Friday, 3 February 2017

A Different Version of Truth


Many of you will have read Mark Johnson's blog post on sexism and his "unfair" treatment at Manchester Beer and Cider Festival under the provocative title of "What Men Did Next".  The men in question being me and my good friend Graham Donning, Organisers of the said festival. In this hard hitting piece Mark explains how he was unfairly shut up when he wanted to ask the panel, which I chaired, that was discussing beery matters, for their views on sexism in the beer industry. It's a serious subject which Mark takes, well, very seriously.

"Two male organisers of the festival decided that the four male panellists didn't need to discuss sexism in beer."

The underlying, implied but unspoken charge being that in objecting to his intervention that Graham and I are a couple of old unreformed sexists. Well we are over 60, so we must be mustn't we? Oh and of course we had chosen an all male panel, so guilty as charged.  Except it wasn't quite like that, but a little background first.  A bit of a case for the defence. Graham and I first met around 35 years ago at a Trade Union Education Seminar at what was then UMIST in Manchester. We have been friends from that day to this. We were both active trade unionists of long standing and both Chairmen of our respective branches, him in Barrow and me in Liverpool. The 1980's were a bit of an interesting time for trade unions and in Liverpool in the febrile Derek Hatton days, a lot was going on.  Of course representing members isn't all strikes and picket lines. It involved the mundane and the important, side by side. One of the things we sometimes had to do in those much less enlightened and male dominated times, was to represent female members who had been discriminated against on grounds of gender in cases such as lack of promotion, unfair treatment when needing to look after children, wishing to work part time or job share and other such instances of gender based bias.

That was the responsibility and it comes with the job. When you head up anything, when you represent people, you put your head above the parapet and lead. It doesn't bring you much thanks on a broad level, but that isn't the point.  The point is that from a very early stage in my adult development I was immersed in an organisation that rightly breathed and taught at courses such as the one mentioned above, the fundamental importance of gender equality. In short Graham and I have been involved in gender equality since before our accuser was born. And actually, we can prove it.

"Two male organisers of the festival decided that the four male panellists didn't need to discuss sexism in beer."

Even during these days Graham and I were both involved in the Campaign for Real Ale and have been active in it ever since. We have been at the progressive end of the campaign for years and been responsible for many modernising changes. We have organised beer festivals galore and latterly - well for the last seven years large beer festivals such as the one in which Mark was stopped in his tracks. During that time we have tried hard to make the festival a forward looking one. We have tried to ban sexist materials and won't knowingly allow such stuff. We got rid of the T Shirt man and his dubious apparel, we have an active equality outlook and many of our bar managers and management team are women. We aren't perfect in an imperfect world, but we do what we can. We like to think that we get most things right given our background and we certainly always try.

"Two male organisers of the festival decided that the four male panellists didn't need to discuss sexism in beer."

Of course though, in the real world things don't always work out. Mark scoffs at an all male panel and implies sexism again. Not that simple I'm afraid. It is fiendishly difficult to get such a panel together in the first place. One tends to look to people that you know will fit the bill and while I know lots of people in the trade, I don't necessarily know lots of people who are suitable and willing. I had one female brewer in mind, but she is no longer in the trade and I did put out an appeal on Twitter with no takers. Of course I could have done more, but funnily enough there are a million and one other things to do in organising a large beer festival. But for the record, I did try.

"Two male organisers of the festival decided that the four male panellists didn't need to discuss sexism in beer."

So why did I not allow Mark to put his reasonable question "What does the panel think about sexism within the beer trade?"    (or similar). The simple answer is that he didn't say that or anything like that when chosen (by me) to speak.  At the beginning of the debate, following on from last year's experience of speechifying from the audience on their pet subjects, I made it clear that the audience should only ask the panel a question and that speeches from the floor instead of questions wouldn't be allowed. Instead Mark related an incident about a pump clip that his girlfriend had found offensive and extremely upsetting. As his story went on, I cut him off as he hadn't asked a question, just as I had done with two others earlier.  As I understand it, Graham's intervention from the side was complaining that Mark hadn't drawn the incident to any organiser's attention when it happened on the Wednesday when it could have been dealt with.  (Wouldn't that have been reasonable? Confront the sexism when you come across it rather than days later?)  Mark ran from the debate, shouting many things as he stormed off, telling Graham who offered to discuss the pump clip with him, to "Fuck Off (or similar)."  Other words were uttered too, but not all decipherable.

