CAMRA pulls ‘sexist’ student leafletBy Neal Baker
The Campaign for Real Ale – one of the UK’s most powerful beer industry lobbyists – has been accused of ‘beer sexism’ after a leaflet featuring corset-clad models was distributed around UK universities.
The leaflet – which was aimed at finding new recruits for the Young Members wing of CAMRA – has come under criticism from a number of student unions and student societies across the country who received its delivery over recent days.
It was intended to be handed out during Freshers’ Fairs from CAMRA-supporting student societies, but it has instead sparked an online petition demanding its circulation to be ceased and a “public apology” to be issued.
“The flyers show incredibly sexist pictures of vintage pin up models who wear low cut corsets, have open red lips and blond hair and who present their boobs and themselves to the viewer and the male beer drinkers in the flyer,” says petition organiser Franzi Florack on the change.org site.
She continues, “This is not just an offensive way to objectify women who join Real Ale societies but also an insult to the intelligence and taste of anyone has has fought hard to stop ‘beer sexism’.
“We believe that the Real Ale community should present itself as inclusive, non-threatening and friendly and that it should promote gender equality in ideology and visual images.”
CAMRA Young Members has been quick to distance itself from the leaflet, saying that it did not approve of the design and that they “are currently investigating.”
Clarification regarding the @CAMRA_Official publications that were recently distributed.We said no to these & are currently investigating
— CAMRA Young Members (@CAMRA_YM) October 13, 2014
However, a statement issued by CAMRA director of membership Keith Spencer to the drinks business points to the senior group being responsible.
He said, “CAMRA’s recent young membership campaign has been met with both positive and negative feedback since its launch a few weeks ago. However, as a number of people have informed us they find the imagery sexist and are offended by this campaign, CAMRA has decided to withdraw this material from circulation.
“The campaign was discussed with young marketing professionals within CAMRA’s Young Membership Marketing Group, which is made up of men and women, and they supported this creative. However, CAMRA takes all complaints very seriously and we would like to apologise for any offence this may have caused.”
This response has also been met with disapproval by petition signatories.
According to Florack, CAMRA have “deliberately ignored the opinions of young members and CAMRA’s response to complaint emails has been very poor.”
As such, they are now petitioning for “a public apology to the CAMRA Young Members board which acknowledges that these volunteers have been deliberately overlooked and a promise that this will not happen again in the future.”
There are also demands for “the setting up of a transparent complaints process which shows both CAMRA members and real ale enthusiasts that their concerns are taken seriously.”
The petition, which was set-up yesterday, has so far garnered 220 signatures.