Moms Don't Need Drinks
Since we launched earlier this year, we work to be intentional about focusing on how brands, particularly media, use alcohol-related messaging to appeal to women. Our thought is that large organizations need to be called-in to the discussions that are taking place about the changing landscape of women and alcohol. We believe that in 2018, huge publishers and brands don't need to continue to play into the "Wine Cures Everything!" memes/stories/jokes. Beyond that, we believe they need to take a critical look at just how much alcohol plays into their narrative. Does every shot really need to include a wine glass?
But we often get sent messages by small businesses and organizations that reflect an alcohol-themed narrative. Sometimes they are organizations that are doing otherwise good or even remarkable work, including non-profits. They truly might not realize the conversations that are taking place now, how associating alcohol with their work could be problematic or even contradictory to their mission (in particular, this includes health-related organizations, including non-profits and fitness/wellness enterprises.)
These are relatively new discussions, and many of us are trying to shepherd them while being kind and respectful to a diverse set of deeply held beliefs.
So we field messages from people who contact us and ask about how to have tough conversations with these organizations. Our recommendations usually involve drafting a letter outlining why an event, activity, or message is problematic, thus opening up a conversation.
Because ultimately our mission isn't just about surfacing wine memes -- it's about creating real awareness of the issues surrounding women, alcohol, marketing and media. It's about helping women find words to use their voices and say: I am not comfortable with this and/or this doesn't align with my values. Some of us are fighting of our lives. And our voices are getting louder. We are not withdrawing into the shadows.
Some things: This is not about abolishing alcohol. This is not about businesses that make their money off of alcohol. This is not about alcohol in context with food. This is not about shaming any person who does drink, including mothers. It's about the opposite of shame. It's standing in the light.
It is about an overwhelming landscape that says that drinking is the only way. Moreover, it's about the message that drinking is the only way to deal with life. It is not. And when we overlay the onslaught of these repetitive messages with the rising public health crisis around women and alcohol -- it's scary.
This morning we received a message from a woman who sent a note to a local doula organization that's holding an event called "Moms Need Drinks." We've blurred out the details because again, we want to be respectful of an organization that might truly not realize what a problematic message this is. Below her post are images promoting the event.
We should add that the woman who wrote this note is a newly sober mom.
She's said she'll keep us posted on their response. We're sharing here because this is how it's done. Conversation by conversation, with one person at a time seeing messages like this, recognizing them as being problematic, and engaging in the work. The work includes talking with businesses, big and small, and advocating for ourselves and women who feel something is wrong but aren't able to use their voices (yet).
We're working on creating template that you can use too. In the meantime, take a page from Luckiest Mama. Because this is not something we can do on our own.