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Cherchez la femme


#1

Apologies for inflicting a ‘gender studies’-style question on you on this fine Thursday morning, but it occurred to me recently that there are very few regular female voices on this otherwise fabulous forum.

Does it matter? Perhaps not. But I wonder why this might be the case. I got a couple theories, but not really sure whether they are off the mark. In any case, it seems to me that as the enjoyment of good wine is not, in my experience, a male-only activity the paucity of women in the community (or at least those who actively post) is glaring.

I know that there had been some discussion about this very early on, when the forum just started – but now that this feels like a well-established virtual space, a sort of home-from-home in which to share our love of the grapy stuff, it would be nice to revisit it.

Any thoughts…? :thinking:


Do labels sell wine?
#2

You’re assuming all the males identify as men I take it?


#3

Fair question!
I guess my instinct is to say ‘yes’ - though I might be committing a cardinal sin. But let’s say - those who identify as ‘female’ on this site are very few. It might make no difference whatsoever, and maybe ‘male’ and ‘female’ voices are similar, but my hunch is that they are not.


#4

I get the impression that JayKay is normally posting as Mrs JayKey despite the picture.

I think it’s a valid question and I suspect that most couples who are TWS members for historic (and invalid) sociological reasons tend to leave the active participation to the male partner.

In fact if you are a couple do you have joint membership or is it only one member of the couple that is the member?


#5

Could it be that by identifying themselves as male, contributors feel they can get away with a lot, whereas as females they might be treated very unfairly?
Just wondered :slight_smile:


#6

It’s a good question, @Andy999 - and I think what you describe is a phenomenon that happens a lot in the real world.
But the question about who identifies themselves as what is a little bit of a distraction from the main question. Why are there only around 5 active ‘female’ voices in this community?..


#7

Indeed I am. For the avoidance of doubt I have uploaded a new pic of me wearing a frock :joy::wink:
It may take some time to come through. Me and MrJayKay are really joint members but when the membership was gifted to us it had to be in one name and my parents, bless them, gave it to us in my name. I am the chief decision maker on our Wine purchasing which I do mostly in consultation but sometimes I just do it, Nike style.


#8

More seriously, I hadn’t thought about this before, but the first thing that comes to mind is whether the ratio of male to female voices on the forum roughly reflects the ratio of male to female members in TWS. If so it would make sense, though might raise questions about the overall membership.


#9

This seems to be what I call a ‘shall we change the meetings to Saturday’ question (from a group, many years ago, which kept voting on Fridays that Friday was the best day, ignoring the fact that those who couldn’t come on Fridays weren’t there). Those of us who do participate clearly don’t see any reason not to participate, so we need to find those who aren’t here.

Is it the case that the membership is skewed to men? But the formal membership shouldn’t matter, because any family could allow any member to use the member’s place in the Community.

Promoting the Community by tweets just reinforces the problem because twitter is also rather male dominated. At tastings, the attendance seems more balanced, so it is probably not lack of interest. Should there be more promotion at tastings, in postal mailings, etc.?


#10

It’s a fascinating question, @Inbar. I’ve noticed similarly on other wine discussion forums, who usually agonise over it too every so often. So the interest in the subject at least isn’t restricted to women, but whether the contributors are men or women, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a convincing answer.

Can I ask the women who are here - is there anything that might make you feel discussing wine - either here or more generally - is making you feel uncomfortable? I fully accept @SPmember’s observation that this is a question better addressed to those who are not here. But at least a consensus view on that might help steer those of us with a Y chromosome away from obvious turn-offs that will ensure women feel equally valued here.


#11

Again, a really good question! And actually, what prompted me to write about this was going to WSET yesterday expecting it to be all male. But it was perfectly and healthily even. And you are right about tastings - in all the tastings I’ve been so far, it seems to be a good mixture of both.

What I am not sure about is whether this is a question of promotion. My gut feeling is that it’s more about the existing environment. You and I are clearly not shrinking violets. Neither are @leah, @jaykay, @catherine and - obviously- @laura. But what stops the others? There must be others. Is it the fear of expressing an opinion? fear of not seeming competitive enough, loud enough…? Not to say that these are necessarily ‘male’ features, but many women think they are, or have experienced them as such. No amount of promotion is going to by pass that.

I don’t have an answer, by the way.


#12

I am male, confirmed by my urologist last Thursday, but my female wife has no direct input to @onlyawino, save for her iron like grip on thr purse strings, and the consequences of her continuing austerity program.
:innocent::wine_glass::wine_glass::wine_glass:


#13

This is the question to start with, I think. This forum can’t but be a reflection of the outside world, and out there many women often fear to speak their minds - even if they have the knowledge, expertise and will to do so. Why?

It might be that this forum is missing some really interesting input from women who feel too timid to share their experiences. Which is a shame.


#14

ROOOOAR

MY 1996 LYNCH BAGES IS BETTER THAN YOUR 1995 GRAND PUY LACOSTE

RARGH THUMP

image


#15

As always, @Herbster, you use humour to say the most profound things! :+1::grinning:


#16

Exactly the same in our house. Virtually all the wine purchasing ‘decisions’ are mine, with some requests left on post-it notes from him indoors (OK, not really, he actually asks). I am also the only member of TWS in the house. But interesting question about membership by gender, and whether this is the reflected in the forum.
You look fab in a frock, by the way! :wink:


#17

This is such a good thread and something I’ve often thought about! I’ve really enjoyed everyone’s input so far, some good points have been made. Personally I think it’s not solely because The Community is a forum about wine and women(/self identifying as women) feel intimidated by the topic although it is likely a contributing factor; I think a huge reason is down to time and women not generally having the time in their day to spend on the Community. Obviously there is some generalisation here and I’m not saying it’s the hard and fast reason and “oh don’t we women have it hard” but I think there is no denying that as a society women still tend to not only be working professionally wise but also take the bulk of emotional labour within the family setting with traditional gender roles still being relatively rigid for a lot of the population and this has an impact on their “free time”. Hopefully this doesn’t come across too inflammatory, it’s always hard to put these things across in words but if anyone feels very differently I’m up for a good discussion! Thanks for starting the thread @Inbar! :grinning:


#18

Actually, @Catherine, you make a point that is sort of connected to something else I’ve been thinking about. Women and hobbies.
Why don’t we have hobbies? Why don’t we say “see you, other half - I shall be going away for a weekend to fish/write poetry/practice my pottery/Morris dance”? It is quite unusual still for a woman to disappear from view for a bit in pursuit of her own interests. I know very few women who do.
Wine has become my hobby over time, and as such, I dedicate a LOT of time to thinking, drinking, purchasing and boring others with it. Maybe I’m lucky to have a flexible working life that allows me to do so, and maybe what you’re pointing to is that women generally don’t, and as such - dedicating time to write on a forum such as this just isn’t practical or is not a priority?..


#19

Nail on the head there @Inbar!


#20

Are there figures out there for the gender split of the wider membership? Might be interesting to compare that to Community users and, in turn, to those with the Member badge and those with the Regular badge. Are there loads of women who just lurk here without posting, or do most take part on a regular basis … or are they not there in the first place…?

I like comparing numbers, is it a bloke thing…? :bar_chart: