Tag Archives: women

Pink Boots Society

2 Feb

I was tipped off by a friend that somewhere out there exists an all female run brewery.  I rooted around on the world wide web a bit, searching for this seemingly mythical awesome place and came across the lone female brewer in Montana, Colleen Bitter at Kettlehouse Brewery.  In this article is mention of the Pink Boots Society: this brand new society is dedicated to supporting and advancing women in all areas of the industry, a cause I’ll happily stand by.  Especially as I look for employment in this industry, I find that organizations such as these are rare and vital.  I’m more a red boot girl myself but I’d wear pink for the sake of something this important.  More power to female brewers — sistahs are doin’ it for themselves.

Paperworks contd.

14 Dec

Slaving away in the ‘brary as per usual in this, the last week before Winter Break and professors’ last stab at sucking knowledge out of our battered skulls, to sap our last energy reserves in hopes we’ll be utterly spent by Saturday — a sneaky, futile attempt to kill the party in us.  Luckily, the work I’m doing now is still centered around what my earlier post posited and is of great interest to me — so, here’s the start of an elaborated paper:

“I examine three female artists who are responsible for creating positive images of female smokers: Jane Atché, Louise Lavrut and Frances Benjamin Johnston.  They created a space for female smokers in an art world and social climate that depicted them as either a femme fatale or object of desire.  The phallic form of cigarettes and cigars had an inherently male association, however the objects themselves were personified by their owners as feminine.  By the turn of the 19th century, a public female smoker was still an anomaly in society.  The only women who smoked brazenly were women already marginalized outside of polite, bourgeois society, otherwise known as prostitutes or popular dancers.  The lesson to women in mainstream society was that smoking was an immoral act for women and showed looseness of character – smoking and drinking were a quick way to falter and destroy one’s reputation and upright morals.

It follows then, that the iconography surrounding women and smoking functioned within a morally-low context; portraying either a femme fatale in the cafés and dance halls or a sexualized female reaction to the symbolically male cigarette. The literal translation of femme fatale in terms of drinking can be seen in Picasso’s Le Moulin de la Gallete.

Here men and women commingle in a public space at night, however it is the women’s faces that get the artists attention and striking details whereas as the men are placed either high above the swarming crowd below or have their backs to the viewer.  The women are given lurid red lips or flashing white smiles with darkly painted eyes, housed in sharp, pointed faces.  The four women closest to the frontal plane of the painting are of particular interest:  the three seated ladies lean over the table and into each other next to an empty wine carafe while the lady in black on the right, who is reminiscent of Dracula iconography, commands here faceless blur of a partner with a strong arm, her bent elbow mimicking her elongated jaw line.

The sexualized female reaction is best portrayed in Mucha’s JOB: the ribbons of cigarette smoke encompass the incredibly stylized hair of a diaphanous young woman.  Her elongated neck, closed eyelids and parted lips suggest  a sexual enjoyment.

It is the female artists who depict women smoking and drinking as usurping what was supposed to be an exclusively male power and claiming it as an inclusive activity.  There is a perceptible shift in iconography, from male to female Impressionist and Art Nouveau artists, of women enjoying the traditionally male leisure activities of smoking and drinking.  With the advent of the “New Woman”, the suffragettes and wider accessibility to manufactured cigarettes, women moved from the private sphere to the public sphere to enjoy the We can see this clearly in the difference between Mucha’s and Atché’s JOB.

In Atché’s rendition, the woman is wearing appropriately middle to upper-class garb covering her entire body, including her neck.  Her hair is kept neatly pinned behind her head and painted with a solitary color – there are no wild tendrils seen here, as in Mucha’s, taking control of the woman or the scene depicted.  The harsh vertical of her cape reinforces her rigid posture while her face seems to reflect on the object in her hand.

Louise Lavrut and Frances Benjamin Johnston, each working in different mediums (Lavrut in oils and Johnston in photography) both depicted the pensive and reflective female in charge of her own pleasure while smoking and drinking for enjoyment.

Lavrut depicts The Girl of the Montmartre (c. 1900), the same year as Picasso’s Le Moulin de la Gallete, as a stable, middle-class woman closely cropped by the frame making her the center of attention.  Her posture is upright and her clothes are simple, reserved but refined.  The paint around her is characterized by brushy strokes while her face is sharpened by her dark clothes and tighter lines.  She smokes and drinks a beer next to a poster by Jules Chéret of tightly corseted, voluptuous dancers.

Lavrut’s response to paintings such as Chéret’s Fumar el Papel shows a marked contrast in perspectives on women and their role in society: in Lavrut’s work the viewer is meant to view the woman’s gaze as self-reflective not as coquettish or seductive.  Another image of self-reflection can be seen in Johnston’s self-portrait which shows the epitome of a positively addressed “new woman”.

She poses seated in a position of engaged conversation with an invisible companion, a lit cigarette in one hand and a beer stein in the other.  She’s surrounded by her own personal elements in her Washington, D.C. studio – the seat of her professional success – but still in front of the hearth, showing she can keep the home fires alive while still being a professionally active woman.. Her leg is crossed squarely over her other stockinged leg, revealing a bright-white petticoat – however, this is not the same type of revealing pose one would find during the can-can at Le Moulin Rouge.”

Meat Stall

8 Nov

As I peruse and devour every image in Janson’s History of Art for my senior Art History exam, I forgot how much I love the Dutch painters of the Renaissance and Reformation periods in 16th cent. Northern Europe.  In particular, I love the realism and naturalism of the everyday genre paintings such as Pieter Aertsen’s The Meat Stall (1551, oil on panel).

