Dear Whiskey Advertisers,

Women like whiskey too, advertisers.

I have been unable to avoid web articles on “women and whiskey”, women in the whiskey industry, or the all too common “10 reasons why you should date women that drink whiskey”.  I get it.  It seems odd to most people that half the population of the world as we know it should like a drink once in a while. But let’s be clear. This is not a reflection of reality. This is advertising.

As an American woman born into a modern era where women can vote (1920), are no longer condemned for wearing pants (that ended sometime in the 60’s, I think, though my mother was expelled from her church in 1985 for considering the option), and now hold 19.4% of seats in the U.S. Congress (Who’d’ve thunk it?), I find the lack of whiskey advertising aimed at women a bit puzzling.  In the 1950’s, bourbon producers opted to advertise only to men.  To be fair, they did not have many options for advertising (outside of Playboy) due to both self-imposed restrictions within the industry and those placed by the Federal Trade Commission. In the world of advertising, women were still connected to those pesky temperance societies and were not making decisions on what was stocked at their husband’s favorite drinking hole. The TV series Madmen may not have been a documentary, but it did help remind the modern consumer just how sexist those 60’s “ad men” could be. Anyone that doesn’t believe that our nation’s trends are set by advertisers and pop culture isn’t paying attention.

Here we are, in an age of technology and on the brink of a new age, and we are still stuck with the old advertising campaigns.  Men drinking whiskey on mountaintops, men getting dirty in the cooperage, men being manly with other men…because whiskey is masculine? We all love to idealize ourselves, right?  So where are the idealized women drinking whiskey? Where are the commercials aimed at us?  And don’t just give me the sexy seductress at the bar! Be creative! Be different.  Be in touch with the reality that women drink whiskey and always have. Half the population of the world is waiting…and now that we’re making 87 cents on the dollar, we have money to spend on your products!

Interesting article-

This article discusses how women’s sexuality has always been used in advertising.  What is not clear is the huge differentiation between how alcohol was depicted in the ancient world and how it is depicted in the modern world.  One cannot compare the two without A LOT of historic context and information.  Sexism in advertising is not the same as misogyny within a culture.  The use of advertising is not new, but it is both a means of influence on and reflection of a society’s culture. (sexism- noun. prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex. misogyny- noun. dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women. See the difference?)