Pin-ups and "sexy" women on beer labels

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paintseagull
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Pin-ups and "sexy" women on beer labels

Post by paintseagull » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:13 pm

Image
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This is the new can for Nickel Brook Brewing's Naughty Neighbour Pale Ale (from Ontario).
Their old bottle label looked like this

I'm interested: What do you all think of this label, and labels similar to it?
Is imagery of sexy women on beer labels problematic? Where do you draw the line between tasteful and offensive?
Are you afraid to reject imagery like this because of being seen as a prude or a stick-in-the-mud?
Or do you genuinely like pin-up imagery like this? I do know some women who identify as feminists who also identify with and use pin-up imagery as something sexy and powerful. What's the difference between sexy and tasteful pin-ups and demeaning ones? Are there acceptable and non-acceptable uses for pin-ups?
Would you be comfortable purchasing this can, holding this can and drinking from it?

I thought I would start this conversation in this private forum, maybe later we can start the same topic in General Discussion.

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paintseagull
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Re: Pin-ups and "sexy" women on beer labels

Post by paintseagull » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:21 pm

My opinion:
I do feel this image crosses the line to offensive and objectifying and I would not be comfortable drinking from this can or buying it. I am a bit uncomfortable with my opinion on this and would love to discuss it though, because I don't know exactly where the line should be with imagery like this. I really am not sure when it should be ok to use it or not. In this case it does seem like the image of a women's body is supposed to be selling the beer to men though, and that does bother me.

All of the above aside though, my biggest issue is that Nickel Brook is explicitly ignoring its female customers when it decides to make a label like this. I don't think they are purposely trying to alienate women, but I do think it shows that they are not considering us. The label tells me "Melanie, Nickel Brook doesn't care if you drink this beer or not." As a fan of low alcohol hoppy beers and of Nickel Brook Brewing, that really stings!

I think this idea would work better if the lady was *actually drinking the beer she is promoting*. This is not a smart, fun, sexy beer-drinking lady, she is just a body. Why does it have to be that way? I think it shows a lack of imagination and a lack of thought for an under-appreciated and under-represented and ever-growing consumer base.

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Re: Pin-ups and "sexy" women on beer labels

Post by christinamcoady » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:22 pm

paintseagull wrote:All of the above aside though, my biggest issue is that Nickel Brook is explicitly ignoring its female customers when it decides to make a label like this. I don't think they are purposely trying to alienate women, but I do think it shows that they are not considering us. The label tells me "Melanie, Nickel Brook doesn't care if you drink this beer or not." As a fan of low alcohol hoppy beers and of Nickel Brook Brewing, that really stings!
This is something I feel whenever I look at this can. I've struggled with understanding my feelings whenever I've come into contact with sexist and gender biased marketing. When I first started to bring this up to some friends, I kept hearing that I was "reading too much into it" and "the brewers are just joking, there's no harm in it." But, I kept seeing and hearing this type of marketing, and I continued to feel really uncomfortable with it. As a drinker, it makes me feel like I am not appreciated for buying and enjoying their product, that it belongs just to the boys and the "cool girls" that know the marketing is just for fun. And, as a women entering the craft beer industry, it makes me feel alienated and not welcome. It has, and sometimes still does, make me feel like I should turn back now to my rightful (and gender appropriate) place in marketing and customer service. Am I only able to serve you beer with a warm and friendly smile? That's how this can (and other beer marketing) makes me feel.

It seems like a lot of people I know are starting to come around and see how this type of marketing isn't really cool and that there might be some harm to it. Now we need breweries to get onboard.

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Re: Pin-ups and "sexy" women on beer labels

Post by paintseagull » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:07 pm

christinamcoady wrote:As a drinker, it makes me feel like I am not appreciated for buying and enjoying their product, that it belongs just to the boys and the "cool girls" that know the marketing is just for fun.
[...]
Am I only able to serve you beer with a warm and friendly smile? That's how this can (and other beer marketing) makes me feel.
I think the above really gets at the root of the issue. It is really hard to argue when people say "it's just for fun", "she is a fun-loving lady", etc. It makes you feel like a real prude with no sense of fun or humour. These things can still be very alienating.

Nickel Brook posted on facebook about their new can's image. I responded, and they (their social media person I guess) responded back with me in a friendly but dismissive way, as I pretty much expected:
Image

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Re: Pin-ups and "sexy" women on beer labels

Post by christinamcoady » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:48 pm

Heh, "libertine flapper girl"? If you do a quick "define libertine" search on Google, this is the first definition that pops up:
1. a person, especially a man, who behaves without moral principles or a sense of responsibility, especially in sexual matters.
Might not have been the best adjective to use when defending this particular can.

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Re: Pin-ups and "sexy" women on beer labels

Post by beerthief » Fri May 08, 2015 2:18 pm

I agree that this one definitely crosses the line and I can see very clearly how it would offend most women, I think the original label was far better and had everything it needed to let anyone's imagination fill in the blanks. Not to mention it's a poor rendition of pinup art.

I was in a conversation with some high level beer folks at Mondial a couple of years ago who were expressing the same opinions about the garters on the Red Racer can. I find that far less offensive than this one but again I can see how many women would be offended.

Nicklebrook seems to lack any regard for their potential customers, I'm referring to the Bolshevik Bastard we saw in the Advent Calender with the picture of Stalin on the label. My ex's grandmother's family were murdered by the Bolsheviks and she was extremely offended by that label. I wrote them a letter but no-one bothered to reply.

At what point do you boycott a brewery?

Thanks Melanie for putting up this thread, like the recent Bud Lite one liner fiasco I think bringing attention to these types of things is important.

Cheers
Mike
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shorlin
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Re: Pin-ups and "sexy" women on beer labels

Post by shorlin » Fri May 08, 2015 3:18 pm

I found an old discussion of this topic on a blog, with some examples.

http://www.pourcurator.com/2011/06/mode ... devil.html

Extremely respectful use of the term "tart" for a beer label :roll:
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Re: Pin-ups and "sexy" women on beer labels

Post by beerthief » Sat May 09, 2015 8:51 am

His rant is good, I like the comment pointing out the fish reference. I've been to Kassiks in Kenai Alaska and coming from who I met that label does not surprise me. :ugeek:
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