November 9, 2018

Food for Thought

You can take any random object around you; if you analyze it carefully enough, you realize every aspect of it has gender connotations. That is how fundamental gender is to how we organize the world around us.

Cocktails are particularly interesting. According to one article I read, color, name, glassware, sweetness, bitterness, bubbliness, and alcohol strength can all influence which gender is more likely to order any given cocktail. I would imagine that garnish on top (like the flower in the cocktail pictured above) would also make a big difference.

These days, progressive people refuse to be defined by their genders and, whenever possible, make gender-neutral choices. Some even use gender-neutral pronouns. Progressive parents give gender-neutral toys and clothes to kids. Corporations try their best to make their work environment as gender-neutral as possible. Bars, for the most part, are excused from this pressure to be gender-neutral because their primary function is to provide an environment where we perform our gendered roles.

Ultimately, the problem isn’t that our world is gendered but that we feel pressured to consistently perform our gendered roles. To be more precise, the problem is the expectation of consistency. In any particular moment, if I feel feminine, I should feel comfortable ordering a sweet, pink cocktail in a slim glassware with a cherry. Even if you always make gender-neutral choices, you are still defining yourself by gender.

f our goal is to avoid being defined by gender, we actually need MORE gendered choices, not less. The key is inconsistency and fluidity. We need to be more attuned to our masculine and feminine sides within ourselves and be able to express them freely, inconsistently, and fluidly. This is hard to achieve, especially in Western societies where identities are assumed to be consistent. Who we are is not supposed to change based on the spatiotemporal context. This is why, I believe, our society has chosen the path of gender-neutrality instead of gender-fluidity. Because we can’t handle a man coming to work wearing a skirt today and a suit tomorrow.

#cocktail #bar #genderfluid #genderpolitics #identity #nycfoodie