'Jane' Walker Means That Women Can ~Finally~ Have Scotch Too, So Sexism Is Over?

While it’s only February, activists have already made many monumental strides for gender equality this year. From the Time’s Up movement to innovative ways to push for equal pay, 2017 has been a collaborative (and necessary) year for feminism. Beyond these productive causes, Diageo seemed to have missed the mark on what women really want and need. To advocate for women’s rights, Diageo Plc replaced their famous Johnnie Walker logo with a new scotch model: Jane Walker.

According to CNN, the Jane Walker bottles will hit the shelves in March, conveniently in time to celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. Adding to the list of women representatives and models that nobody really asked for, Bloomberg explains that Diageo revised its label to entice more woman to drink scotch—because apparently women never drank their scotch when the "intimidating" Johnnie was on the label?

Vice President of Johnnie Walker, Stephanie Jacoby, tells Bloomberg, “Scotch as a category is seen as particularly intimidating by women. It’s a really exciting opportunity to invite women into the brand.” 

(We women are just so thankful that Diageo reassured us that scotch isn’t a scary drink, after all! Heaven forbid our lady brains get a hit of the testosterone added to the notorious manly beverage in its OG form.)

While Diageo representatives might think there’s a disparity between men and women scotch-drinkers, women have been drinking scotch well before Jane Walker made her depute. Aside from the condescending way scotch is characterized as an "intimidating, manly drink"-grr, it’s mildly insulting to insinuate that a motif of a woman will influence more women to buy scotch.

FoodBev Media reports that Diageo will donate $1 for every ($34) bottle of Jane Walker to women’s causes organizations, it’s still implying that women intimidated to drink scotch is just as problematic as the system that Diageo is trying to dismantle.

Regardless, Diageo’s press release about Jane Walker is correct; Jane does contribute to the gender equality movement. The limited time scotch gal adds to another haphazard attempt to “help” the women’s rights movement to remind women that the majority of brands aren't really in it for the gender equality cause. Apparently, Diageo learned nothing from KFC’s newest Colonel Sanders or Doritos’ attempt to make chip-eating more equal (but less loud) or the backlash that followed these PR headaches. 

But, on the bright side: Despite this lackluster PR move, Diageo does actually pioneer for gender equality within (and beyond) their company. Diageo’s Plan W program strives to strengthen education programs for women in 17 countries. Plus, Diageo was the first alcoholic beverage company to implement the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, which advocates for diversity in their organization and has been vocal about their mission to encourage pay parity.

That's all the more disappointing, though, to see some genuine good work wrapped in some weird unnecessarily-gendered packaging.