I Just Realized Drinking Culture Is Sexist as Hell
11.09.17

I’ve been sheepishly ordering vodka sodas since I was old enough to do it. I don’t like them very much, but then I don’t really like hard liquor in general. I’ve never taken a sip of vodka and thought, Yum. I don’t particularly want to have one over dinner, nor learn to make one with just the right amount of zing. I don’t care what kind of vodka is used as long as it’s not the shitty stuff. I might prefer beer or wine with food but those are harder on my body so at a bar? Vodka. It’s my drink not because I love it but because it’s simple and predictable, because I don’t want sugary stuff late at night, because my palate is a wimp.

I’ve been bashful about my drink order forever. I dress it up to a mule, collins or gimlet if I’m feeling bored or watched, but that’s about it. I wish I thought it sounded even vaguely appealing to nurse a whiskey neat instead of choke down a drink beloved by sorority girls, calorie-counters and white women (or so it’s been said) like some sort caricature of myself, but alas, I don’t. For a long time I thought that made me lame.

When I met my boyfriend last year, I was surprised to learn he loved vodka and drank it more than any other alcohol. He said it with pride, too, and had all kinds of reasons for liking it that somehow made it seem legitimate. “No wonder you drink vodka,” he said to me, “because you’re Polish!” (It wasn’t a connection I’d ever drawn, but one I jokingly accepted.) Whenever he ordered a vodka soda at a bar I was taken aback, and I’m embarrassed to say he made me feel better about ordering one myself.

Why did it take a man to validate my drink order? It’s a question I hadn’t even thought to ponder until I read Jaya Saxena’s “Women Aren’t Ruining Food,” piece last week in Taste. “When men enjoy something, they elevate it,” she writes. “But when women enjoy something, they ruin it.” I immediately recognized my own attitude in her words, and that’s when I realized my relationship with alcohol has been sexist for as long as I can remember.

“The treatment of women-centric food trends illuminates how, in many respects, whatever a man does is considered the standard that the rest of us should adhere to,” writes Saxena. “If a man is fussy about craft beer or protein shakes, it’s food that should be fussed over. If a man requires nothing more than meat, potatoes, and a Budweiser, neither should anyone else.”

She goes on to point out how pervasive this delineation is: movie franchises, music genres, food trends and other cultural touch-points. It’s hard to argue with, impossible to unsee and endlessly troubling. “Men can obsess over every aspect of procuring, drying, and grilling a steak, but women are the high-maintenance ones for arranging a beautiful smoothie bowl,” she writes.

When men enjoy something, they elevate it.

When I consider her points around alcohol in particular I’m especially disturbed; I’d never noticed the cache of certain drinks is unquestioningly in favor of those which are considered “manly.” Anything considered “girly,” like rosé, only becomes cool once men start drinking it too. I always found it a little grating when a woman bragged about her preference for dark liquor, as if preferring a “man’s drink” made her better than me — but I’d never chalked it up to internalized misogyny. Nor my own shame, either. How weird.

I ran some polls on Instagram to see if this view around alcohol was as pervasive as I suspected. The results, which include the views of over 25,000 people, confirmed as much:

45% of respondents have been embarrassed their drink order was lame or basic (41% have actually ordered something else as a result), and 67% have been proud their drink order sounded sophisticated.

65% of respondents associate certain drinks with certain genders, and just as many say they consider “manly” drinks to be cooler.

40% of respondents have made fun of someone for ordering a “girly” drink, and the same number have been the recipient of such teasing.

That’s a lot of drink-related shame. I think it’s time we rewrite these rules, and I’m starting by rethinking how I order drinks. There’s nothing wrong with not having a palette for dark liquor straight-up, nor is there any reason to feel ashamed for preferring something simple. Tastebuds are just tastebuds, they don’t indicate our level of worthiness any more than our predilection for cilantro. How would you have responded to the above measures? Have you internalized some of these sexist views?

Photos by Louisiana Mei Gelpi; Creative Direction by Emily Zirimis. 

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  • Hayley

    You like what you like! It’s frustrating to me that something as human (or really when you boil it down, animalistic) as taste “has” to be gendered.

    This article did give me some fond nostalgia for Scrubs though…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aplyfno3NYI

    • cryptdang

      Oh man! Thanks for this XD

    • I had an appletini made with calvados and apple cider the other day and it was BOMB.

  • You are right, people somehow manage to turn everything into unnecessary drama: I really appreciate a good whisky but haven’t taken much time yet to get to know the whisky/whiskey culture. Turns out I should keep quiet about my preference because I often get attacked by men who seem to think it is not a woman’s drink and shouldn’t be drank if you cannot recite Scotland’s history in 5 and name every distillery in the world in 3 seconds. Let alone the process of making whisky/whiskey. I don’t wanna talk about it, goddamn, just let me enjoy my drink and drop the names to people who appreciate that showy shit *sigh* Anyway, Haley, thank you for letting me complain and swear. The world would be a much easier place if everybody understood the concept of Spießigkeit and used this useful German term for daily meditation.

    • Abby

      I once had a man tell me that my opinion on whiskey couldn’t be trusted, since I am a woman. He said this to me while I was actively tending the bar he was drinking at.

      • UGH!!!! UUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!

      • Eva Skewes

        I hope you left after you finished that drink!

        • Abby

          I couldn’t, I was the bartender!

          • Eva Skewes

            Ahhhh I misread that (probably out of hope?) but this is so much worse. What even!

      • Kat

        I hope you refused to serve him and made sure no-one did either! How infuriating!

      • *sigh*

      • Haley Nahman

        Bye.

        -my eyes

      • TinySoprano

        I wonder if he’d think your opinion on where the door is, and also the arse it should hit on the way out, was also untrustworthy. >.<

      • Liz

        The worst part about these encounters is that we’re behind the bar and therefore cannot leave. We can’t go anywhere! We have to remain face to face with men that harass us on purpose, since they, too, know that we can’t go anywhere. Literally one of the most frustrating parts of the job, and I’m totally convinced men like it. Also very rarely can you just “not serve them” lol

        • Abby

          Yeah, you can always tell someone has never had a restaurant job when they’re all “legally you don’t have to serve them!!! just kick them out!!!”. Like sure, legally I don’t have to but I do have to if I want to remain employed.

