Social Question

etignotasanimum's avatar

Why are alcoholic drinks gendered?

Asked by etignotasanimum (3372 points ) April 12th, 2011

I was recently having a discussion with my sister about this topic. It just seems really odd to me that certain drinks are “for women” (those that have fruity flavors or cutesy names or umbrellas), and if a man is seeing drinking one he’s considered “less manly”. Then there are drinks “for men” (scotch, etc) that women drink, but it seems rare.
Why is this so? Have you experienced this? Am I wrong about this sort of stereotyping being out there? Obviously this isn’t the case everywhere and not everyone thinks this, but I find it somewhat strange.

Note: I am under 21 and have never been to a bar, so I’m just talking about seeing this in the media and in discussions with people who do go out to bars.

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24 Answers

josie's avatar

All I can say is, I know only a few women who will drink a decent single malt scotch straight up. But lots of them like cosmopolitans. And regarding men, vice versa.
I KNOW that there are exceptions
@KatetheGreat probably likes her scotch.
But still, this is the general trend, and so bartenders and distillers have caught on to it.

KateTheGreat's avatar

It’s a common thought that women cannot drink the same drinks as men can. The “fruity” drinks are considered “for the women and gays” while the stiff, hardcore drinks are left for the “manly men”. It’s pretty much just bullshit. I, for one, hate the fruity drinks. I like my vodka, scotch, rum, ouzo, and tequila very much :)

@josie Hmmm, how did you know?

josie's avatar

@KatetheGreat
It takes one to know one

Seelix's avatar

I think many women like sweet drinks. A lot of them are geared towards women, with pink colouring, frou-frou names and whatnot. I think it’s silly, but I love a girly drink just as much as I love me a beer. And not a light beer, either, or any of your US beers. A good old Canadian beer any day!

KateTheGreat's avatar

@josie Ahh, I gotcha ;)

everephebe's avatar

Hard drinks are said to “Put hair on your chest.” Women don’t usually go in for that type of thing.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

That’s the stereotype I’ve experienced. An eyebrow or two is bound to be raised if someone orders a drink outside of this stereotype. Maybe it has to do with the fact that, in general, women cannot drink as much alcohol as men without it affecting them more quickly. Ordering mixed drinks, particularly ones with juice or soda in them, reduces the alcohol consumption while still having a drink in hand.

Two male friends are partial to fruity drinks, and I’ve never thought twice about it. As for a woman drinking hard liquor, there is something sexy about it, as long as they aren’t an alcoholic.

Edit: Is this stereotype limited to the US?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Why is anything?

KateTheGreat's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir That was just wonderful :)

Cruiser's avatar

Beer, wine and booze like gin, whiskey and scotch are an acquired taste. Which is why there is Boonesfarm, Southern Comfort and Rum and Cokes to sweeten the hot vapid flavor of alcohol into the belly where it works its magic.

chyna's avatar

A “manly man” doesn’t drink umbrella or fruity drinks. Or the saying goes.

diavolobella's avatar

I asked my boyfriend about this (he’s a bartender) and he said, for the most part, the women he serves tend to ask him for a sweet drink where you “can’t taste the alcohol.” It’s easier to make a vodka/fruit based drink that is strong but doesn’t taste it. He said the same applies to shots. Women generally prefer a blended, fruity sweet shot or a chocolatey one. Guys tend to do straight shots of hard liquor. Of course, there are always exceptions, but in 15+ years of bartending, that has been his experience.

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MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Because things are gendered. Society loves to gender everything.

There’s an episode of How I Met Your Mother that discusses how men would love to have “girly” drinks with real fruit and umbrellas, but are afraid of seeming unmanly. And on the flip side of things, men are taught that drinking scotch (and other hard liquors, but especially scotch) is a way into the business world – having a nice 20 year old single malt scotch with Donald Trump is as good as signing a contract to do business with him. Subsequently, there’s then reasons for men to learn to like scotch sooner than there is with women.

Point being: Is it really because women biologically like “girly” drinks, and men biologically like “manly” drinks that causes this gendered differentiation, or is it because they’re taught the gendered ideals that they learn to like the drinks assigned to them?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs Do you really not know the answer to that question?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I have my own answer the question, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a one-right-answer kinda question, seeing as how it isn’t math. I was asking the question to make a point. Was that not clear?

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WasCy's avatar

I would suggest that if we’re going to start to break down gender and sex-based stereotypes, then it might be a good idea to start by not suggesting that gay men can’t be “manly”. Just sayin’ here.

anartist's avatar

But a very good single malt is an enjoyable taste and smooth—
a world apart from cheap scotch or bourbon or rye.

I have noticed that educated women often like scotch. Maybe others are not aware of the difference or do not appreciate the cost.

Another interesting wonder—why do winos drink sweet wine—thunderbird, mad dog 2020, irish rose, etc?

augustlan's avatar

@anartist Because they’re cheap wines?

Brian1946's avatar

I think this distinction is partially a relic from 1950’s westerns, and some people are still mired in it.

To the extent that this pattern applies to them, I’d say that those women are making their choices on their sense of taste and rational thought (preferring to imbibe drinks that taste good), and those men are making theirs based on the externally-driven self perceptions lodged in their virtual penises.

Cozzled's avatar

@etignotasanimum Why are alcoholic drinks gendered?
For the same reason that a guy referred to as a “pussy” is an attempt to indicate that he’s weak. Similarly, on the flip side, the construction “to man up” indicating strength.
They’re simply pervasive traditions of gender-based stupidity. By naming drinks along these lines of infallible logic, we guys can both reinforce our manliness and your womanliness, strengthening the status quo of male gender superiority, at a cheap price of $5 that additionally comes with buzz.
Because it is clear that if you have a penis, you eat meat, you drink beer or straight liquor, you’re stern, and you don’t show your emotions.
By the same standard, if you have a vagina, you like flowers and fruit, wear cute and pretty dresses, giggle at the slightest stupidity, and as a consequence gravitate toward fruity drinks; the umbrella is necessary to protect your pretty hands from the sun, since they must be soft for baby.
Think about that next time you order a strawberry daquiri at the bar or frat house.

Nullo's avatar

Marketing.

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