 "Two male organisers of the festival decided that the four male panellists didn't need to discuss sexism in beer."

By the way, if I had been trying to gag Mark, I 'd hardly have invited him to put a question. I've chaired thousands of meetings and know how to ignore those I don't want to hear from. So why didn't I give Mark a second chance? There wasn't a chance to do so as this all took a matter of a minute or so - and there he was - gone. (I have to say that Matt Curtis did indeed grab a mike to say that sexism was a very important subject worth discussing as indeed it is - though I should point out that contrary to what is alleged,  Matt knew exactly who was on the panel well beforehand and raised no objections to it. Indeed he praised it.)

"Two male organisers of the festival decided that the four male panellists didn't need to discuss sexism in beer."

I've chaired enough meetings to know that unless you want the meeting hi-jacked, you may well have to curtail those that want to exercise a hobby horse even if that hobby horse actually does need a trot out.  That's the Chair's responsibility to the audience. As mentioned before I did that with two others who wanted to give speeches. They didn't ask a question of the panel either, but they accepted being told it wasn't allowed. Throwing a strop and unfairly implying it is due to sexism when you don't get your own way is as distasteful as sexism itself. This wasn't an attempt to stifle debate, but simply a response to a member of the audience ignoring the conditions set by the person who chaired the debate. Losing self control, storming out shouting and swearing is rank bad behaviour and more importantly, it doesn't advance the cause.

This was all most unfortunate, depressing and unanticipated. I hope I have recalled it correctly as it was over in a flash. I will say however that when people with a long and proud record of representing other are branded sexists in public, there is a need to put the record straight. 

I thought long and hard about writing this, but given the circumstances, I felt I had to. There's plenty more I could add, but this'll do.

The pumpclip instance is a hard one to have got wrong.  The fact that it is approved by a female brewer shows just what a minefield this area is. No we didn't spot it - our bad - but we don't order from many breweries on distasteful pumpclip grounds and have told them so. As I said, we are not perfect and can no more control volunteer staff to the nth degree, than we can change human nature. But we do what we can, while still trying to organise a massive beer festival.
 
Point of Information: I also met my partner of 30 years at a Trade Union Meeting in Preston.   

49 comments:

Jon K (out of Stringers) said...

I'm sorry I missed it. Did nobody, then, attempt to ask, from the floor, what must have become the obvious question? The one that matey-boy didn't get around to asking?

RedNev said...

I've read Mark Johnson's hysteria-tinged and extremely repetitive post on the subject. If Mark's verbosity when speaking matches his writing style, you'd have had a long wait before being able to respond. Funnily enough, he didn't mention that he'd launched into a speech at a meeting where the rule was questions only. An oversight, do you think? Like you, I've seen Q&A sessions hijacked like that at union gatherings.

"The pumpclip instance is a hard one to have got wrong. The fact that it is approved by a female brewer shows just what a minefield this area is." Another example of the minefield is that my ex used to delight in ordering Slater's Top Totty by name - she thought it was funny, whereas other women find it offensive. Who's wrong? My ex or other women? Actually, none of them, but the fact that some women aren't bothered isn't a stamp of approval on behalf of all women. Best, then, to err on the side of caution and not order such beers, as you clearly tried to do. As I recall, Mark was dismissive of the explanation that the pump clip concerned had slipped 'under the radar'. All that shows is that he has no idea of the million and one tasks associated with organising a beer festival, especially one of that size.

It's a serious issue that isn't helped by people getting a petulant strop on when they don't get their own way. After all, it's not as though this Q&A session was the only way dissatisfaction could be voiced: choose from talking to the bar manager, completing feedback forms, and going to the door and ask to speak to an organiser.

Bearded Housewife said...

"isn't helped by people getting a petulant strop on"

Isn't it, though? Seems that a lot of good and necessary discussion has come out of this (although I'd term it an impassioned outburst, rather than a strop!) It's not what I'd have done, but that's probably to my shame, as it seems much more effective.

These days there seems to be a lot of people, in a lot of contexts, telling other people how, what and when to protest... I don't think that's particularly helpful.

Nick said...

Bless you, laddie, for posting this. I had wanted to reply to Mark's blog right after he posted it as my recollection was nothing like his, but he's turned off comments or summat. I tried.