      • Olivia AP

        Ugh, the same with sports.
        It looks insecure af

      • zldn

        Men don’t trust women: a guy called the wrong number (mine) and when I told him that, politely, he disagreed with me…but like…my name’s not James and it’s definitely my fucking number. Boy, bye.

    • Ashley Hamilton

      I love being quizzed about my interests just because they aren’t traditionally female interests. I’ve actually not ordered whisky before for fear of seeming try-hard.

      • I love learning about anything I don’t know too much about and I don’t mind showing my lack of knowledge – I always do, as a rule. It is just that some people want to lecture in that über-teacher way and enjoy killing their inferiority complexes by proving my ignorance so much they spoil my (drinking) pleasure. We are all informationally incomplete and always will be. Doesn’t mean people don’t have the right to enjoy those fine moments in life without being shat under (sorry).

    • This! This is why ‘what music do you like’ is my most hated date question. Cue 10 straight minutes of lecturing about why me liking this band is wrong, which album was so and so’s most underrated, why small gigs are for losers/way better/whatever. Hun I just like beyonce effing chill. god. Maybe it’s actually quite cool that I am secure enough in myself that I don’t have to assert my ultimate expertise in everything I do, touch and eat. Just an idea.

      • Oh I know that one too. I have been claiming for ages my music taste was eclectic (it is) and that’s all. And I just keep quiet about it. Ever since I was attacked at a CD shop for wanting to buy a Morphine CD: “You girls just want to buy the C D beacause Mark died …” 😣

        • Really?! wow. that is a lot.
          I’m continually made fun of when it comes to music, I like rock and metal but not the ‘cool’ and technical bands.. like whatevs, I love My Chemical Romance with all my heart, let me just be happy in peace. I don’t care why Gojira is technically better than Trivium and I don’t want your 10 minute lecture on the subgenres of metal and their respective rankings in your brain, Richard.

  • Adrianna

    I’ve been watching Iron Chef America episodes on Hulu. (sidenote, am I the only one who has a compulsion to watch food shows while eating?) Those familiar with Iron Chef America know there’s been a trend in cocktails in recent seasons. Alton Brown (the host) made fun of the male chef for creating and drinking “girly drink” for well over 30 seconds because it was a mixed cocktail. It’s amazing how outdated this sounded in a post-2016 election world.

    I’ll say that one of the reasons I did not enjoy drinking in college or in male crowds in bars is the weird sexist ribbing. It’s one of the only environments where men have felt comfortable poking fun at me. (Ranging from playful to negging.) My boyfriend works for Spotify, and I’ve attended a few tech parties. Even nerd drinking culture is so bro-y.

    Also, I *am* Polish. The women in my family didn’t drink after watching their fathers and husbands spiral into alcoholism. If I had a dollar for every American that made a drinking/vodka joke…

    • Haley Nahman

      I feel that! I also have alcoholism in my family, on the Irish side, so have seen plenty of those jokes. But just to be clear for Avi’s sake, he was pointing out the vodka is a Polish liquor, not that Polish people drink a lot!

  • stinevincent

    I probably fall into this trap more than I should, as I’m a whiskey woman and proud of that fact. Some of what I like about it is for itself: the dark color appeals to me, I like that it’s American, and the flavor goes well with things I enjoy like cranberry juice or gingerale. But some of what I enjoy about it is that it is masculine, or masculine-seeming. I don’t know what makes a liquor more masculine or feminine, but it’s probably got a lot to do with men liking it.

    I don’t think you should settle for vodka drinks, though, your intro sounded a little lackluster towards it. Try rum! It’s delicious and can go well in simple drinks.

    • Haley Nahman

      I’ve tasted them all! I just like how mild vodka is. I get other stuff occasionally though!

  • Abby

    I’m off to read Jaya’s piece because I think she puts into words so eloquently what I’ve been trying to express for years but could never really find the words for re: the way men react to pumpkin spice lattes.

    • Haley Nahman

      100%

    • This reminds me of that awesome meme that said “the venn diagram of men who make fun of women liking pumpkin spice lattes and the guys standing in line freaking out over sechzuan sauce at MD is a circle”

  • Eva Skewes

    I feel so lucky to have been introduced to different liquors and cocktails through my dad or awesome ladies at a local wine shop. Both come from a position of curiosity and enthusiasm and that’s totally shaped how I drink and approach alcohol. They’ve also never sought or encouraged the masking of the taste of alcohol, which I will take with me until the end of time. If you cannot taste the alcohol . . . it will not end well. At any rate, I feel so fortunate to have had my tastes in alcohol shaped by my tastebuds.

    Men at wine stores and bars have, predictably, been surprised and prompted quizzes when I mention liking something they consider “rare” or “good” like chartreuse or amaro. It’s so dumb and I’ve refused to put up with it.

    • EmUhLee

      Yeah, I’ve had guys be visibly intimidated or surprised that I like stiff mixed drinks like Old Fashioneds, Manhattans and Negronis. Very dumb.

      I like super strong coffee, brown liquor (and tequila/mezcal) in drinks and hoppy double IPA beers and my boyfriend can’t stand any of those things. I couldn’t care less that I’m the one with the “manly” palette.

      • Eva Skewes

        It’s so dumb! I actually hate coffee (to me, it tastes like dirt), but love other bitter flavors.

        I was just gifted a 2 liter oak barrel for barrel aging cocktails and am strategically planning when to buy the liquor. It’s going to cost sooooo much, but then I’ll have two liters of a very cool cocktail.

        • EmUhLee

          That barrel sounds amazing…I’m so jealous. I love barrel aged anything lol. What are you thinking of making????

          • Eva Skewes

            I’m thinking of making a bijou which is 2 parts gin, 1 part chartreuse, and 1 part sweet vermouth. You also add orange bitters, but all research on barrel aging says that bitters should not go in the barrel because they’ll take over, so I’ll add them when I pour the cocktail.

            My dad barrel aged manhattans and negronis last year and they were delicious and a local bar sometimes has a mezcal negroni on tap that is divine.

  • kay

    shut the front door, i have to read that article. mind blown. thx for writing about it.

    • kay

      ooooooooooo here’s something else. gamergate and so much more explained. soundbite sentence: “We hypothesised that female-initiated disruption of a male hierarchy incites hostile behaviour from poor performing males who stand to lose the most status.” so basically the men who know privilege is protecting them from sinking to their proper place in the meritocracy are the most abusive…. if anyone does this study from a racism perspective pretty sure this is operating there too. the “cutting in line” argument from that book “strangers in their own land” would dovetail easily with that.
      i don’t think this idea covers all of sexism (or racism) but it’s a telling aspect.

      http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0131613

  • theysayshycity

    I was on a mostly male team once, and ordering drinks at team/client dinners became such a circus-y nightmare because of this.

