From the "TASTE" Blog
By :REBECCA FLINT MARX
|The outfit I wore to the Friday "Pink Retreat" ladies Tea and luncheon.|
My Note: I have always seen "The Afternoon Tea" and "High Tea" as a feminine activity. Women and girls retiring to the parlor to have Tea and what we Americans call snacks. For my "Pink Retreat" last weekend, what could have been more fitting than a tea luncheon served in an elegant museum. So, is having Tea, my beverage of choice, a feminine activity. What do you think?
I also attended one other "Elegant Lunch at a Tea Room" a few years back. See that post from my Meetup Group lunch at The Hobe Sound Art Village Tea Room.
In the U.S., tea [as a beverage] has been coded as feminine for the better part of the last 150 years, despite the fact that in just about every other part of the world where it is consumed, it’s simply another beverage to be enjoyed by men and women alike.
|Pink Retreat - Gilded Age-style Tea |
Service in the Café des Beaux-Arts,
One theory behind the American gendering of tea lies in the early-20th-century proliferation of tea rooms, which were run by and largely for women, often sported doilies and pink decor, and served the kind of dainty, sugary foods that were likewise coded as feminine. Another theory points to the female-led temperance movement, which promoted coffee as an alternative to alcohol for working men, helping to brand it as masculine. Around the same time, during World War I, tea producers in India and Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka) pushed for contracts to have tea served in schools and factories in different parts of the world; they weren’t successful in doing so in the U.S., but the coffee industry was.
If coffee in the U.S. became known as a working man’s drink, complete with the manly nickname of joe, then tea continued to be commonly associated with tea parties, the English, and gossiping women, no matter its complexity or, for that matter, the comparative strength of its flavor or caffeine content.