My recollection from the sidelines (I showed up late, thinking the do started at 15.30, not 15.00...sorry...I WAS OUT SUPPORTING PUBS) was: Mark commented about how he didn't want to bring his girlfriend to a place with an offensive pumpclip; you requested that he pose a question; he asked something about sexism; Matt said you have to confront it wherever you see it; Graham interjected that yes, that one got in under the radar, but they took it off, was from a female brewer. And that as it.

I didn't hear or see Mark tell Graham to fuck off or call him a fucking prick or whatever. He was just gone.

My immediate thought, though a bit unfair, not knowing Mark or his partner...does she need him to protect her from racey pumpclips? Is that what feminism has led us to? Still the Man doing the dirty work?

I didn't realise that's how you two knew each other. Graham's good people.

RedNev said...

Bearded one: well done for pinching a phrase out of context and the mangling the meaning out of it.

I have been an activist in a lot of contexts since the mid-70s, and have a fairly good idea of what kind of protests might work, and what might not. In my comment, I went on to suggest - in the bit of my comment you chose not to reproduce - three ways of protesting at the beerex that, in the long run, may have been more effective than shouting and abuse. After all, what he was trying to do was get a response about the pump clip and, I assume, an assurance that such pump clips would not be tolerated in future. His strop did not achieve that - he was clearly still fuming days later - and therefore failed, which was my point. An observation about a fact, not an instruction.

Suggesting from experience that something might not work is not 'telling other people how, what and when to protest'. Why reinvent the wheel all the time?

Curmudgeon said...

When you consider some of the violence, discrimination and ill-treatment routinely meted out to women and girls, often under our very noses, getting worked up about a few sexist pumpclips does really seem like making a mountain out of a molehill.

Nick said...

In addition, I was startled to read Mark's report of him telling Graham off as he left. I hadn't noticed that. Why would that have been an appropriate response to Graham's admission that the offending pump clip got in under the radar anyway? Okay, not appropriate, as Mark said, he was fuming. (?) Fuming despite someone admitting fault?

Meh.

Alberto Vargas said...

I am absolutely incredulous at this whole debate. In fact it is comical. Pump clips are comical. They are puns. They are advertising tools. How old is this guy Johnson ? Is he actually living in the real world or is he in some secluded beer-world cocoon ? I have a message for him - LIGHTEN UP, and maybe go and watch a Carry-On film...

Sheffield Hatter said...

I've never read Mark Johnson's blog before, so when I saw the link in Tandleman's blog I made a point of reading it before I read what I assumed would be a defence against the charges laid. This is the way the defence went:

"Mark related an incident about a pump clip that his girlfriend had found offensive and extremely upsetting. As his story went on, I cut him off as he hadn't asked a question"

"I've chaired enough meetings to know that... you may well have to curtail those that want to exercise a hobby horse even if [it] does need a trot out."

"Mark Johnson's hysteria-tinged and extremely repetitive post .... If Mark's verbosity when speaking matches his writing style, you'd have had a long wait before being able to respond."

"It's a serious issue that isn't helped by people getting a petulant strop on when they don't get their own way."

"...does she need him to protect her from racey pumpclips? Is that what feminism has led us to? Still the Man doing the dirty work?"

"I have been an activist in a lot of contexts since the mid-70s, and have a fairly good idea of what kind of protests might work, and what might not. His strop did not achieve that... and therefore failed, which was my point. Suggesting from experience that something might not work is not 'telling other people how, what and when to protest'."

"...getting worked up about a few sexist pumpclips does really seem like making a mountain out of a molehill."

Still no one is prepared to discuss "sexism in beer culture as a whole": you'd all rather have a few digs at Mark Johnson from several different directions. No doubt each of the respondents felt that he (always he, someone might want to comment) was being genuine, helpful and in no way sexist, and after all, Mark was stroppy, fuming, speaking on behalf of his partner (presumably because, being a woman she was unable to speak up for herself... oh, wait a minute), and apparently all but hysterical (just 'hysteria-tinged', whatever that means, rather than full blown hysteria, which - in the absence of a womb - he's not technically qualified for).

Clearly Mark was upset by some things that had become apparent to him during his visit to the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival and was interrupted before he could get through the background to the point where he could ask his question; or did the chair "cut him off as he hadn't asked a question"? Sorry, I wasn't there and so don't know what happened, but I've now read an account from several viewpoints and no doubt people could have handled themselves a little better. (Had anyone been drinking alcohol, by any chance?)

I look forward to Tandleman's next blog. May I suggest it could be on the subject of sexism in beer?

Tandleman said...

