Globalisation, Guinness and the Production of Irishness
Chapter 5. Interpellating Genders: Gendered Places, Pub Spaces
Have you ever walked into a room and realised that your very presence was violating some unwritten taboo? That, for instance, you were the wrong gender in the wrong place?
Ten years ago I walked into a rural pub and an unnerving silence descended. All my senses told me something was wrong. Part of me wanted to run out, but another held on in defiance as I realised my error. In the pub’s porch there were two doors; one leading to the lounge and the other to the bar; and I was standing in the bar, with its unwritten Men ONLY rule in full force.
The bar was full of men—at the counter drinking, reading the racing page, playing darts or generally chatting. The decoration was minimal, the floors uncarpeted and the seating wooden.
I ordered a drink and moved into the lounge as quickly as possible. Once I left the bar and travelled the six paces to the lounge, I could hear the chat resume in the bar. Sitting in the lounge, which had fitted carpet, fake leather upholstered seats, and featured a fireplace, ornaments, pictures and a vase of plastic flowers, all were appeased. I was now ‘in the right place’. Indeed, without anyone having said a word to me, I had been put in my place.
Guinness is a gendered artefact. Its resonance is masculine. The advertising texts speak almost exclusively to heterosexual men and use a grammar...
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