The Sickening Sweetness Of "Girl" Drinks

It's an excellent question: what's the deal with "girly"-marketed drinks...and why are they all so sickly-sweet?

Writes food writer Lauren Shockey in the Atlantic,

I am aware that many women don't like the taste of hard liquor, and many women want to lose weight. But not all women. And certainly not me. In truth, my issues with GIRL and Skinnygirl aren't related to how they taste (though I have my doubts about them) but rather how they employ pointed, demeaning gender assumptions for marketing purposes. If we're going to have gender-based marketing in the food and beverage sector, let's try and be a little more transparent. You're not selling feminine hygiene products; you're selling booze. We don't need the perpetuation of stereotypes by packaging alcohol in bright pink bottles emblazoned with "GIRL" or bottles depicting a "skinnygirl": a large-breasted, tiny-waisted cartoon female, cocktail shaker in hand. Instead, give me some respect, and then maybe I'll buy your product.

We're with Shockey on this one: there will always be a market for insipid drinks, largely (as the author points out) geared towards young people who don't actually like the taste of alcohol) but the pink-hued, watermelon-flavored Barbiedrinks are indeed a perpetuation of stereotypes and easy generalizations. That many women probably buy these, going on the supposition that they're somehow geared to their tastes or aesthetics, means they're probably not going anywhere: at a recent party, I saw women lining up to request "skinny margaritas" from a perplexed bartender with an air of girlish daring that no white wine spritzer could possibly have induced. (By the way, it tasted awful; like bad diet food, it seemed infinitely preferable to just drink less of the real thing.)

By the same token, though, I would like to take this opportunity to defend the drinking of so-called "girly drinks." By this I emphatically do not mean the pink-hued marketing brainwaves to which Shockey refers and which give anyone not throwing back straight lowballs a bad name. Rather: sometimes I want a bourbon. And other times I want a white-wine spritzer. Or even a cranberry juice. Maybe even a Cosmo. (Okay, usually not, but the nail salon gives them out for free — which, well, yes.) Just the way, sometimes, I do indeed want to order a salad. And I am sick of having to defend these choices, because I am not less of a woman for it. Just as we're all "Real women" whatever our size, we're all real women whatever our drink. And I do mean "woman" — "girls," contrary to what marketing would have you believe, are under the legal drinking age in America.

What A Girl Wants (It's Not Lychee-Flavored) [Atlantic]