A tour through the feminist history of women drinking, revealing the untold female distillers, drinkers, and brewers that played vital roles in potent potable history, from ancient Sumerian beer goddess Ninkasi to 1920s bartender Ada Coleman.
O’Meara shows more or less equal enthusiasm for girlbosses and for the proletarian and peasant women who made and sold drink ... Girly Drinks doesn’t dwell on the fact that the people who successfully campaigned to impose – and then overturn – temperance on the population of the United States were women. In her zeal to undo the erasure of feminine boozing and establish the female character of alcohol production, distribution and – ‘most importantly’ – consumption, O’Meara overcorrects ... She falls into the trap of subscribing to some of the patriarchal ideas she exposes, notably that women and alcohol, in and of themselves, spell feminist subversion. ‘Drinking women are a challenge to a patriarchal society,’ she announces. Are we? ... What begins as a study of the political economy of patriarchal enclosure, traced through the control and consumption of alcohol, becomes a succession of biographies of beverage capitalists who happen to have been female ... It’s actually easier to see the depressive, often isolated, boozing of the archetypal 1950s housewife as ‘a challenge to patriarchal society’ by virtue of its refusal of toxic positivity ... Women from the Islamic world don’t make it into Girly Drinks. I would have been interested to hear about Muslim analogues of the stories O’Meara tells about European and East Asian antiquity ... Perhaps narratives of extinction were thought incompatible with the upbeat tone required of a pop history. She nervously inserts girlpower stylings and winecracks into every third paragraph.
In this enlightening and entertaining survey of women and alcohol, feminist and very funny author O’Meara takes readers on a dipsomaniacal journey through numerous cultures ... O’Meara deftly blends in equal measures of social history, gossip, and solid research, and adds enjoyable footnotes. The final take-away is that despite male interference, ranging from sanctimonious condemnation of women who drink in public to harsh punishments...women have discovered, invented, advanced, championed, and celebrated alcohol.
When it comes to whiskey, there are some noteworthy women throughout history covered in the pages of Girly Drinks — and at least one glaring omission. Maria The Jewess is credited with inventing the alembic still in 200 CE ... O’Meara does a thorough and authoritative job of exposing history that has often been overlooked. She also expertly challenges notions of female drinking ... Overall, this is a book that should be on any beverage alcohol enthusiast’s shelf. If you’ve only heard the stories of the brave frontiersmen who created your favorite beverage and nurtured it through thick and thin, you are only getting part of the story. will challenge that misperception right out of existence.