can't stop looking at Pinterest.
Cocktail culture began in the home and broke down norms around who socialized with whom, gender-wise, and I certainly know people who assume all cocktails are sweet and sugary (and therefore feminine), or that any drink with more than two ingredients is a "girly" drink. Neither of those things are true, of course, as anyone with an alcoholic grandfather or an even passing familiarity with James Bond can attest. And, I mean, Ernest Hemingway drank mojitos and daiquiris (albeit not the frozen, flavored concoction usually called a daiquiri these days).
Also, tiki drinks – usually mixed on rum, and full of sweet ingredients that will charm the teeth straight out of your mouth! These are drinks people like Howard Hughes used to love in the postwar period, and that have become popular among lovers of craft cocktails in the last few years. Tiki drinks, as far as I can tell, are largely detached from "girly drink" stigma, possibly because most of the classics are so full of booze that their moribund names (the Zombie, the Corpse Reviver, the Suffering Bastard) should serve as a warning, a kind of macho throwdown: "Just because I am full of fruity, tropical flavors and rum does not mean I cannot kill you dead, sir!"
Of course, the fact that a fictitious jerky, misogynistic spy likes something or an actual jerky, misogynistic writer liked something does not automatically make that thing good. Or bad. (Let's not even mention Don Draper and his old fashioneds.) Nor should we assume any correlation between urine-hoarding and knowledgeability about cocktails. And while I'm still snobbish enough to make faces when I walk into a bar and the drink menu includes things like appletinis (or, really, anything that's just vodka and flavored syrup in a martini glass), it stands to reason that not every drink pegged as a "girl drink" tastes like a blue Slush Puppy.
Slate's DoubleXX recently hosted a discussion entitled 'That Not So Fresh Feeling: Marketing Embarrassing Products To Women' in which they analyzed adverts for tampons and sanitary towels, and the profiteering exploits of the feminine hygiene industry. Target Women writer and performer Sarah Haskins commented, 'Ever since we were borne of Adam's rib we have been flawed, and the only things that will fix us will be sold to us as we watch Project Runway.' I recently argued in a post that hormonal contraceptives are the new tampons - the logical progression from hiding periods away, to getting rid of them altogether. It's no wonder, then, that these contraceptives are marketed to us using the same tried and true lady-vertising tactics as their feminine hygiene predecessors.