So I’ve been following this woman called Erin Shaw, she’s started a community called Tell better Stories.
“Tell Better Stories examines lifestyle media and marketing geared toward women, and the messages we constantly see in our feeds and in our lives: that alcohol is the norm, an essential part of “lifestyle.” We’re not prohibitionists, but rather question how we construct messaging in media (including social) and marketing. Since we’re all creators now, how do we create thoughtfully? Our aim is to create conversation and help develop useable guidelines to help tell better stories about alcohol in lifestyle media.”
Find her website here: https://www.tellbetterstoriesmedia.com/blog/2018/3/10/welcome-to-tell-better-stories
So I really love what she’s doing and I started getting involved by adding a hashtag and my view to a meme she flagged to her followers on instagram. The meme in question is the featured image for my post and was posted by the institution that is Scary Mommy who has 1.1 Million followers.
I was really excited about this new outlet and I felt like I was playing a small part in challenging the status quo…like a sober ninja fighting the good fight. I could not have prepared myself for the shitstorm that broke out on instagram the following morning.
I will spare you the detailed barrage of comments that were thrown around. Suffice to say the women who follow scary Mommy on instgram were not impressed.
A couple of highlights:
“If a meme threatens your sobriety better go to back AA”
“SOME people are taking this way to seriously I think they need a drink!”
“Don’t be jealous just because we can have a drink and still be epic parents.”
The most upsetting thing though was one woman who felt that we were shaming them. She thought we were coming from a place of holier than through teetotallers who look down on the women who drink.
This totally knocked the wind out of my sails and I had to take a step back.
My intention was to communicate with a brand that is equating drinking with motherhood and normalising the use of a highly addictive drug. The result was a shit-fight between followers of these two institutions and I honestly don’t think the brand Scary Mommy even noticed and even if they did probably didn’t care.
The culture we live is constantly telling women and mothers to DRINK.
We need to drink to…
feel like independent women
deal with motherhood
to have another identity besides just being a mom
take care of ourselves
have OUR ME TIME
I am going to rethink how I can help the cause without making other women feel ashamed. I do not judge anyone who drinks. How can I? If you drink moderately more power to you, if you are drinking addictively you are self-medicating as I did for the best part of 20 years probably more (I’m too tired to count)
I am questioning the ‘mommy needs wine culture because it has a lot to answer for. So many women are stuck in addiction and they will remain stuck for many more years because they can hide comfortably behind these memes. I did! I couldn’t believe there were other moms who drank like me! I was so relieved because I thought if they are all doing it must be ok. It’s not fucking ok! We are losing ourselves to this drug.
The indoctrination can be subtle but mostly its pretty much in your face. Here are a couple of examples of memes in case you haven’t seen them:
Adding a hash tag to memes asking the brands posting them to “#tell better stories” may not be the way to go for me. I like what Erin is doing but I feel that the women who are stuck in addiction can look at those comments on social media and feel judged or they will quite rightly feel outraged. Like we are trying to tell them what to do! My beef is not with the drinkers but with the brands and the alcohol companies…
Follow the money because someone is getting very rich and it suits the patriarchy down to the ground to keep women drunk & submissive!
As for the sober ninja…I’ve approached several brands directly by post and email and I think I will keep doing that for now. In some small way my voice is objecting…even if no one is listening. Challening an ‘idea’ like mom wine culture has to be done at the people in power not the people participating in it.