It won't be.

As for people drinking alcohol well maybe though not in my case other than a couple of halves. In addition to this debate I had duties in organising the festival before and many more after it. I can't speak for the audience though.

And of course you overlook many other things that were explained as carefully as I could.

Your privilege.

Cooking Lager said...

Beer people are good people and I believe pub men like me and the Tand that have been fighting beer sexism all our adult lives can make common cause with the young crafties to eliminate beer sexism once and for all and ensure not one pump clip ever sexually objectifies a women.

This should be our gift to future generations and frankly they will not forgive us if we fail.

Nick said...

What would a blog post on sexism in beer be?

At any rate, my recollection is that Matt gave a very forthright answer to Mark's question, after he was directed to pose a question and not simply make a statement. What more could have been said?

I would imagine that the TAND would not have stopped any of the others on the panel from adding to Matt's answer. The fact that they didn't add in though....should we assume that they felt Matt covered it well enough? Or...should we suspect maybe they disagreed with Matt? What's more likely?



Anna Lancefield said...

I'd respectfully disagree. A pump clip that objectifies women just reinforces the wider message that women are not worthy of respect or equal treatment. Death by a thousand cuts, and all that.

Tandleman said...

I certainly agree with that. I say so in my blog.

Phil said...

Mark said that he was prevented from asking a question about sexism in beer culture, and that this shows that the MBCF don't take sexism in beer culture seriously, which is why he got very angry and walked out.

Our host says that Mark was cut off because he wasn't asking a question but making a rambling personal statement - something that could happen to anyone making a rambling personal statement on any topic - and that he responded by getting very angry and walking out.

Is that an awful pump clip? Yes. Should it have been allowed in? No. When you're running a staff of volunteers, organising material from hundreds of different contributors and getting a lot of hard physical work done against the clock, is it possible to be 100% sure that no offensive material will ever get in? No, of course it isn't. Do the organisers of the MBCF take sexism in beer culture seriously? Yes, of course they do. There's not much more to say than that.

To me it just looks as if Mark jumped to conclusions and got wound up unnecessarily - something he's been known to do before. (Fun fact: I couldn't remember where or when that post was from, but I found it by googling 'compurgator diddums'.)

Tandleman said...

I'd forgotten about that Phil.

Bearded Housewife said...

Please don't take my selectiveness as an attempt to attack, I broadly agree with your post but it's that bit I wanted to highlight as it objectively _has_ helped. I don't want to infer anything about Mark's objectives, or whether he achieved them, but just this discussion in itself is valuable. Plus, I rather thought the context was readily apparent scant pixels away.

"Suggesting from experience that something might not work is not 'telling other people how, what and when to protest'."
It literally is, though. You may be right, based on your experience you probably are right. As you point out, there may be more effective recourses... but doing something, anything, is infinitely more effective than doing nothing, which is what the majority of people would have done. Frankly, I think some righteous anger is appropriate, and I wouldn't want to see that dismissed, even if the actions arising from it aren't objectively the 'best' course.

And, to make a broader point... the current political situation may well lead to people being driven by anger to protest and take action for the first time. What will douse that fire quicker than anything, I think, is to be told by people (however experienced, well-intentioned, or even correct) that they shouldn't do it like that, they should do it like this.

Curmudgeon said...

This.

Phil said...

BH - I don't see how it's helped in the slightest. The people Mark was denouncing for being complicit with or oblivious to sexism in the beer industry never were complicit or oblivious in the first place. An actual discussion might have helped, but nobody (Mark included) seems to have wanted to have one.

Curmudgeon - that's a well-known rhetorical bind. If you protest against (trivial but local) A and ignore (serious but distant) B, your priorities are wrong. If you protest against B but not A, you're a weird obsessive who doesn't pay attention to what's going on around them. If you protest against local A and distant B, you're a humourless one-note social justice warrior. No way of winning that game.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

Funnily enough there's been a video doing the rounds this week of a reporter being ejected from a Donald Trump press conference with the usual right-on brigade claiming the Donald was attempting to curb free speech.
Actually he wasn't.
The reporter in question was simply haranguing Trump.
I suspect he's very much like this Mark eejit.
The simple fact is real ale is mostly a male domain and pubs in general tend to attract groups of fellers drinking together.
That doesn't excuse sexist behaviour in any shape or form.
But all the women I've ever known in the trade have been well able to handle a group of dirty old men or lads on the bantz.

Erlangernick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick said...

I still don't see what's so bad about *that* pump clip. It's not *sexist*, any more than Madonna parodying Marylin Monroe was. (Or was that sexist?)

Alberto Vargas said...

Quite right Nick ! Look on the cockpit side of a Lancaster Bomber (or indeed any military aircraft) and you will see the female form in all her finery. Is it "sexist" ? Is it fuck ! I wish society in general would stop being "insulted" at the slightest thing imaginable. Jesus H, I fear for the future....

rod said...

It seems to me that this guy needs to work on his anger management.
He says he was shaking with anger.

A drunken, rather pathetic old bloke says something pathetic and gives his (Mark Johnson's) partner a hug. She doesn't like it, but she says "Don't worry about it, he's just a horrible old man."
Not a nice incident, not something that any reasonable person could condone, but, you know, this *was* a beer festival and people do get a bit pissed. I don't know what he thinks the festival organisers could have done about this.

You'll say I'm making light of a real problem, but I'm not. Just saying that still being furious (shaking with anger) days after the event seems a bit much.

The pump clip in question would not have been funny or clever even back in the old days when these things were more common. Again, just a bit pathetic.
Best thing - just don't buy that brewery's beers.

Yvan said...

"But all the women I've ever known in the trade have been well able to handle a group of dirty old men or lads on the bantz."

Or, perhaps this is a key factor in why there are very few women doing anything other than short-term roles (bar staff) in the trade. For many it is simply unpleasant and discouraging to a degree they're unwilling to put up with.

Thankfully it seems the proportion appears to be on the rise - mainly amongst more modern thinking bars & breweries who are less inclined to put up with this sort of shit. (And note, no absolutes: I've known at least a couple of proper oldschool pubs that have limited patience for "this sort of shit" too... usually ones with women in charge mind.)

Beer is not, of course, the only industry to suffer similar. I'm from an IT background... plenty of problems there at all levels. In fact having been immersed in both there are many parallels (and across other sectors as well) - but at least the tech industry does have strong women in engineering, and similar, movements to foster a better appeal & improve the long term outcome. Just because things are bad elsewhere does not mean we should turn a blind eye to things we can address in our own back yard.



Right, anyway, Tandleman's side of this above sounds reasonable (and he's definitely seemed to be of the forces towards improvement in this realm in CAMRA). It sounds like there is a level of misunderstanding/miscommunication fuelled somewhat by emotion (been there, done that - all over a pumpclip too... but admittedly I don't regret it). On the flipside perhaps a bit of melodrama is ultimately a good thing if it forces a topic that needs to be discussed into the limelight.

All-male panels are unfortunate, but it is often a simple numbers game - it's easier to pick a panel of men in a male dominated industry. Thus I suggest some somewhat stronger positive discrimination should have been put into play... one for future consideration? Perhaps Mark can volunteer to lend a hand in this as it sounds like Peter did what he could given limited time. (And this covers any topic, a 50/50 male/female panel does not have to make it a discussion about sexism.)

In general sexism in beer should be on the agenda. "The industry" should be actively working on self-improvement in this (and that means all of us - be it bloggers, brewers, publicans, and others). And of bloody course we should all be against FGM, trafficking, rape culture, and other hideous things - but the fact that the world is a horribly fucked up place does not justify ignoring what problems we do have.

matt gorecki said...

What would be great would be for the MEN in this debate to grow up and realise that there is an opportunity to make some positive changes as regards Women in the industry. It's not about you, or the perception of you or your record until now. It's about how Women are perceived more widely in the beer industry and society and how that affects their ability to conduct their lives in the same way as men are able to do.

You, as honourable defenders of equality, have a platform that you can use to have a discussion about which male has slighted the other, who has stormed off in a huff, who has written a rant or who has offended the others sense of their own righteousness when it comes to equality. OR you could use that platform to help effect real change by stating your support of Women and pledging to do whatever you can to eliminate sexism and misogyny in whatever area you are able to.

The comments above show that your help is greatly needed.

Tandleman said...

Matt: "It's not about you, or the perception of you or your record until now."

Actually the blog post is exactly about that. While I agree entirely with your sentiments on women, with respect, I don't need to be told by you what to do and how to do it, or how to use my blog.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

@Yvan

"Or, perhaps this is a key factor in why there are very few women doing anything other than short-term roles (bar staff) in the trade. For many it is simply unpleasant and discouraging to a degree they're unwilling to put up with."

