Skip to content and the beer-glass ceiling

I apparently had a thread plonked on, a website for homebrewers.

The previous day, a member had encouraged me to pony up for premium or lifetime membership (respectively, $25 a year or $100 for life). I understand websites need resources to survive, but I’m a careful shopper, so I checked the FAQ to see what the two fee memberships offered.

One of the perks is access to “Brew Babes.” Hmmm, I thought. So I asked:

I see “Brew Babes” listed as a perk for Premium/Lifetime membership, but in searching HBT, the FAQ, etc. I can’t find a clear description of “Brew Babes.”

A member responded,

And you won’t unless you pony up for a membership either, some things we just don’t talk about on this side of the wall….But I bet you can guess…

To which I responded,

That’s what I was afraid of… so in other words my $100 would be better spent on a donation to the National Organization for Women. It’s not my call how this forum is run but as a consumer I have no interest in subsidizing that stuff — or having friends/colleagues seeing me identified with it, either.

I’m not at all a prude, and it’s the site’s business decision to scope its services to its target market, but now the thread about how few women are on this forum makes a lot more sense. Call it the beer-glass

Followed by other comments in the manner of,

It’s just pictures of beer drinking babies fighting in a club. Nothing to get excited about.

kgs there are many other perks available to premium supporters. brewbabes is just a bonus that guys(and some ladies) really enjoy. I find less advertising and the private forums to be the real value.

To which I responded:

Whatever, and nothing I’m paying for, either. /me sighs

I went out, shopped, came home… and the thread was gone. No note to me, just whooosh! No longer there; tracing my own post history, it is no longer listed.

Entirely their prerogative, of course. It’s a private website, so on and so forth.

I am sure they are thinking “humorless bitch.” You know, the broad who’s no fun (and there are always women who are only too happy to go along with the “fun”).

Fine, whatever. But more and more I’m voting with my pocketbook. No, I will not shop at WalMart, I will not eat at Chick-fil-A (which has been known to harass gay employees), I am eating almost no factory-farmed meat, and I’m not underwriting sexist trash.  But this incident has completely emptied the fun out of participating on that website, and that’s too bad — though it’s a good reminder that private forums are just that: privately owned, whimsically managed.

(Librarianesque observation: thank goodness for books!)

The site comments, “Becoming a moderator for a specific forum is usually rewarded to users who are particularly helpful and knowledgeable in the subject of the forum they are moderating.” If they ever want someone to represent sensitivity to diverse groups, they know where they can find me.

Meanwhile, I’ve met other brewing librarians, and I keep running into other local homebrewers, and I’ll meet more.  It’s a growing craft and a nice skill to have, and there are many nice homebrewers, including at my local home brew store, Home Brew Den, where today at my request they carefully measured out a half-recipe of Plutonian Porter.

Today I’m going to write for six hours, so I will have to save the story of wrassling with nearly fifty pounds of flat beer, aka “How I Bottled My First Batch,” which also explains in part why I’m moving to half-batches. (Short version: I won, and it was fun, but we’re in a small house!)

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