By Tas Fraser
A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through Twitter when I stumbled across a surprising post. A male cider reviewer from the UK had posted a photo collage, which would later change the cider world as we know it.
The collage contained a photo of myself, as well as four other established cider women. The caption read: “Girls promoting cider on Instagram be like …” with photos of us in swim wear. The photos were taken from our Instagram pages without our consent, and posted in this disrespectful way, as a supposed “joke” to his thousands-strong audience. The post suggested that we, as women, have gained our success and capture attention by using our bodies instead of our passion, dedication and hard work.
I always hope to be able to educate others, and give them a chance for a proper apology. However, a proper apology includes three parts: “I am sorry,” “this is my fault” and “what can I do to get it right.” The apology we received was tainted with further disrespect, and the classic misogynistic response: “it was just a joke”. Out of this, the #noappleogies project was born.
I know, through my own personal experience as a woman in everyday life, I have faced barriers, harassment, sexism and more. I just never thought it would also exist in a world I loved, a world I used as an escape. Through conversations with many other women in the drink industry, I found sexism was alive and well but not spoken about. The #noappleogies project is meant to create awareness of the issue, promote education, incite change and empower female identifying individuals. I figured, of course, one could react in anger and they have every right to do so.
This stunt was violating and disappointing. However, while I did have those feelings like all of my female cider friends, I wanted to flip the situation in a positive way, to make a change and push forward. As they say, diamonds are created under pressure. This is exactly what we did.
What is #noappleogies?
No Appleogies exists to help those in the drink community recognize, and combat, sexism and misogyny. The project has numerous components, however, the first is to empower and promote awareness. I connected with many women in the scene and asked them to post a photo of themselves on Instagram (using the hashtag) in any way they feel comfortable and have the following in the caption: Why is the cider/drink world important to you? What needs to change and what would you like to see change? Two facts about themselves and then a shoutout to another woman in the industry. This post has allowed women to be creative, tell their stories and speak out about why it is important to have a safer environment for everyone. There has been so much support for the movement across platforms and from men, women and non-binary individuals.
Voices of the women
While you may see myself in many images of the project, I am but one person with our own set of experiences, and I am a face to many voices. We will all rise together, and so with that I will be sharing some of their stories. I have included some passages from women in the drink world (thank you to everyone you’re all amazing), with consent, from some of the posts on Instagram supporting #noappleogies.
“What it comes down to is that when I post I have the power. I get to choose the message that I convey. This folks is called EMPOWERMENT. When someone else takes that content and alters it for their message, that is, at best, OBJECTIFICATION and in some instances SEXUALIZATION. Can my posts be sexy? Yes. Do I want to grab your attention? Yes. But my content is for the message. My message has and always will be THAT CIDER IS FOR EVERYONE”
– Ava @pnwcidergirl
“Despite obstacles we face, we still persevere. I hope both industries do more than just say they’re inclusive but actually ACT upon it and LEAD by example for others who are still learning acceptance. I’m not going to apologize for enjoying a cider on the beach, and I am more than just a woman in a swimsuit. I’m heavily involved in both industries as a gluten-free brewer, cidermaker, public speaker, educator and influencer … I am also an adventure seeker, a hobbyist, and a mental health advocate.”
– Michelle @thebrewbabe
“The sexist assumptions that we bare our bodies because that’s the only way we, as females, can bring attention to something. A man can post a photo in a swimsuit holding a beverage and receive no criticism, so we as females, doing the same thing should not be a target to blatant and misinformed bullying. Misogyny may exist, but should not and will not be tolerated by the community we call our own.”
– Lauren @laurinwanderland
“Being a women in any industry is tough, but the demeaning, sexualizing and outright aggressive nature I have been (and seen others be) treated with since working in hospitality by both peers and patrons has been something else and is the reason I have no desire to return to a managerial position unless things drastically change. Enough is enough.”
– Rachel @ratchellle
“It is important to change the good ol’ boy misogyny in the adult beverage industry because it continually puts women’s safety at risk only to be brushed off as, ‘that is how guys are so it’s OK.’ It is not OK to disrespect, sexually harass, sexually abuse or discriminate a person you identify as a woman for any reason.”
– Dani @americanwomaninbeer
“I’m so happy and proud to see how far women have come into this industry and at this point there’s just no room for outdated incelish behaviour. We’ve outgrown it, and we’re not going to just ignore it to take the higher road. The higher road has been bulldozed and we’re taking you to task.”
– Emma @beercelo
Need for change
Of course, the movement was met with some resistance and misunderstanding, which is the exact reason that movements like this must exist and persist. The issues were particularly centred around the “types” of photos women were posting. For example, some of us wore less clothing than others and were met with the response that we were sexualizing ourselves. To speak to this, the “difference between empowerment and objectification is in who has the power” (Dr. Stefanie Cohen, 2020). If women choose to present themselves in whichever way they do, enjoying a drink, then it is their right to do so. We should not have to apologize or defend ourselves if someone chooses to sexualize us. We all have bodies, we are all human.
An active part of the problem is not looking deeper into the message of something. I know personally, my original Instagram photo had a shock value as it was not something I have ever posted. However, this also speaks volumes as I feared the response I would receive. I received comments that I was making a display of how I dressed, I put so much effort into being noticed and that I am attention seeking. These comments were from cidermakers, cidery owners and those who claim to be part of the community. I was being not only criticized for how I promoted cider, but how I choose to feel empowered.
This is why this project is important, and change must occur. I was told once during this time that this has nothing to do with cider. However, the most important thing about cider is that cider is nothing without the people. If we want a cider community, we need to start acting like one. This means that as women, we should not have to continue to defend ourselves, but those perpetuating the issue need to reflect upon themselves and their behaviours. It means that those staying silent when they see sexism happening need to speak up.
Cider will always be about the people behind it, and it should continue to be a place where strong women can celebrate their accomplishments with no “appleogies” for who they are.
What has been done so far
• There have been 140+ posts in support of the movement, many more stories, comments and interactions on Instagram
• There have been hundreds of interactions over Twitter and Facebook across the UK, Canada, U.S., NZ and Australia
• We have translated copies of information to Spanish for the drink community in Spain and will also translated to French and other languages as needed.
Interviews with numerous blogs + podcasts including: Neutral Cider Hotel, and MALT
• Guest speech at Manchester Cider Club monthly meeting
• Stage 2 of the project is in the works, being revealed in the next couple weeks!
How to get involved
• Send me a message on Instagram @girlwithaciderreview
• Have a look at my recent instagram posts for more information and explore the hashtag
• Those who identify as female are encouraged to participate!
• We also welcome support from others who understand the message and will stand with us
Editor’s note: Tas Fraser is the cider contributor for Wines In Niagara and we support her campaign to create awareness and education of the harassment and sexism women face in the drinks industry. Go here to read Tas Fraser’s bio.