    I can speak extensively about my whisky preferences, drink it neat, whatever; basically, I needed to play the “Cool Girl.” This was compounded by the fact that we always (ALWAYS, why god why) went to steakhouses and I don’t eat meat….I was always intimately aware that taste/food preferences were seen as a gendered issue

  • Kat

    As someone who spent a while working in bars and grew up with whisky-appreciating parents, for a long time I was super proud of how much I knew about alcohol and flavours and loved to judge people based on their drinks orders. I was also very proud of the amount I could drink.
    Snap to many years later and a year of being in pain (thanks endometriosis!) and not going out, and I now barely want to drink, and when I do it’s not much. I realise just how much of a dick I was before. Everyone should drink whatever they want and as much or as little as they want (as long as they stay safe).

    • Haley Nahman

      This is a nice part of growing up. I hold my tongue so much more than I used to, about all kinds of things, and just the act of doing that changes my thought patterns and is making me a much more understanding person in general. So glad you came around on this!

      • nelgracev

        THIS. So true. Write a whole article on this. 10/10!

        • Jasmin Sander

          Am realizing the same thing! I second this request!

    • Kristen J

      Endometriosis ruined alcohol for me too. I didn’t know that happened to other women as well, so I’m glad to know now I’m not the only one!

      • Kat

        I’m slowly able to drink a bit and have a good time now that I’ve had and recovered from surgery, but I doubt I’ll ever get back to drinking like I used to. Course, that could partly be getting older!
        When the pain was really bad I definitely found drinking made it worse for some reason, not the hangovers but actually at the time of drinking. No idea on the science behind that!

    • Madeline C

      This was exactly me (different health issues but similar path). Revelation and all. And recently, for various reasons, I don’t drink what I used to like anymore. Now, I love Coors Light (on the rare occasions I drink) and I am on the flip side of that judgement I doled out when I felt cool about my drink. I often feel like people want me to be ashamed of my drink order but I love it. It’s light (doesn’t fill me up or give me an instant headache), available most places, and honestly I love the flavor. But I live in the northwest where the craft beer and craft distilleries reign supreme and I very constantly feel mocked or belittled by my drink order. What I want to do is slam my beer on the table and yell, LOOK HERE I HAVE LIVED IN THE NORTHWEST MY WHOLE LIFE AND LITERALLY CAME OF AGE DRINKING IPAS, I LIKE THEM, BUT THEY ARE NOT THE ONLY THING OUT THERE AND THEY GIVE ME A HEADACHE. ALSO, NOW I AM MAD I AM EVEN EXPLAINING THIS TO YOU BECAUSE WHAT DO I CARE WHAT YOU THINK?!?!? But I don’t because calling out every micro aggression would be a full time job and sometimes I just want to enjoy my beer.

      Side note, if I am with my boyfriend and he orders red wine, when the server sets down the drinks, they ALWAYS give me the wine and him the beer if they didn’t take our orders. Every. Time…… Lame.

      • Kat

        I feel like drinking something because it’s cool, rather than because you like it, is definitely A Thing, especially when you’re younger.
        But then if I hadn’t done that I may have never got into coffee or whisky, so… win some lose some I guess?!

  • Laura

    also, I don’t even know what I like! I’m afraid to try new drinks, even just dark liquor, because what if I sound stupid not knowing what I’m ordering? Ordering my standard vodka/tequila pineapple is so safe to me.

    • Haley Nahman

      Noted this for a possible future story! I think a lot of people feel this way.

    • mariahg

      Bartenders have a ton of knowledge! Just ask them! Go to a bar where you’ll feel comfortable asking questions about different liquors or trying different drinks. Just try to ignore it if you feel a little embarrassed or socially awkward. You could also bring friends with you! Just think about it as a wine tasting? Your favorite bar may even be able to take you through a (insert liquor) flight!

      • Hayley

        I wish you could order a smattering of mixed drinks the same way you order a flight of beers!

        • EmUhLee

          Mixed shots, yo! Some bars have ones that are actually good.

        • mariahg

          I know, right? But just tell the bartender the kind of flavor profiles you like and they often will suggest things for you to try.

        • Eva Skewes

          Sometimes bars do specials where they highlight a certain alcohol or flavor. I often go with a friend, we each order something different but then sample one another’s choices. We’ll be doing this when my city (and its best bars) celebrates the Repeal of Prohibition on December 2nd!

          • autillicautnullibi

            DC??

          • Eva Skewes

            New Haven!

    • Amanda Faerber

      I feel this way every time I step foot inside a casino. Same ignorance of what one is supposed to do or say … also, as I think of it now, a stereotypical male dominated environment.

    • Eva Skewes

      A lot of wine stores have the mini samples of liquor and they can be a great way to taste without committing. Just make sure you chill before drinking and then sip. Your second sip will be better than the first, because the first is almost always shock.

    • Tell the bartender what you like and ask for recs! When I’m at a new place and can’t find a menu and/or have no idea what alcohol they have, I just tell them the type of flavours I like and most of the time they make me an off-menu cocktail they just made up! I also… once tipsy…. like to talk about how delicious the thing they made was and often get a written recipe. Basically, platonically hit on all the bartenders about alcohol.

      • Laura

        it’s not so much that i won’t ask a bartender for recommendations – i’ve done that! it’s more of the setting that prevents it. a typical bar can get reeeally busy. i want to just have something in mind of what to order and go for it haha. when i’ve done that in the past, my drink order was diiiisguusting, or i was asked how i wanted the drink and i didn’t know. hence, my regular go-to drink is boring, but safe.

        plus, when I have asked for recommendations, they’ll give me something delicious of their own creation. i love that, but it’s not a viable option for a new go-to bar drink.

  • Imaiya Ravichandran

    this probably has nothing to do with internalized misogyny, but can we make ceasers a thing at clubs? i’m tired of tequila man! too many bad memz. sometimes, i’d like a refreshing tomato drink to sip on while i bat away creepy old dudes. why does that have to be so weird? END DRINK SHAMING NOW!!!!!

