USA: Sexually Predatory Alcohol Marketing
Numerous brewing companies across the United States are facing scrutiny for using sexually predatory designs and imagery of women on their beer labels. Accompanying these illustrations are names including “Leg Spreader,” “Sex and Candy” and “Naughty Girl.”
The debate re-surfaced after John Holl, an editor of All About Beer Magazine, wrote a column calling out offensive, sexist branding in the alcohol industry.
The marketing tactics employed raise questions about sexism and predatory marketing in the alcohol industry – given a nationwide epidemic of alcohol-fueled violence against college students.
Some of the companies that use this unethical marketing are Midnight Sun Brewing Co, Lynnwood Brewing, Lowell’s Route 2 Brewery, Gary’s 18th Street Brewery, New Albanian Brewing Co. And while their names sound local, their business practices are just as ruthless as those employed by multinational alcohol producers.
The common saying “sex sells” is often true, but the concept is taken in a different and more aggressive direction when alcohol is introduced into the picture,” writes an editorial of the Indiana Daily Student.
Especially in the university context, evidence shows that alcohol is often used as a tool to facilitate and excuse coercion into non-consensual sex.
In such a reality, the ignorance of alcohol producers and marketers is deeply troubling, with regard to beer being sold under the slogan “Leg Spreader.”
… this plays into the idea of rape culture – especially surrounding alcohol consumption. Obviously, [consuming] beer doesn’t make anyone a sexual predator, but it shows the consumer has no problem with the implications of the beer …”
Suggestive beer names and labels objectify women, promote victim-blaming and connect to rape culture, said Kate Gasiorowski, the rape prevention and education coordinator for the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, reports Indy Star.
Long track record of misogyny in alcohol industry
These cases of sexualizing women by craft brewers across Indiana, USA are part of a long list of examples from the alcohol industry that institutionalizes and perpetuates sexism, rape culture and objectification of women for profit.
Reports show that this situation is especially relevant considering the current environment surrounding rape culture in American universities.