Women and Drinking: Week of April 16
So much is happening in the discussion around women and alcohol, we can barely keep up. And, as a reminder, that "we" is just me, Erin. Hi.
Here's a roundup of notable things that happened this week. We'll start sending these out as newsletters soon -- stay tuned for that. As always, if you have a tip, please send it to us: firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on IG (@tellbetterstories2018) or Facebook.
In The Headlines
Has Boozy Mom Culture Gone Too Far (Chicago Tribune): “Mommy’s wine has become a pop culture trend, a marketer’s dream and a hashtag,” said Dr. Crystal Tennille Clark, a psychiatrist and assistant professor at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine who specializes in women’s health. “I do think we’re losing sight of what a problem (drinking) could be. Many people, whether they’re men or women, don’t appreciate the risks of drinking.”
Boozy Mum Culture Might Have Gone Too Far (Sydney Morning Herald): "From Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to movies and store shelves, a ubiquitous narrative has taken hold in popular culture: that it's acceptable, expected and funny for mums to use a glass – or more – of wine to make it through the day. Yet while many women share these images in jest and don't have a problem, addiction experts and those who have battled addiction themselves say the trend minimises the dangers of drinking to excess"
Alcohol can cause cancer. That’s the takeaway from Mother Jones senior reporter Stephanie Mencimer’s blockbuster piece that weaves together her own breast cancer diagnosis and the disturbing history of the alcohol industry downplaying the carcinogenic effects of drinking. For Bite podcast, host Kiera Butler caught up with Stephanie to talk about drinking during her teen years in Utah, how the liquor industry courts women, and why doctors still aren’t warning patients about the dangers of booze.
26 Tips If You're Trying To Drink Less For Whatever Reason, Buzzfeed (OK this was published April 13, but lots of conversation about this this week). "We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community for the best advice for people who want to quit or cut back on alcohol. Here's what they shared"
Studies Show Baby Boomers Are Drinking At An Alarming Rate (Chicago Tribune): Experts on alcohol abuse have found one demographic group that's drinking at an alarming rate. Not teenagers. Not college-age people. It's baby boomers.
Scandal is over, farewell Olivia Pope. There’s a piece on @vulture called “I Ate And Drank Like Olivia Pope For A Week And Didn’t Die.” It’s tongue and cheek and it’s fine. We know Olivia Pope was a fictional character. But what if someone really drank the way she did in the show? Because real life people do and it’s a problem. A significant public health issue actually, with binge drinking and alcohol related hospitalizations on the rise in women. We’re not going to miss the “What Would Olivia Pope Drink?” pieces and the Olivia Pope genes wine glasses, nor the message that drinking copious amounts of wine = “It’s Handled.” We’d like to see Shonda Rhimes (who is incredible) be at the forefront of a new narrative. One that shows characters who handle situations without guzzling wine. Farewell, Olivia. Take a La Croix for he road.
Super interesting presentation by Kara Sowels of Puppet Labs about the culture of alcohol in tech and at tech events AND about ways to make tech culture more inclusive for all of us (including non-drinkers.) The entire presentation is available via Google Docs, including many thought provoking questions and some excellent advice for folks hosting events. Also really great use of graphics.
What we wrote: "You usually have such great content. Why this (originally from @mytherapistsays). Memes about hiding booze aren’t funny, especially to the growing number of women who are struggling with alcohol. For content about intersectional feminism and self-care, a message like this hits the wrong note when juxtaposed on top of the reality and growing conversations surrounding women and alcohol. It’s not just about alcohol though, it’s about these messages that we send about having to escape from our lives. ✨We are not against drinking, but we do believe media and brands, particularly those geared toward women, should be smart and more thoughtful about their alcohol narratives. Intersectional feminism includes women who don’t drink for a variety of reasons. We are here too."
We're getting ready to launch an interview series here, starting with the woman who pioneered the discussion of women's relationship to alcohol, Ann Dowsett Johnston. Ann's work in this field including journalism, advocacy and education, paved the way for what's happening now in the many discussions around women and alcohol (and had a great, great impact on my work.) More soon.
Till then, remember: Tell Better Stories isn't about drinking itself -- it's about examining the messages we tell each other about alcohol.