    • Amanda Faerber

      Yes, yes, yes!!! And add to that list the michelada for those who are not on the hard liquor band wagon.

  • 20 oz filet

    I appreciate many of the points made in this article. But jesus, it continues to astound me that the vast majority of women continue to put up with shit like this. Drink/eat what you like, embrace it and if anyone questions it, tell them to get bent. Time to take a lesson from the boys and be self-righteous dicks about our dining options.

    • Haley Nahman

      I (also) appreciate this comment — but it’s much more complex than you might think. To flip the table and give an example for men: Many male adults have been told since they were kids that they had to be tough and manly and mask their emotions. Even if they realize as adults that this is the case, it’s not as easy as “just embracing it” — it’s a huge web of internalization that creeps into so many learned behaviors and thought-patterns and self-loathing. I agree, though, that it’d be nice for us to all move on from these tired gender stereotypes, but I think it’s going to take a lot more than just flipping a switch though. We have to rewrite our culture. That’s going to take time and effort on all of our parts.

      • And we won’t be there to see it.

        • mariahg

          Be optimistic! I think we will. Just look at all of the women who comment on each and every article – and the number of women who read these articles and don’t comment. I think our generation is so much more aware of these gender stereotypes, and so much more conscious of taking the time to discuss them and deconstruct them. And, I think we have much more agency in putting these realizations into action. We feel more of a responsibility to do so. I think we’ve already begun to see change that our generation has spurred into action. I think, and know, we can do it. Team work makes the dream happen!

      • 20 oz filet

        But does it need to be complex? We are talking about a choice of drink. Personally, I don’t think it takes more than flipping a switch when it comes to this very specific topic. If we were talking about drinking and consent or the example you gave, it would be a different story. Both of those issues have huge ramifications for society as a whole. I dunno, when i imagine someone seriously thinking “Ladies, we must come together to make sure no one thinks less of us for ordering a glass of [insert drink],” it just reeks of privilege. Again, still thought it was a very interesting article, and i appreciate the time you put into it.

        • Haley Nahman

          Oh I meant a broader culture change. I think we’re on the same side though! Thanks for sharing your thoughts seriously.

      • Autumn

        Goop just had an article today called Why Men Struggle with Intimacy and that’s exactly the case.

  • Emily

    I’d think that, like a lot of people, my first experiences with hard liquor were fun but a little different than what I would do now as an adult, and I never learned what mixed drinks to order at a bar. It’s intimidating jumping into the world of nice drinks knowing next to nothing about what to order, and I’m also a huge lightweight, so I often just order a beer — which always gets ‘male approved’ and is seen as very ‘chill’ when in reality I just know it’ll sit well and that I’ll feel basically normal when I head home at the end of the night. It’s weird how so many things are viewed and approved or not through a male lens. I’m happy to have a boyfriend and friends who don’t partake in that but even so, it’s still so palpable.

  • Ella

    It’s “palate” not “palette” 🙂

    • Haley Nahman

      actually was talking about my paint palette???

      • Haley Nahman

        jk thank u i’m dumb

        • Hayley

          Thanks for the afternoon giggles

  • Amelia

    I remember so specifically on the first date with my ex boyfriend, I ordered a Guinness to make me seem cool. worst decision ever. it was as if I drank a roast dinner…

    I lived in London for two years and rarely did any women order beer. The pubs always seemed to offer Ciders and wine for the women- it was as if it was engrained in them from birth (which is basically when Brits start drinking) that beer is the man’s drink.

    • Haley Nahman

      “it was as if I drank a roast dinner…”

      lol

    • TinySoprano

      Now I am a Guinness lover, and I’ve learned ordering one in front of a man is a good way to gauge his level of internalised misogyny. Strangely, the only man who didn’t comment and didn’t bat an eye (the only good response, because why should it be surprising or funny that I, a small woman, like a glass of Vegemite), was my grandad. He’s a good egg.

      • Amelia

        I love this comment an unreasonable amount especially comparing a glass of guinness to a glass of vegemite (so accurate)

    • Beasliee

      Beer drinker here, just to say I totally agree.
      Boy tho, a PINT of Guinness on a first date – that is brave! It’s heavy going.

    • zldn

      It’s changed a lot, now all the students are broke and drinking beer regardless of gender!

  • Daniel Szilagyi

    Or you can just order whatever you actually like because you do and enjoy it instead of ordering something to either please someone else or because there a feeling or need to…if your BF or date thinks less of you than that person isn’t worth your time, simple as that.
    I equally enjoy a good smoothie or drink, but as a man i actually really dislike the hard liquor and even in beer i prefer Pilsners, Lagers and Wheat beers to what most guys seem to like which is IPA or ales, do i care if other guys make fun of me for that? no, because i don’t give a shit what other people like or don’t and i find this mentality to be so much of a North American thing rather than a European thing.

    I don’t think it’s bad to try something that’s different, but if you don’t enjoy it than why torture yourself?

  • Rachel

    I tend to order whatever I feel like when I’m at a bar. I don’t like beer unless it’s super fruity but if I’m out with people drinking beer I’ll usually order cidre. I also like all types of cocktails and dark liquor like whiskey and bourbon. Also big wine drinker!
    I didn’t even start drinking until I was 20 (but legal age where I live is 18). I didn’t live in a strict household I just didn’t have the desire to drink and it was easier for me to be DD so you friends could have fun. They all started drinking in high school and I was never really exposed to it. So when I started drinking it was all new and I just tried a lot of stuff to see what I liked. But I never felt pressure to drink one type of drink over another but that might have been because I’ve always hung out with women and very few men. Now when I drink whiskey with friends they always think I’m badass not because it’s a man’s drink but because it’s a strong drink.

  • rolaroid

    Girl you JUST realized!? Well, that’s okay. Anyway, welcome! Yes, drinking is a highly gendered activity. Now we can subvert that too!

  • Chloe

    On the flip side, as a lady who enjoys a good whiskey as much as the next person, I’ve actually noticed that a lot of men will assume that I order whiskey at a bar just to impress guys or to seem “cool”. No Chad, I didn’t order an Old Fashioned so you and your man bun would be impressed…

    • Elisaaa

      Word to this ^. I either find myself feeling superior when I pick up a bottle of good whiskey or pissed off at dudes who offer inane advice or make random “wooooow” comments when I do -.-. I wish there could be less of all that nonsense.