The Meat Stall

This Dutch style and genre of painting continues into the Baroque and only gets more awesome.  What’s especially interesting is during the Baroque in the Netherlands, we see a focus on women and their place in the market economy, management of their household and educating their daughters in the field.  It illustrates their importance in Dutch society, the wealth of the state and prowess of the artist in depicting the plethora of the markets.  Perhaps it is partly my art history training that makes me so enamored of market places and especially the meat counters — formal analysis of paintings such as this seems to carry over into reality.

Paperworks

3 Nov

I’m in the early stages of writing a research paper for my art history senior seminar about the portrayal of women with beer or in bars during both the Impressionist and Art Nouveau era.  The works I’m looking at now are Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882), Picasso’s Le Moulin de Gallete (1900) and the popular Art Nouveau commercial posters.  It kind of sucks that now the popular art surrounding women and beer is restricted to buxom, semi-nude tanned girls.  I somehow found this image, and can’t remember where, that while still erotic was much more interesting artistically than the Budweiser girls.

b81b50fb

The colors and medium are interesting as is the fact that these women aren’t placed in any given context as the other works.  In Picasso’s painting, the women are clustered in a crowded bar, mostly blurs of moving color but with staunch white almost vampire-like teeth smiling out of lurid red lips.  For whom are these women posing with their full mugs of beer, almost fully exposed?

Viking Blod

27 Oct

viking blod

Got this beaut of a bottle from my one love, The Beer Engine. This was my first mead so maybe my analysis of this style is skewed, or not as well informed.  First off, I LOVE the label, the bottle and the process of unwrapping this, my first mead.  The bottle is maybe a half inch-thick gunmetal enamel with some serious heft to it.  I honestly felt like a little girl at Christmas unwrapping a present she knows is going to be crazy awesome.

The color is a beautiful golden amber, unctuous against the glass like a thinner cognac. The aroma is so complex: honey, grass, a little musty like the inside of a hive or a dried up comb.  The flavor is sweet, boozy with a silky mouth feel. Warmed, the flavors are even silkier. Talk about a winter warmer, the warmth down the throat relaxes the body and makes you want to snuggle down in blankets by a fire.  It was pricey at $31 but I honestly believe it was worth it — it’s like having a snifter of warmed brandy only better, why shouldn’t we pay for quality?  Simply because it’s another style of fermented alcohol — one of the oldest styles of fermented beverages — doesn’t mean it shouldn’t deserve the respect that Maker’s Mark enjoys.  I think I just became a mead-head and possibly found my calling — a lady brewer of hard cider and mead.

viking blod+Beckwith apples

Coors can shove it.

4 Oct

And so can every company that thinks marketing to women means wrapping their useless products in pink with flowers and boys, dumbing it all down so much your gag reflex is healthy and kicking.  You know what makes me not buy Coors?  I’ve got a palate and a mind for good microbrews and not some filth that’s brewed “cold as the Rockies”.  I drink bourbon and beer not cosmos and bellinis.

The campaign is called the “Bittersweet Partnership” — how aptly named, and how dumb do they think women are?  The Bitter part is highlighted in pink, probably because they think women can’t even handle that word let alone the flavor and the crest is hops growing from a curly-cue heart.  But don’t worry Coors is there to listen and understand your girly feelings about this so-called manly beer — beer goddesses I know aren’t drinking swill and piss out of a silver bullet can.  Pretty sure silver bullet is synonymous with an enema.  Thus, Coors can shove it.  Man that makes me want to bring the motherf***ing RUCKUS!

Nutritious and Delicious

4 Oct

As a senior, done with almost all my major requirements, I get to take classes for funsies now and one of them that made the cut was Intro to Cultural Anthropology with a professor about whom I had heard a ton of great stuff.  His research during the 80s focused on alcohol use in young adults in college and shed some light on the truth behind drinking cultures at small schools in the middle of nowhere.  What he and others found dispells the myth that there is an epidemic of binge drinking in college.

So, he assigned his book A Bagful of Locusts and the Baboon Woman: Constructions of Gender, Change, and Continuity in Botswana and the chapter that caught my eye was “The Baboon Woman”: Of Coke Cans, Beers, and the Construction of Gender.  He discusses the historical context of brewing beer in Botswana when he was there in the 70s doing field research.  I’ve been telling people since I was little that beer is good for you — largely based on the fact that my dad told me that as a kid while drinking a Guinness and talking about the amount of vitamin B.  Finally, I’ve found a professional gathering data about alcohol consumption and the history behind it all.

"A woven beer strainer.  It is filled from the top with the fermented grain mash.  With the stone affixed to the bottom, it is turned until the beer is squeezed out into a pot standing below" (Suggs 47).

"A woven beer strainer. It is filled from the top with the fermented grain mash. With the stone affixed to the bottom, it is turned until the beer is squeezed out into a pot standing below" (Suggs, 2002, 47).

Suggs talks about the social construction of beer as “a food item that was much prized, a drink which, when shared, cemented marriages between patrilineages and rewarded labor cooperation within them. […] beer was also a privilege of the esteemed.  It was in this sense a symbolic indication of social wealth acquired via seniority.  Produced by women, it was consumed primarily by men.  Thus, it represented not only the power of women’s productive and reproductive capabilities, but also the power of senior males in the control and distribution of life’s blessings” (Suggs, 2002, 46).

He continues that “In the precapitalist economy, the brewing of beer was an inexpensive way to diversify the diet: traditional sorghum brews are not filtered and are quite nutritious as a food item” (Suggs, 2002, 46).

I TOLD YOU SO!  Ok granted this is the unfiltered beer from Botswana that’s nutritious and delicious but obviously it has to be true of main-stream beer in Europe and the States…obviously, we should all drink up.

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