This piece was originally posted on the Huffington Post
I practically threw my book in the air with joy when she wrote:
“Do you have a vagina?
And do you want to be in charge of it?”
If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations – you’re a feminist!”
Yes Caitlin I am a feminist! Moran is also brilliant on Twitter. There is more wit and wisdom in her 140 characters than there is in most books. I also adore her for her dedication to back combing and eyeliner. As my hairdresser once said to me, ‘you can totally tell you were raised in the 80’s.’ I sometimes fantasize she is my cooler, big sister.
Except she does one thing that really irks me.
It is her attitude towards binge drinking. Whenever Moran refers to drinking she always refers to getting drunk, pissed, sloshed and hung-over. She frequently recommends it as a pastime.
But she’s joking. Right?
I’m the uptight one who is taking her humor too seriously.
Get over it!
Surely it’s obvious that she doesn’t mean it literally.
If she did drink the way she jokes she does, she would probably have lost her husband and children by now. She would no doubt be on anti-depressants and would feel ‘low’ most of the time. Her health would be in decline; she would have been hospitalized many times and quite possibly would have cirrhosis of the liver. Her career would most certainly be in serious trouble.
But don’t worry, she’s only joking! She doesn’t really drink like that! No harm done.
But that’s the bit that sadly isn’t true. There is plenty of harm done, more than we are willing to face up to.
Great Britain has an enormous alcohol problem that we like to pretend is only affecting a small minority, when in fact it’s causing untold damage in our society. Binge drinking is particularly damaging to young women. I’m talking about the rise in mental health problems like depression and anxiety, the impact on women’s health, their careers and relationships, the knock their self-esteem takes when they behave in ways they don’t recognize because they are drunk. The loss of productivity, the missed opportunities and wasted potential. The loss of authenticity.
It’s the dishonesty around our binge drinking culture that bothers me. The entrenched belief that binge drinking is a harmless way to have fun. The cost of binge drinking is so high that this it is evidentially not the truth yet we still we persist with our delusional thinking. And sadly Caitlin Moran is colluding with this.
What I’d really love is for Caitlin to read this post and my previous ones about the normalizing of abnormal drinking and then ask her to consider what she is actually saying. Caitlin uses humor to get her point across to great affect. But the jokes and references to being drunk are just part of a bigger tapestry that maintains the delusion that abusive, abnormal drinking is fun and harmless. I have confidence in Caitlin that once this has been brought to her attention she might sit and have a little ponder……
I truly can’t imagine anyone more wonderful to go down the pub with than her. I’d have a soda and she might have a G and T. We would then regale each other with our wit and wisdom (her more than me, obviously). It would make no difference that one of us drank and one of us didn’t and it certainly wouldn’t impact any fun we would have.
We women really need Caitlin Moran to stand up for us. She has a platform to say the things we can’t say, she is shining her light on the issues that affect us. She has a voice that young women are listening to. She is making feminism relevant again. She is the feminist after all who makes it ok to love mascara and hairspray. I just also want her to be the feminist who understands the lethal effect alcohol abuse is having on young women and how she is part of it.
Caitlin Moran and I are from the generation that normalized binge drinking and now women are paying the price. We bought a lie and now it’s time to get honest.
There are plenty of things to be funny about, but alcohol abuse can no longer be one of them.