    • Ciccollina

      “No Chad”

      I love you!

    • Serena

      Be better Chad!

    • Selena Delgado

      Interesting, last night I visited The Little Whiskey in BK and the ladies who accompanied me were annoyed and openly mocked me about the fact that I ordered an Old Fashioned instead of a Whiskey Sour, what some will consider “a ladies drink”. The men were actually unfazed. Although I felt judged when they were joking about my preferences in spirit, I’d never allow the opinion of others to influence my decisions or drinking etiquette (besides my mom). I’d even stretch this paradigm to my choice of glass in what I decide to drink out of. To this day, whenever I order a beer I can hear a running commentary from my mother, saying “women shouldn’t drink from cans or bottles, so always have a tall glass to pour it in and sip from”. Lo and behold, its been embedded in my DNA. As much as I sympathize with much of the article, I’ve been observing women drawing assumptions about other women based on their choice of drink as well.

    • Erika Sabalvoro

      I can’t stop laughing. Same!

  • tmm16

    Ugh, unfortunately yes. I feel like I get judged by men all the time because I like to drink beer. Maybe it’s just my twisted head, but I think in their minds it makes me seem less feminine. Whatever, I love my IPAs, and will continue to drink them!

  • Autumn

    Heard an interview with Dave Grohl a few years ago and he was asked about his guilty pleasures when it comes to music. His response: “I don’t believe in guilty pleasures because you shouldn’t feel guilty for liking the things that you like”. I think about that comment all the time. It applies to so many things!

    • Haley Nahman

      Oh yes I’m very anti “guilty pleasures”

    • Sarah

      Dave is an amazing human

    • Aleda Johnson

      I love Dave Grohl with all my soul.

      (Poetry unintentional)

  • Bo

    I (a woman) have always preferred beer as a drink – it’s crisp, refreshing, goes well with most foods, takes a lot more for me to get hungover on than champagne and harder spirits make me glum. Over the course of my beer drinking career from when I first had one at like fifteen (ten years ago! I should celebrate this anniversary. Maybe with a beer) I have learned to expect some level of hostility from losers of both sexes because you’re choosing to step into what is apparently male territory and enjoy a delicious beer. Men losers get either cross you’re on ‘their patch’, so to speak, and try to shame you for an apparent lack of femininity or some bullshit, or worse: proceed to mansplain some long incorrect personal thesis about hops because it’s no longer enough to just like something, is it, you have become a fucking insufferable expert in it, and I need to be educated on the science of cracking open a cold one with the boys (because, as a non-boy, I am uninitiated to the world of cracking open a cold one and my fragile female constitution needs assistance). Woman losers use it as a way to make themselves look more feminine by comparison with their glass of frosé or whatever (hey, no judging; I get it, it’s pink and frozen, I’d drink it too) and try to shame you for it. Message to both of you: get me some chips and then please leave me alone with my pint. Beer is ruined thanks to the ridiculous craft beer movement (which was actually the men’s thing! Thanks men) but I’m not going to drink anything else really so I’m just quietly awaiting my turn to die with a cold one in my hand, boys optional.

    • I love you.

      • Bo

        Likewise I’m sure

    • Beasliee

      I love beer too and I merrily drink it out of pint glasses.
      My boyfriend is not bothered – he likes my habit as it as it keeps the rounds steady! – but people often comment on it. If I go for work drinks and the women order cocktails, I end up ordering a bottle of beer to seem more ‘ladylike’, when really I’d happily glug a pint instead!

      • Bo

        Pints are brilliant. I prefer the taste of draft beer over bottled. Also, less packaging = better for the environment so drink up

    • Allison

      I love beer too! Disagree about the craft beer movement, I love a big old piney IPA, but totally respect your different opinion. Here’s a rub of mine, when I’m in groups (especially around mixed gender groups of younger single straight people) and I say I love beer, there tends to be a least one women that croons “but it makes me so fullllll” like “oh my little dainty tiny tummy can’t handle it *pout face*” and it annoys the crap out of me. Ugh. Personally I can’t stand rose, but I’m not going to mock you for loving it tiny dainty tummy woman, don’t hate on my IPA.

      • Haley Nahman

        Wait now I feel bad because beer DOES make me full and that’s the main thing that annoys me about it! Should I stop saying that? Doesn’t it make everyone full since it’s the highest volume drink for the amount of alcohol? I like beer too but drinking a full one before a meal, for ex, can feel more appetite-ruining than a glass of something else no?

        • I think it depends how much you drink in terms of alcohol volume? Not being a heavy drinker I prefer to have two beers vs two glasses of wine, even though the alcohol vol (alcovolume?) is way lower. If I was trying to get crunk it would be G&Ts so not a problem.

        • Allison

          I just don’t think it’s cool to unprompted give an opinion that you think what someone else is consuming is really unappealing. Like, how is that supposed to make me feel? It’s sharing the unprompted opinion that you’d never dream of consuming what I consume that’s bothersome. It’s totally ok to not like beer b/c it makes you feel full, I don’t like rose because sweet wine makes me feel sick, but I don’t feel the need to point that out to others when they drink it. Drink and let drink? 🙂

      • I hate the taste of rose (so acidic! blergh) and love beer too. But it took me til the age of 25 (7 years into legal drinking!) to realise because of all this gender crap. I prefer lighter stuff though. Not really an ale person.

        • Haley Nahman

          FUCK ROSE

          • Vive la revolution

          • Bo

            More like Nosé amirite

      • Bo

        lol everybody knows one of those girls with the underhanded my-stomach-is-girlier-than-your-stomach thing going on! Please can we all just stop discussing our digestive organs in social situations? When did that become normal? No hate on your IPA feels though, I used to love them in Australia when people weren’t completely overdoing things and major beer manufacturers hadn’t decided to muscle in on the game and make quickie ‘craft’ beers based on sloppy market research. Now most of our IPAs have wayyy too many hops and no balance at all; I had one the other day that tasted like a liquid onion. That’s just what’s happening in my backyard though! And I am still a strong proponent of other craft beers, esp. milder golden- or amber style ales, pilseners or the occasional bitter.

    • Comment of the month.

    • Emily L

      Wait I was totally onboard with this until the part about “woman losers” and the “ridiculous craft beer movement”….can we just let people like what they like, however they want to like it, for whatever reason? If someone likes a generic beer with their meal, cool. If someone wants to get super into home-made beer and know every detail about it and share that with people, cool. Being judgy about other people’s interests, however the interest manifests, male or female, is no bueno on both sides.

