*taken from The Inactivist Blog
I love beer! Not in the “if I drink enough of it I will forget my troubles” sense. I love it because it is a refreshing, relaxing, interesting, complex, thirst-quenching roller of good times. We can come together over a beer and talk about the world’s problems or the stupid things we did in high school (or still do). Not to mention it is the perfect way to wash down a pile of Buffalo Wings from any place other than Hooter’s (I really need to blog about them – stay tuned). Ah, beer.
Sadly, the beer industry does some pretty hefty social and environmental damage as it cranks out gallon after gallon of the golden nectar. The industry has made a habit out of sexualizing and objectifying women to make a profit. Companies like Budweiser, Miller and Coors are notorious for using images of scantily clad women in their advertisments. Who could forget the Coors Light TWIIINNS???
Of course this is just one example out of literally thousands and thousands of print ads, tv commercials, billboards, and internet ads that bombard the advertising landscape from September to February. Why you ask??? The answer is simple – football season. This is a time of year that companies desperately clamor for the business of men by appealing to their inner man. Sexy women doing sexy things in sexy clothing is one of the main sales mechanisms employed by these large beer companies. In a hypermasculine culture, sexism sells.
This type of advertising is damaging in several ways. Obviously, it objectifies and sexualizes women. This teaches men and boys to value women for their looks and sexuality first (if not only). It also teaches women and girls that in order to gain the interest of a male, you must behave in a sexual way – even if you aren’t interest in actually having sex. It also socializes men to believe that men must act like the men in the commercials in order to be a “real man” or perhaps more accurately all men should behave like the men in the commercial because that is what is normal. Naturally, if men are taught that women are sex objects that are available to them at any time and women are taught to behave sexually even if they aren’t interested in having sex, then you are bound to have scenarios in real life where men force themselves on women sexually.
Environmentally speaking, the beer industry makes a significant ecological footprint. On the whole, the industry uses nearly 500 million tons of grains every year. Since beer isn’t chunky, you have to wonder where all of the grain goes after it has been boiled and the sugars extracted? In the pre-Budweiser days, smaller breweries would give their “spent” to local farmers who would used it for cattle feed. This was a tremendous help to farmers and breweries. It even kept costs lower on beer and dairy products because a production expense has been eliminated (there must be someting to this symbiosis thing after all). Also, think about the amount of waste that is created during this time of year from the number of bottles and cans of beer consumed is staggering. What about the massive amounts of petroleum products it takes to deliver the beer across the country to every grocery, liquor store, quick mart and bar in America? The industry’s environmental load is taxing to say the least.
So, what should an Inactivist do? Consider drinking craft beers or microbrews made in your state (or locally if possible). Here is why:
1. Smaller, independent breweries typically spend their advertising budget (if they have one) on showing you how good the beer is rather than using half naked women to divert your attention from the actual taste of the beer – AND TWIIINNS!!! Taking your money out of the large corporate pockets just might get those companies to evaluate their advertising practices.
2. If you buy your beer from a producer that is in your town or in your state, then you are helping to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and cutting down on the automobile emissions that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, and helping local farmers keep their feed costs low.
3. Buying locally made beer supports the people who live in or near your community. Keeping your money local will help put food on the table for people who are trying to do things the right way and it send a loud and clear message to the large beer companies.
I did a quick Google search for “TEXAS BEER” since I live in Austin. The first listing that popped up was http://texasbeer.blogspot.com. Here I found a great list of existing craft beer breweries all in the state of Texas. I have had most of these beers myself and they are quite good. I especially like “Fireman’s 4” made by Real Ale Brewing Company in Blanco, Texas (70 miles from my door) and “Blonde Bombshell” by Southern Star Brewing Company in Conroe, Texas (200 miles from my door). Honorable mention has to go to “Live Oak Pilz” from Live Oak Brewing Company right here in Austin.
I encourage you to do a quick google search of your own to see what beers can be found in your neck of the woods. You just might stumble on something you really like. Craft beers might cost a few dollars more, but you can’t put a price justice.
Here’s to making the world a better place 12 ounces at a time this football season and beyond.