We Talk About Women and Alcohol as If Alcoholism is a Personality Trait

Published on August 24, 2020

If you’ve spent any time on Instagram lately, you’ve probably seen at least a few memes about how it’s always margarita time or wine glasses are meant to be filled to the brim. You may have even gotten a few targeted ads for silly products featuring “funny” slogans about the healing powers of vodka. I know I have. These types of memes and ads are always fairly obviously geared towards women. It raises questions about how we talk about women and alcohol, and how we market alcohol to women.

We, as a society, present alcohol as a fun and quirky personality trait for women to use. Alcohol consumption is charming and cute. It’s a completely normal part of day to day life if we believe the zeitgeist.

Marketing Gets Us, Again.

Much of that attitude comes through in how alcohol is marketed. Social media is constantly inundated with slogans like “rosé all day” and “wine moms”. These slogans are obviously geared towards women and designed to glamorize and normalize the consistent consumption of alcohol as a way to get through the day. There are also less subtle forms of marketing out there. A perfect example is an image below from what appears to be a liquor store wine display that got social media talking.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, women are now taking on the majority of the responsibility for educating their children. That’s in addition to working and running a household. Even when both parents are home. Alcohol consumption is a form of commiseration amongst women in a society where we face inequality both in the home and in the workplace, exacerbated by a pandemic. To be fair, it’s enough to drive a nun to start shooting tequila. But the advertisers are taking advantage of the plight of women to sell alcohol, and that seems rather icky.

Why Do They Want Us To Drink?

It is understandable that people, women especially, might be tempted to allow a wine display with a funny sign to persuade them to pick up an extra bottle. However, the nefarious piece of this is how much the advertising is blatantly geared towards women. It’s almost as if male drinking in our society is a given. We expect men to live on beer and whiskey, while we have to turn female drinking into something cute and quirky in order to be equally acceptable. Or maybe they’re selling us wine to distract us from the fact that our position in society is still blatantly, painfully unequal.

I am no teetotaler and I enjoy a good cocktail as much as the next girl. I’m also a bartender part-time. I reserve no judgment for any woman who’s enjoying a nice drink as she reads this, no matter what time it is. This is a much broader conversation than how any one woman chooses to get through the day. It’s about society, and why it is so important for the powers that be to present alcohol as a necessary part of a woman’s plight. It’s about why it is okay to present alcohol as a feasible solution for the issues women face in order to profit.

Olivia Smith is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in San Francisco, she covers events, entertainment, fashion, and technology. She also serves as a Voices contributor at PopSugar.

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