  • ladle

    I don’t drink hard liquor. I don’t like it. I usually order beer or wine if someone else will split it with me (we get a pitcher of wine and I can’t drink it alone). Despite coming from an area known for it’s liquor I am a big lightweight and I don’t get drunk.
    I hate the whole gendered thing. If you want a certain drink you can have it, I don’t care if it’s pink and has an umbrella and you are a 6 foot ripped barbarian. It rivals my hatred for putting man or guy in front of things.

  • Adrienne

    I am a woman who prefers beer and whiskey, not because they make me seem cool in the eyes of men but because wine always makes me feel like shit and cry if I have too much and I can nurse a glass of whiskey a lot longer than a vodka soda. I have experienced women judging me for my drink choices many times and sometimes I order wine or a “girly” drink to avoid that, even though I know it will make me feel terrible. For me, women’s judgment has been just as bad as men’s.

  • Kaitlin Meyers

    Legit three days in a row, I have read an article only to see MR reference the same article in a piece that day. crazy

    The sexism in food and drink culture drives me crazy. The worst offender is the hipster male barista who wants you to be honored that you get to drink one of his masterpieces.

    • Sarah

      Try going on a date with him and listening to him tell you how he makes lattes for 15 minutes *bleh*

    • Stacey

      Haha my friend got judged by a baristsa once – Cappuccino? That’s so 1990s. Still makes me laugh!

  • Samantha Serbus

    I constantly feel at odds with myself over the food/drinks I should or shouldn’t like. I guess I’ve never thought of it in terms of gender, but rather as a marker for societal class. I grew up on McDonalds and frozen pizzas and I liked it! I felt lucky to eat “fun food” for dinner as a child. But then I went to college and my classmates introduced me to roasted veggies and craft beers. I learned that it was uncool to eat processed foods (along with listening to Shania Twain) and I immediately tried this new way of living. The good? My acne cleared up and my jeans fit better. The bad? I felt like I was constantly trying to be someone I wasn’t. It’s like I was trying to prove to others that I was smart, clever and worthy – all based on what I ordered. All the while, I just felt like white trash holding a glass of wine I couldn’t afford and didn’t even like. Sometimes, I need a Busch Light. Why? Because it reminds me of sitting with my grandma while she smoked cigarettes at the kitchen table and the way she looked at me with those kind eyes and soft wrinkles. But other times, I’ll buy the wine. Because what the hell, I’ll try something new. The key for me is to not let the drink I hold in my hand determine my place in the world.

  • Mary Lewe

    Okay but actually there is a genetic component to whether or not you like cilantro. Great piece though 🙂 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/dining/14curious.html

  • Danielle Cardona Graff

    I used to be a bartender, and the only drink I ever actually passed judgement on were vodka redbulls… (typically only consumed by frat boys and washed up frat boys). If you want to try experimenting with other hard liquors aside from Vodka, I recommend aged tequilas, or aged rums. Let the boys balk when you order a Casamigo’s Reposado neat, while they remember their highschool hangovers from guzzling Jose Cuervo jejeje.

    • Danielle Cardona Graff

      And yes, now that I think of it, you’re right, booze culture and food culture is totally sexist. Ironic, considering women historically have been the designated homemakers-which involves cooking, entertaining, and perhaps knowing a thing or two about making a proper drink, yet our opinions don’t stick as a man’s might.

  • eizhowa

    This is true in so many areas of life. Women doing as men is fine, because men are the “strongest gender”, but it does not work the other way around, ie. women in trousers = cool, men in skirts = not so much.

    We have so far only culturally accepted that women can be masculine, not that feminity is just as good.

  • Mollie Ward

    I see this also show up in stoner culture. As a long time “stoner chick” (not my words, obvy), there have been countless guys at parties who were impressed with how much I smoked or just that I was a “cool girl”. (Basically everything wrong with my life feeds into the fact that I tried to be the cool girl fo eva) And in high school I did feel like I was cooler since I was one of the only girls smoking with all the bros. But moving to Colorado at 19 definitely took me down a notch. It’s just ridiculous that I felt cooler for doing something that is considered a guys thing. Is all the fun stuff considered a guy thing?! Jokes, but fuck internalized misogyny. When I slowed down smoking I had a little existential crisis, am I still cool? This piece is awesome and made me look at how I feel about a lot of trivial stuff like drink orders. It’s literally just alcohol, we will all have a hangover tomorrow.

  • A bar is like a bookstore – you know what the bestsellers are but there may be a book hidden among the shelves that will change your way of thinking (and drinking) forever. Go forth, be adventurous and if your date/friends/strangers think it’s weird, leave them behind!

  • dtjb

    On several occasions at restaurants I’ll order a beer and the guy I’m with will order wine, but they’ll always give me the wine even if it’s the SAME waiter who took the order dropping it off. Eye roll.

  • Anne Dyer

    My husband likes wine coolers. I’ve clearly never felt the need to man up on the drink order..

  • Sarah

    This has brought so many issues to the front of my mind regarding being shamed for other drinks or food – like how Pumpkin Spice Lattes would probably not be made fun of if they were drunk by the average guy instead of “basic girls”

  • I love ordering my favourite bourbon at a bar in front of men and asking the bartender to fill that glass right up with sweet tea and top it with a lemon wedge; the losers howl at how i’m RUINING the bourbon, and my friends ask to taste it because it’s insanely delicious. Instant barometer. I dated a guy who’s very into alcohol in general, girly and manly drinks alike, and I think that did wonders for my ungendering of drinks. I used to think it was cool to order a bourbon because – hey, i like something that all my friends think is like SO edgy – and now I feel more along the lines of – no no no no, trust me, it actually tastes like caramel. tbh, i’m just obsessed with cocktails that use bourbon or tequila. also can we stop associating alcohol that’s gross as a shot as gross all around????

  • LaurenG

    I was in a bar few weeks ago with my boyfriend. I order a gin tonic (with cucumber! nothing fresher!), he orders some cocktail (do not rememebr the name) but that quite ressembled a Cosmopolitan (pink in a small cocktail glass). The bartender comes with our drinks and put the Gin&Tonic in front of him, and his thing in front of me.
    I don’t know what annoyed me the most: that he thought obviously the girl had ordered the pink drink or that my boyfriend being a guy could not have ordered a pink drink!

    Anyway my mum’s motto has always been: “No matter what your drink is, it is always the fullest one on the table”. And I quite agree.

    • Blake Rax

      This happens WAY to often with me when we go out… IPA’s, Negronis, even happens with my black coffee orders… come on, how hard is it to ask? Also my mum is straight up notorious for always misplacing her wine glass and just picking up the fullest, gotta love em.

  • I’m not a fan of beer.. or red wine but rose, cocktails, G + T’s, ciders… that’s my jammmm and it’s annoying when people make fun of me for not liking beer. It makes you bloated, it doesn’t taste good and it makes me burp like ugh no not for me, I’ll sip my gin and tonic in peace

    https://thedianaedition.com

    • Emily

      AMEN

  • Emilie

    I’ve been working in cocktail bars for a while. I see this all the time. Men wanting to try a certain cocktail on the list but “oh it has rose water in it, it’s too girly”…dude, the drink is delicious and has almost 3 oz of alcohol in it no one’s judging you.

    I create menus and cocktails because it’s fun, creative, exciting and I’m good at it. I’ve been told by men “oh you just wanted a way to be able to enjoy bourbon” or “no, sorry, no way you invented this drink. I bet you drink lots of wine though, right?”

    …ultimately, you don’t drink with your genitals or gender identity, you drink with your mouth so…shut up & drink?

  • Drink choices are one thing, attitudes to drinking and how much one is allowed to drink and how one is allowed to behave after drinking are a yet another. An ex would get all upset and controlling about my drinking because a tipsy girlfriend was an embarrassment to him, which of course did not mean that he assumed the same standards for his drinking. I used to hang out with a group of guys and they just didn’t consider me a “girl” because I drank as they have? It’s highly socially acceptable for a guy to be drunk but not so much for a girl, too.

  • Hansika Vijayaraghavan

    I’m spending a semester in Paris right now and it’s so interesting to see how differently europeans view alcohol to americans. No one judges you for what you drink. I can drink a beer while a guy drinks a fruity mojito and no one thinks it’s weird. But there’s definitely sexism related to tolerance – if a guy drinks 6 shots, he’s a champ. If a girl does, she’s a mess.

    • Camila Restrepo

      I never noticed that, actually. Now that you mentioned it, that’s probably why I haven’t encountered too much of sexism while drinking because I’ve mostly have hung out with Europeans while I lived abroad or even here in the States. I even went to a speakeasy in Paris in August and I ordered a drink and the bartender actually ask me, “is a very sugary drink, are you sure you want that?”. I actually loved that he ask me that because I don’t like sugary drinks. I feel like an American bartender wouldn’t have asked me that at all.

    • Basil

      I was thinking I hadn’t really encountered too much man drink vs woman drink, but then I do live in Europe. However, the French do judge if you get the food / time of day wrong for your drink. Just try ordering a pastis with a meal rather than as an aperitif, you will get LOOKS

  • This article is utterly brilliant and articulated something that annoys me but which I was never quite able to put my finger on before. I encountered a similar double standard with a friend at university who was endlessly dismissive and derisive of my huge stack of fashion magazines, but deemed his equally huge pile of tennis publications ‘totally different’ and ‘actually worth reading’. Totally infuriating – I don’t see him much any more lol.
    La Femme | Unofficially the best lifestyle blog ever

  • I feel that people always judge me when I say I don’t like wine. It’s awkward when we are out for dinner and everyone wants to share a bottle, sometimes I’ll suck it up and just drink it but definitely not if it is red!

  • Camila Restrepo

    I’ve preferred beer ever since I joined a women’s rugby club team and have never looked back since then. After living in southern Germany and having enough beer to last me a lifetime, I loved it even more. And now that I live in a really big craft beer city, I still enjoyed getting a beer with friends, on dates, etc. Recently I met a guy who actually likes that I love beer. But when he said it out loud, I realized that actually I can’t remember ever having a man acting weird because I prefer to drink beer. People definitely act strange when I say I love Jagermeister, but that’s probably understandable because we all have that one liquor that made us miserable in college (looking at you vodka and Tequila). I also know two guys who don’t really like beer and one of them prefers to drink prosecco all the time and the other gin and tonics. Both are straight and really don’t care what people think of their drink choices, which is how it should be.

  • Ruth

    Actually vodka has more calories than beer or wine so it is not less sugary drink as you’ve stated.

    • belle

      Sugar and calories aren’t the same thing. And people generally drink a much larger volume of beer or wine as compared to a jigger of vodka in a cocktail.

  • katie

    I feel like you might just need new friends. drink shaming? surround yourself with better people and order whatever the hell you want.

  • Annie O

    Wine over ice has always been my drink of choice, and people’s response to it has always been a great gauge of their decency.

  • disqus_TfLOl3Zm9T

    I blame the glasses drinks are put in. When I travel for business, which is mostly with men, I get a lime daiquiri and request it to be put in a rocks glass so that the big glass isn’t a distraction.

  • Ciccollina

    I feel shame about my wine order when everyone else is drinking beer so naturally I loved this article.

    I was thinking about this recently. Man opens a cafe that serves nothing but a nice cup of coffee. Man obsesses over the beans, the roast, the other stuff. Man gets his photo taken for the newspaper and is considered successful and skilful. Nobody criticises him for being shallow, in fact, he’s praised for being very good at his job. But….let’s be honest….coffee is just a fucking beverage! It’s not worthy of any real praise. It’s barely worthy of conversation. But because an entitled white guy is taking it seriously, it means we have to as well.

    It reminds me of how men love to malign the fashion industry, as if superficiality is only a woman’s domain.

  • Jay

    For some reason I always wanted to be the girl being able to drink whiskey. And yeah, totally because I wanted to be that cool girl. Have come to accept I am not though.

    BUT: Figured that I am pretty good and have a pretty good taste in craft beer – some of my male friends actually consider me some kind of an authority on this… hehe

  • Hola

    Wow!! Cilantro is a thing?? 😀 #mexican

    • Caitlin

      Apparently some people have a gene that makes it taste like soap! Although I think it tastes kind of soapy and I like that????So ?!?!

