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Looking at Femininity Through the Bottom of a Pint Glass: Women in the Always-Already Masculine Space of Craft Brewing
AdvisorFerguson, Jenanne K.
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This thesis investigates the enduring presence of gender inequality in the modern craft brewing industry through an analysis of linguistic practices on beer labels, in craft beer documentaries, and through ethnographic inquiry at craft beer spaces, including independent breweries and bottle shops. This project tracks the subtle presence of linguistic and discursive boundary markers that index the preeminence of masculinity as a prerequisite for belonging in the craft industry, while simultaneously subordinating women as accessories to male achievements across multiple sites and in varied contexts. Through textual and qualitative analysis alongside participant observation at several craft brewing environments, I contend that women working in this industry are confronted with narrow stereotypes that limit their potential to be authoritative leaders or experts in their craft. Faced with the classic “trap question,” women who work in the craft brewing industry have little ability to influence the future of craft beer as leaders because they are diminished and distracted by enduring inequality that undermines and frustrates their contributions. This thesis seeks to demonstrate the multiple mechanisms that women encounter while interacting in the craft brewing context to expose and weaken the hegemonic structures that prevail across these various sites.