When I saw a screenshot of Melvin Brewing’s “Touch Us” page, which heads with “SHOW US ON THE DOLL WHERE MELVIN BREWING TOUCHED YOU,” I was confused: A child molestation joke? What the hell? Then, I read about the admitted sexual assault perpetrated by one of their Wyoming based employees towards a female server in the Menace Brewing Taproom in Bellingham. Finally, I read their eye-roll-inducing apology in response to the (deserved) hurricane of backlash by the community.
The first thing I thought was, “How did I not see it before?” The “Touch Us” page had been there for quite some time. Why is this coming to a head now? Because chauvinism exists in the world and sometimes we don’t even see it. I’ve become so used to it—it is so engrained in my life—that I’ve been socialized to accept it, to brush it off, to chalk it up as just another poor choice by a man.
The second thing I thought was, “I’m done brushing it off.”
Melvin Brewing consciously had “Touch Us” on their website after one of their employees went into an establishment and sexually abused someone. Melvin Brewing consciously kept the “Touch Us” page on their website as the #MeToo campaign caught momentum and people everywhere were opening up about their sexual assault stories. Melvin Brewing consciously kept “Touch us” on their website because its what they stand for. The joke was still funny to them even as people were screaming for help.
Though, apparently, they don’t stand for it anymore.
Previously, on their Facebook page, Melvin posted, “Many of our employees at the breweries and in upper-management are women.” Does this excuse the behavior because you don’t just hire men? When my Aunt’s racist friend insists, “she has a black friend,” it makes me think she’s even more racist.
Listen, I’m not usually one to write someone off. Everyone can mess up, people aren’t perfect and they make mistakes. What really upsets me is unawareness and lack of responsibility. We’ve seen other examples of this behavior happening, very recently, in the craft beer community (demeaning and objectifying labels, innuendos, sexual harassment, etc.) and beyond (Hollywood, politics, schools, churches, and more). Even if you were a misogynistic scumbug, wouldn’t you want to be on your best behavior? Isn’t this the time to re-evaluate, reflect, and ask yourself, “Are we helping?”
But I guess if you already have a binder full of women as employees, you’re good to go.
Melvin’s walking around with their fingers in the ears, humming their own tune, oblivious to the systematic sexism that infiltrates our everyday lives. It’s not their problem. It’s someone else’s.
In this craft beer world—and the world at large—it’s a struggle to be a woman. It’s a struggle to maintain integrity and still try and move onward and upward. It’s a struggle to be undermined and belittled. The cards are stacked against us women.
We need progressive breweries that are willing to reach out a helping hand to women and not feel up them up.
And then joke about it afterwards.
"Chill out, its just locker room talk.”