You and I must drink in different pubs.Landladies have been around since Lord knows when.Perhaps women don't want to go into the trade because they don't fancy the hours or prefer something different ? If they can't handle a bit of light-hearted banter then they're probably in the wrong trade anyway.

As a previous poster mentions some people really do need to lighten up a bit in this PC-crazy world and do a bit less virtue-signalling.

Yvan said...

@Professor-Misogynist Yeah, but you're clearly part of the problem when it comes to the issues in question so your stick-in-the-mud PC-gone-mad asshattery is to be expected. Going to wave about some misandry straw bears next?

I never said anything even approaching a statement that women have not been in the industry forever. If you want to try and refute something refute a point I actually made.

Your point about the hours is an imbecility - women are well represented in many professions that make pub hours look a walk in the park. (Care and nursing anyone?)


As for them perhaps not liking the environment nor wanting to put up with "banter"... this is the problem. You may condone sexism and rape culture, that's your own disgusting worldview. And is what I am against.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

@Yvan

Ah,liberal intolerance in full abusive sanctimonious flight.
Thank you for conforming to stereotype.It sounds like you and this Mark fellow would enjoy each other's company.

Yvan said...

Probably.

And you conform to your own stereotype - you are the topic of the debate in fact. Personified. People who rate some grim right to "bants", sexism, and having a laugh at the expense of others above the comfort, enjoyment, and peace of a vast swathe of the population.

And you tell me I'm intolerant.

Yes, though, I shall happily match you grain for grain in intolerance with every fibre of my being - for I choose not to tolerate sexism.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

@Yvan.

I think categorising the defence of some light-hearted banter as misogynistic ass-hattery that condones sexism and rape culture is a bit of a stretch even by the usual sandal-eating Guardianista standards.
You seem to have worked yourself up into a right old tizzy with no doubt a face like a
bulldog licking piss off a nettle so calm down love and have another glass of peppermint tea.
Then you can get yourself all worked up for another strop.

Anonymous said...

Good grief.

This thread has now dissolved to personal insults which means to me that it is not really about the subject matter anymore and that this argument could of been ended much earlier if both of you just agree to disagree.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

@Anonymous

Such was his haste to vent his spleen I think Yvan missed what I wrote.
" That doesn't excuse sexist behaviour in any shape or form. "

Tandleman said...

He did indeed. Let's have no more personal insults though.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

Apologies,guv.
It just gets my goat being told I'm a misogynist.
Mrs Professor Pie-Tin would be the first to administer retribution if there was the merest hint of that.

Yvan said...

I fail to be in a "tizzy". I'm mildly bemused by a welcome distraction from my paperwork, pallet wrapping, and van driving. Yes, perturbed by the subject matter of course (which is why I put my own view forward) - but in this forum and context it's hardly something to become enraged about.

And your condescension fails to be hilarious, just sad and worn, the usual attempted defensive off-point low blows of stereotype and lame humour. Albeit I presume your like-minded defenders of the offensive are in full ROFLMAO mode.

We do not, and will not, agree - so the discussion is pointless beyond presenting differing sides of an argument. Yours where condoning (at best silently encouraging) offensive, objectifying, and discomforting behaviour at the expense of many is OK - and mine where not condoning (speaking out against) the inhumane views of the few is OK. The debate is worthwhile, but you bring to the table mere pointless heckling - footwear, newspapers, and herbal tea?* Really? But I suppose this is how one defends the indefensible.

I did not miss "That doesn't excuse sexist behaviour in any shape or form." - and I was not even attacking you in my original comment. I merely used your comment to extend on the issue of women being under-represented in the beer trade and suggested some pro-active things we can all do to improve things, make the world a nice place for more people. You then tell me I need to "lighten up" and suggest that women perhaps don't like the hours (now that is sexist) and ought to simply be able to put up with the sexist shit they're given as a natural part of their job (yikes, you do hate women don't you). Then you insert the usual blather about "PC".

To claim you're not sexist rings hollow - you'd have to eat your own words first.

Anyway, I've likely worn out my welcome here now I reckon & I've said what I have to say on the subject. And you've added no value to the conversation.

* Steel caps or flip-flops, good for nowt but lighting fires, and coffee.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

Yes,I'm definitely sure now that you and Matt would get on like a house on fire.
Whether he would have the sense to point out the absurdity of bring female genital mutilation into a discussion about banter in pubs is another thing.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

And Matt's irate friend Mark.

