Wine and Sexism and Me
The writer of this letter accusing me of exhibiting “toxic masculinity” and sexism did not want to expose herself to comments for reasons she states below. Her accusations are interesting but serve as a conversation starter rather than the conversation stopper she hoped to create.
Dear Mr. Wark:
I’m writing an email instead of posting a comment because I don’t want to be exposed to sexist comebacks and there is no need to embarrass you yet.
Your recent article on Michelle Korsmo’s appointment as executive director of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association outs you as a sexist mired in the kind of toxic masculinity that harms women and the cause of gender equality. Please take down the article and try not to write about women if you can help it.
Throughout the article you engage in “mansplaining”, as though Ms. Korsmo needs you to tell her about her industry. You are dismissive of her accomplishments and you are bullying. These are all classic symptoms of the kind of toxic masculinity that has been a constant part of our culture and society.
Criticism of women in executive positions is harmful and you know what it does: it discourages other women and is just another attempt to keep women below the glass ceiling your gender has worked so hard on forever.
Please take the post down, try to listen, try to learn.
The letter writer is talking about this post: New Enemy of Wine Consumers Appointed.
She’s got it wrong. But that’s not important.
What’s important is the question of the impact of sexism and even misogyny in the wine industry. There has been a bit written about women in the American wine industry and the impact of sexism on the careers of women in wine.
I personally can’t recall witnessing sexist acts in my nearly 30 years in the wine industry, but that might be for obvious reasons. On the other hand, 30 years is a long time and I’ve worked with and next to men who had every opportunity to display sexist attitudes. This observation, of course, is not good evidence for a lack of sexism. It’s only a personal anecdote.
One of the questions I have that I don’t know how to answer is this: what would be the evidence that sexism no longer is a significant deterrent to women succeeding and happily prospering in the wine industry?
Would it be a gender balance in the executive suite or in the cellar? Would it be equal pay for the same job? Both these things might be difficult to use as a proxy answer to the question I raise given that women remain far more likely to remove themselves from the workforce to care for young children than are men. Still, the question is important.
I won’t be taking down the post as the letter writer suggested.