  • Audrey Niksic

    As someone who has never really drank it it always interesting to see the approach to how my friends and acquaintances order or choose their drinks. I remember that in high school you were basically judged as an entire person on what you drank at someone’s house party. This post really made me question the sexism behind vodka companies adding overly sweet and “feminine” flavours to their bottles in order to cater further to this idea. Also made me think about the way advertising alcohol almost always showcases hyper masculinity, especially in beer commercials. The quote about how “whatever a man does is considered the standard that the rest of us should adhere to” really stuck out to me. Super great post!

  • frannypaul

    Eliminate ‘drinking’ from your title and you’re dead on.

  • Anna

    I worked at a coffee shop not a long time ago and I noticed a similar nonsense regarding coffee. Two intelligent middle aged men whom I know and respect came and one of them ordered an espresso and the other one a cappuccino. The first one was like: Really? Cappuccino is a gay drink. And the other one ordered black tea. It is kind of hilarious but actually quite sad.

  • lateshift

    I’m trying to remember where I saw this recently (will google it up), but iirc they found that one of the substances darker alcohols contain that light alcohols either don’t, or don’t have much of, is one that men are able to process far, far more easily than women… if I’m remembering it correctly – and if I’m not, I’ll circle back – this fact has nothing to do with size, they think it’s something hormonal about the way it interacts with the substances produced by our bodies. iow: darker alcohol is way easier for an average man to process than it would be for an average woman of similar size. So it’s only natural that our culture has decided that darker alcohol MUST be superior.

  • Caitlin

    I just came here to say this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8C4TGGtPzBU

  • Ejd5

    I have been on the receiving end of some judgemental comments, mostly because I drink very rarely and because when I do drink, I favor floral, aromatic, fruity cocktails. I simply ignore the comments. I know what I like and know what I don’t like. Disliking icky sour fermented leaves and cleaner-fluid hard liquor 😝 doesn’t mean I don’t have a complex and sophisticated palate. (No judgement to people who actually like these beverages!) I have found that there is power in being the one to quietly go against the crowd and be true to yourself. There are insecure people who are threatened by that, but there are also people that respect it and might even find you inspirational. In terms of life in general, accepting ones femininity can be hard. As a kid and young teenager I really resisted it and was a total “tomboy,” I think because I could sense that people just don’t respect women. Now I am no longer ashamed to pair my combat boots with floral dresses. I think there’s incredible power in being true to your “femininity” (whatever that really means) while being unrepentantly intelligent and self-possessed. If I want to discuss Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative while wearing a frilly lace dress and drinking a raspberry bramble, then I’m gonna do that, and if you have an issue with it, you can go f*ck yourself. 😊 There is nothing contradictory between femininity and intelligence or femininity and power or femininity and worth.

  • Ravens Starr

    I’ve defintiely noticed this but I just don’t give in to it – I order the same thing that I like every time I go out, which is rum and diet soda. If anyone questions me I just tell them it’s low carb and that shuts them up 😛

  • Sarah Muncaster

    I bartend at a brewery, and IF ONLY I had a beer for every time I had a guest assume I don’t like/drink beer, or make fun of their friend for ordering a “girly” drink, or scoff at the half-pint size because it’s too small and therefore “girly”, or express outright distrust about my beer knowledge, or had a guy feel obviously embarrassed for ordering a candy apple martini or had a girl ask about our seasonal beers only to have their guy be like “she won’t like that, get her a light one”. My response is usually something like “Our drinks don’t have genders!” paired with a sweet, nice girl smile. I also have to check my own bias sometimes, when a big macho guy orders a jolly rancher martini and the girl orders a whiskey neat, my brain still has a flicker of “that’s backwards”. Taste buds aren’t gender specific, and neither are drinks!

  • ArtsDuMal

    As a bartender, I loved when people ordered vodka sodas- they’re easy to make! The only people I judged were those who would order some obscure Prohibition era cocktail at 2 am at a crowded bar. P.S. I’m Polish and I personally hate vodka. It’s impossible for me to drink in Poland because wine and whiskey is really expensive there. So move to Poland. You won’t be judged!

  • TK

    My drink is a double straight Gin on the rocks with fresh squeezed lemon, let me tell you it is a head turner and every single time the bartender (which will be a man) will comment on how ‘manly/strong/will you handle it type of thing’ my drink is. And every single time my expression says non of your god damn business. Drinking culture is sexist, and all the irony is that this drink I learned from my brothers friend (who I low key ordered it in front of him to impress). Now I like it anyway (or i think i do at least)

  • pamb

    I enjoy Chardonnay, and only feel slightly basic to be drinking ‘mom wine’. I am, however, a mom, so if the shoe fits…

    However, over the summer I tried an Aeperol Spritz (yes, I read about in on MR and other blogs) and loved it! It’s basic, too, yet deliciously Old School (I first had it at a trendy restaurant done with gin instead of Prosecco, then at an Old School restaurant done the traditional way) which led to Moscow Mules and actually looking at the drinks menu vs. just ordering whatever Chardonnay wasn’t too outrageously priced.

    I can drink Chardonnay at home. If I’m going out, I’d like a professional to make me a cocktail. And I don’t care if my choices are as basic as that Chardonnay.

  • Ann Lee Gibson

    Trust me when I say that this perspective is something you will definitely outgrow. But I’ve got to say that at age 72 it’s strange to read that young women still struggle not to feel/think this way in 2017. Really, kids — and I’m not being sarcastic, just surprised — I thought you were more emancipated than this. Be your unapologetic selves. Nobody else is.

  • zldn

    I look forward to the day when I order a whiskey/old fashioned/manhattan etc without a ‘it’s so sexy when a woman drinks whiskey’ from a bartender or a nearby dude

  • Paige Garcia

    I identified with this article so heavily. I am a college student and that means that two beverages are supposed to rule my existence, coffee and alcohol. I actually wrote a piece for a class when Starbucks launched its “Unicorn Frappuccino” where I talked about the fact that I was interested to try it but too sheepish to order it. For years I pretended that black coffee was my thing in hopes that it would give me an edge. The same goes for alcohol. I partially blame Iggy Azalea, who really hurt my drinking game when she stated, “I take my liquor strait, never chase that.” The other part of me is working to pull myself out of it, turn down the shot, and have a beer.

  • MWhyman

    When I clicked on this article I thought you were going to talk about how drinking culture is inherently sexist because if a woman is raped, and is found to have been drinking, the blame is placed on her? Interesting direction you took though… super important point… (that is sarcasm, please fix your white feminism)