I had a ticket to go to Queens of Craft in Guelph on Wednesday. I decided to take the GO train out and get a ride back with my beloved who was working in Kitchener. I’ll be honest, I was looking forward to taking the train, because I thought they were a nifty way to travel, speedy and scenic.
Note the past tense there? It took this one ride to realize it was not scenic, romantic or interesting. It was mind-numbingly boring. I watched people who do this every day, who commute from Georgetown and Guelph and couldn’t help but hope their jobs were worth losing this much of their precious time over. I can’t see any situations where I would voluntarily put myself through that on a regular basis. I’d only rethink my position if they put in a bar car.
Pulled out the trusty Google Maps on my phone once I got to Guelph and walked the few blocks to the venue, where I was mildly concerned to find I was the only person there. Eventually the organizers and panelists came back from dinner, the crowd started to fill up the tables and the samples started pouring.
Like many others there, I was disappointed at the time constraint. The venue had a salsa night that started at 9, which meant that each of the panelists had only 8-10 minutes to talk about their particular area of craft beer, their female POV in it and to present a beer. This proved to be not even close to enough time. The panelists were rushed, and I can’t help but wonder what information I missed out on. The Thirsty Wench went into more detail about her topic, Beer Blogging Basics, on what else, her blog, but there was zero time for a Q and A or even a follow-up chat as most people hit the road for home when 9 o’clock came and we were pushed out by the increasing volume of the salsa music.
There just something about the whole women-in-(insert male dominated field here) that I am becoming less and less enamored with. I do agree that there needs to be few gender barriers on fields, but this whole focus on the binary male/female bias only is honestly less than it could be. As this great sign I saw at Pride last year said, binary should only be for computers.
The support of these organizations is great if you’re a woman looking to break into a male-dominated field. But I think there’s a point where the segregation might be just shooting ourselves in the foot, and I don’t see how that is going to help us all in the long run. I was talking to a woman in IT a few years ago about a particular women-in-computers groups, and asked why she hadn’t joined. She thought a moment and replied that they were comfortable to be in but that change didn’t really come from within a comfort zone. She also asked a question that stuck in my mind: how does a women’s club that looks like a men’s club do anything to break down the men’s club?
A week or so ago, this exchange on Twitter that caught my eye between Neko Case (who I admire) and Playboy (who I don’t):
It resonated. She had other tweets that followed, about being Peggy Olson-ed (she’s good, you know, for a woman) and about the whole “women in ….” thing. And I thought, yeah, this.
I don’t want to be a kickass “woman in beer”. I want to be a kickass brewer in beer.