Patriarchy in Gay Shiraz?

I’m an activist of sorts… I won’t elaborate because I don’t want to end up in jail. Well, I’ll elaborate a bit. I’ve marched in the Gay Pride long before it was Gay-Friendly Pride. On those marches we were literally spat at by certain of the soon to be previously disadvantaged masses. On one occasion a few bible toting parents arrived with their tiny tots and a megaphone, to politely explain to us why we were being frowned upon from above…. Actually, it was more about burning in hell and a lot of judgments backed up by misquoted Leviticus (yaaaawwwnnnn) BS. Sorry – but a lifetime of bigotry will make one grumpy. Long story short – the Megaphone Mouth assumed that the gay folk were vulnerable and passive and did not expect a group of gay skinheads to beat the crap out of them. I don’t support violence but, on that day, I was rooting for team skinheads.  I’ve been teargassed for being gay and there was the scary day when I was given 24 hours to vacate my flat as a student because my partner was not the correct shade of “I’m the boss of you” beige. So yes, there are signs of activist anarchist in me.

I’m also a bit of a feminist. I’ll stand up for women’s rights. If needed. I’m not sure if I’m needed now in the world of wine tasting, but I’ve noticed a strange new way of describing Shiraz that’s suddenly appeared on the scene. I mean suddenly! Analize and I have been regularly wine tasting for over a year now and I have never heard a Shiraz being described as a “Ladies” shiraz before. Suddenly I’ve heard it twice in one week. On both occasions I’ve been shocked and asked “what do you mean, ladies shiraz?”. They can’t explain what they mean. One person described it as having less “oomph”. Another said “ladies” like their wine to be less spicy, implying easy drinking I guess.

I can’t find the top of my head. It’s blown off with WTFness!! So… I suspect that some idiot in the industry has decided to market the more subtle Shiraz wines to women, with the selling point of it being not terribly challenging to the taste buds and not very complex, for us little ladies. At last! Thank goodness! A complex spicy wine that us women can finally enjoy, because it’s not complex and spicy. Where the fuck is the top of my head?? Ok… I’m calming down… trying to calm down.

I decided to research /Google if women and men experience taste differently, to see if this was scientifically based BS or just an idiot’s idea to sell more wine. Once I got past the google results about the taste of vagina… (I kid you not… You type in the words “men” and “women” and “taste” and google assumes you’re referring to vagina) I discovered some interesting views on this subject. (BTW – I know I’m being way more crass and “in your face” rude today but I will explain why later) Ok, where was I? Oh yes – so it turns out that women are better at tasting than men (food and wine that is), supposedly because they need to be, for the survival of the species… Something to do with poisonous berries and vrot food. There is some debate though that it’s because women are more able to focus on the task of tasting than men. Given time, men will catch up, apparently. Women are more likely to be supertasters than men, which could explain the assumption that women would prefer a more subtle shiraz, since supertasters avoid spicy foods.

I’m not buying it though – the “subtle shiraz for ladies” story. I’ve been told that I’m quite male in my makeup – not my actual makeup – I’m not a drag queen… but I admit I have many male characteristics. For instance – I get better looking the older I get (not) and I get a beer paunch in October. If I enjoy a shiraz, is it because of this? Probably not! Analize loves a complex, spicy shiraz, and she is definitely not a male. My mother, who is 78 years old and puts actual face makeup on every day, loves a complex, spicy shiraz. Also, not a male. So, I reject this notion that women are “weak” and lacking “oomph” as opposed to those strong, shiraz-tasting males of our society. Anyone located the top of my head yet?

I’m watching this shiraz space now. The next person who describes a shiraz as a “ladies shiraz” is going to have to explain the concept, outside of the context of our South African patriarchal society. Explain it to us please in wine speak – in a way that doesn’t insult me – a woman who enjoys complex and spicy, nuanced and intriguing wines.

And – the reason I’m rude and crude and in your face today is because this is what unapologetic women writers do and should do. Women traditionally censor their writing to appease others – instead of just writing all of their words. So, this is what I sound like when I’m hacked off! Did I say “hacked”? I meant f…..



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