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How is alcohol a feminist issue? And maybe the most rebellious thing you can do is not drink!

Jul 19, 2020

A lot of alcohol culture in the modern-day, Western world goes largely unquestioned. Our parents might have had a glass of wine with dinner or a beer after work, so we had a glass of wine with dinner or a beer after work. We see things like "Mommy's Sippy Cup" on wine glasses and think these kinds of jokes are completely normal. We don't question the habits, routines and rituals of alcohol culture because they are the norm.

Nowadays, it is completely normal for women in North America (where I'm from) and other parts of the world to drink equally as often as men. Excessive drinking is also the norm. A century ago, this was not the case. It was considered un-lady-like for women to drink and smoke. When the women's liberation was occurring, cigarette companies began to cash-in on the women's liberation by targeting women and associating smoking with the women's liberation movement. Here's the most commonly referenced or remembered ad campaign that capitalized on this: Virginia Slim's "You've Come a Long Way, Baby".

This strategy was quickly adopted by alcohol companies. Here's an Ad I found when doing a quick google search that clearly associates the feminist movement with alcohol consumption:

Marketing has clearly targeted women over the years and created an association, whether we're conscious of it or not, between feminism & alcohol. The cigarette targeting has gone away, but the alcohol targeting and association persists. Just in 2018, Johnnie Walker introduced "Jane Walker"- which according to their website, was done "to celebrate the many achievements of women, those who support them and the shared journey towards equality." They're literally trying to encourage women to become whisky drinkers by associating their drink with feminism and liberation.

There's also a culture that's been normalized of excessively drinking, especially towards women with children. Products like "Mommy's Sippy Cup" wine glasses or ladies night promotions target women in particular. I found hundreds of wine glasses like this on google:

But friends, we're smarter than this! Once you're aware of how the industry has capitalized off of feminist movements, it's hard to ignore. The idea that you need alcohol to be a "liberated woman" isn't real. It's made up.

We're led to believe that as women, the most rebellious thing we can do is drink. Perhaps instead, the most rebellious thing we can do, is go sober?!?

If you're interested in reading more about alcohol & sobriety being a feminist issue, I highly recommend the book "Quit Like a Woman" by Holly Whittaker. She goes into awesome detail on the role alcohol plays in all of our lives, but the lives of women in particular.

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