Tag Archives: beer bitches

The end of beer bitches in Lambeth?

beer
In October I wrote about the use of hired ‘beer bitches’ at London’s Oktoberfest.

I then tweeted this story to a series of London Assembly Members (AMs). Darren Johnson AM, to his great credit, responded and took the issue up.

As a result, his office has just forwarded me this response letter from Lib Peck, the Leader of Lambeth Council. In the letter, Lib Peck states:

“the terminology used at the event is unacceptable. Lambeth will be addressing this with the organisers as part of the debrief process. The events team will also be amending the terms and conditions to include a clause that Lambeth Events Service need to have sight of all promotional material associated with the event and anything deemed to be offensive will not be permitted.”

A success of sorts. This is now something to hold the council to account with come next Oktoberfest. 

Could this be the end of the beer bitches at public events in Lambeth?

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Filed under Gender, Politics, Social comment

Do I want to hire a “beer wench”? No thanks.

beer
Wench: “a young woman who is a servant” (Online dictionary).

Or, as the Urban Dictionary puts it: “a dirty pirate hooker.”

Wench is a word you would think most businesses would try to avoid using. Most, you would hope, would be aware of both its literal (servant) and implied (prostitute) meaning.

But it is exactly this word that the tactfully titled website www.beerbitches.co.uk uses to describe the girls you can “hire” for their Oktoberfest themed parties. “Beer wenches for all occasions” they promise.

Nice huh.

Well one such occasion that has deemed it appropriate to hire some “Bavarian wenches” is the London Oktoberfest. The event which advertises itself as an opportunity to “let the entire family experience Bavarian culture” also has working the doors “hot Bavarian wenches”.

Apparently they see no antagonism in ethos there.

Interestingly, in the “family friendly” Oktoberfest they make no mention of the girls official title – beer bitches (definition of bitch given as “a malicious, spiteful, or coarse woman”). I wonder why?

To be abundantly clear, I take no issue with the girls working for beer bitches – if they want to make a bit of money and manage to have some fun at the same time then good on them. What I take issue with are companies like “Beer bitches” and the overt sexism they exude that helps perpetuate sexism both within the beer industry and in society as a whole.

The Every Day Sexism project has chronicled experiences of ordinary men and women who suffer sexist comments or actions through the day. One of these testimonies published in the Daily Telegraph reads:

I was on the bus telling my friend about the housework I have to do when I get home (I’m a young carer) and the man a couple of seats behind me said: “She’s perfect wench material.”

Another from the Telegraph reads:

“In one day I’ve been called a “frigid bitch” and a “dirty whore”.”

To think that you can run a business called “Beer bitches” that hires “wenches” specifically for men (they state they are for “Gents Events”) and that this might not be reinforcing some deep-rooted sexism within our society is extraordinary. But, that is essentially what Lisa Shepley who tweets from @Beerwenches suggests:

To clarify – feminism is not, and cannot, be understood as not condemning a woman for doing something she enjoys if you think it is negatively impacting on women in general. However, I think there is a reasonable argument to be made that says feminism entails an effort to tackle sexist language and imagery in society even if this is perpetuated by a woman.

I hope Lisa responds to this post. I would of course be more than happy to make space for a right of reply article if she wishes to write one.

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Filed under Beer, Social comment