In America, the land of quick consumption and bigger is better, it’s not surprising that we’ve developed binge-drinking issues and other pathological relationships with alcohol. Many books delve into the problem of women and over-drinking (Most recently, Gabrielle Glaser’s, HER BEST KEPT SECRET and now, Ann Dowsett Johnston’s DRINK: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol).
But, as we’re always asking at Drinking Diaries, what about the rest of us—the women whose relationships to alcohol fall all along the spectrum between abstinence and alcoholism?
In her recent piece on Salon.com, Jill Filipovic writes eloquently about this very question:
“The lines between use, abuse and addiction are not always totally clear, and there’s a marked lack of nuance (not to mention honesty) in discussions of alcohol use. Admit to having three or four drinks on one particular night, and some who have been through the hell of alcoholism will insist that you have A Problem. Push back against frat boy drinking culture and you’re a Puritan. Recognize that nearly all of us will get a little too liquored up a handful of times in our lives and, if you’re a woman, expect someone to wag their finger at you and insist that by getting drunk you’re going to get yourself raped.”
While she recognizes that alcoholism will always be an issue for some, for those of us who drink, Filopivic argues for what she calls “a pleasure-centered drinking culture instead of a consumption-centered one,” one which involves, for example, savoring one thoughtfully made cocktail with fresh ingredients rather than a bunch of low calorie chemical concoctions that one settles for because of guilt related to “overindulgence.”
Filipovic also offers a refreshing take on gender roles and drinking, connecting our drinking culture to our current culture of sexual assault, with its double standard for women drinkers (bad, asking for it) and men (reckless cowboy = macho & men will be men).
What do you think, readers? There will always be room for the traditional alcohol narratives of abuse and recovery, but it’s important to shake it up a bit and share all of our drinking stories.