Queenblag said...

Sorry Prof but you fail to sway me. As a member of the bar trade I take offence at the idea that I should idly allow a bit of banter or that we shouldn't all be feminists and humanists in all of our affairs; work or home. I also take umbrage at the idea that women dont 'like' the hours. Nobody likes working a 60 day week with hours between 7am & 2am but that is the case in pubs and has been for many centuries.
May I remind the gentleman that women started public houses as a means to make ends meet when their beer was good enough to sell. Women drew forth the nectar of Ra in the Eygptian temples many many centuries ago.

To turn to the question in point. Sexist pumpclips, sexist advertising (Bishop's Finger, Castle Rock, Nethergates all guilty to this day) are old hat; an antiquated hangover of a class of men who think smirking at a cartoon floozy in a short skirt is ok. It leads into the same mysogny as pinching a birds arse or telling a barmaid to 'smile love'. It leads into the same mysogny that allows 'lads' to say disgusting things about women, to objectify and debase women in public. That allows a culture of mysogny: allows us to ignore rape culture, sex trafficking & fgm. These comments say it's not important, PC brigade gone mad, dismiss feminists as 'hysterical' or had to much to drink.

The personal is political and I would strongly ask that you don't dismiss this incident as a spat and use it as a springboard to confront sexism and mysogny in our industry. Thank you kind sirs.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

To suggest light-hearted banter is a gateway to acceptance of rape,sex trafficking and female genital mutilation is simply ludicrous.
It's also extremely old-fashioned and rather sanctimonious to suggest that women are not able to cope with a raucous crowd.
I've got some news for you - that crowd is often women themselves.
In my experience - certainly of the type of pub I would drink in - sexism rarely raises its head and when it does it's either self-policed by fellow drinkers or by the female bar worker herself.
The idea that leering,boozy lechers are laying siege to the nation's winsome barmaids like marauding Vikings is the product of over-excited inhabitants of the moral high ground.
I blame Jeremy Corbyn !

Queenblag said...

yes of course, how could a few comments be anything more than bantz. Surely not... I'm sure you would never think that reducing a woman to a sexual object would leave her feeling worth less in society or give men with much lower moral standards the inclination that their opinion is valid... but it does.

I am not saying barmaids are being violently assaulted across the land. However they are being bombarded with images and language which makes them feel less worthy and less safe. I thought that's what these blogs were about?

I am not humourless bra burner, I just believe we can all have a good time with out all this nonsense. We'll have to disagree I fear.

Bobthebuilder said...

Unfortunately a very serious subject has been done no favours by the antics of the individual concerned. The fact that I believe in his cause cannot help me wonder about his behaviour. He has form for going off at the deep end over issues not related to this one, so I think it's fair to take this in context. He clearly has anger management problems and his ranting borders on the paranoid. I would hope he gets help with these problems before letting lose with any further accusations.

Cooking Lager said...

Doesn't look like you one it this, TANDY

https://twitter.com/MarkNJohnson/status/828588463624708097

Tandleman said...

Passing resemblance only Dear Boy. You have to despair overall though. Think I'll likely draw a line under this one soon.

Much of it just makes you shake your head with sadness. Particularly when some people who say they espouse the cause of women's rights, mix up sexism, equality and misogyny as if they are exactly the same.

This is a complex world wide problem which won't be solved here. Not even the beery part, though hopefully the airing of it might help a bit in awareness if nothing else.

kevin webster said...

The main thing we can take from all this is that Mark Johnson can't write.

Mrs Mayking said...

To me this reads like the lad's desperately insecure in his relationship. On his blog he's written about the supposed hardships of dating a member of staff in a pub he drinks in, and essentially it seems to boil down to him being a jealous sort. What lies at the heart of all this is his massive insecurity. He's worried he's going to get the heave-ho. And after all this he's made it more likely, even if she pretends to be happy about the song and dance he's made she must be cringing inside.

Poor kid. Some people just aren't cut out for life. I think he's best left to his own devices from here. He's been pilloried enough.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

As a teenager many decades ago I popped my cherry with a trainee teacher working as a barmaid in a Tetley's pub in Yorkshire and have had a number of relationships with bar staff over the years.
The most memorable was a lively girl of gypsy extraction called Melitta who also spent part of the year as a topless dancer at the Moulin Rouge in Paris.
What are the supposed hardships ? You have a good excuse to spend hours in a pub AND you get your end away at closing time.Result !

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