It’s true. She blocked me.
She was one of my ‘go to’ people when anything interesting happened, because she always writes so succinctly and is piercingly honest. Initially, I thought she was taking a Twitter break as I couldn’t see her tweets on Tweetdeck. Then to my horror, I realized she had actually blocked me. She had actually taken a nano-second out of her day to press the button that said ‘block user’.
I’m devastated that she imagines me to be some kind of troll who is sending her abusive messages (which as a kick ass feminist I imagine she gets a lot off). I’m heart broken that she thinks I’m one of them. And I’d like to apologize to her, as the last thing I wanted to do was cause offense.
It’s the first time social media has managed to dent my self-esteem. I assume it’s because she either read this, or saw one of my tweets, that I tweeted at her, imploring her to read this. I’m not a great writer and Moran does this for a living, but I tried really hard to balance how much I admired and respected her, with an attempt to initiate a conversation about how much binge drinking is normalized, and laughed about in our culture. I was suggesting she maybe mentioned this a bit too much, and could perhaps have a think about the impact of what she was saying. Obviously I came off as smug, patronizing and judgmental, and trust me, my 16 year old self is looking on in horror. How did I become this kind of grown up?
Because that isn’t what I set out to do. In truth, it is not binge drinking that I actually have a problem with. Adults need to make their own decisions, and many of us choose to do stuff that we know is bad for us, regardless. My issue has always been the rhetoric around binge drinking. The normalization of abnormal drinking. The jokey, jokey, references to hangovers and laughing about drinking quantities of alcohol that would kill a normal person.
It’s the subtext that says ‘alcohol is the solution to whatever problem you have.’
Stressed? I’ve got a bottle of gin here – that’ll sought it.
Bored housewife? Then it must be wine-o-clock, ‘wink, wink.’
Had a tough day? Nothing like a drink or two or three to sort that right out.
This is the language I’d like to challenge and I was hoping Ms. Moran would hear me on that.
But clearly I failed.
And I’m still not clear on how to address this. I do not want to be the fun police, I do not want to judge other people’s drinking, it’s really none of my business. I do not want to be a party pooper, or abstinence promoter (don’t believe in it).
What I do want to do is challenge how it’s represented in my culture. Because I believe our cultural representations of alcohol use are grossly incorrect, dangerous and actually camouflage’s our massive denial about the impact alcohol has. And it’s this collective denial that’s stopping people getting help.
We still culturally represent alcohol abuse as a bit of harmless fun. And it’s not harmless. It causes massive harm, to many people.
I’m not denying that drinking can be fun and can help with some unforgettable moments with friends. I’m also fully supportive of appropriate alcohol use. And even though I do have a problem with alcohol, not all my nights drinking were terrible, some were awesome.
If you have any suggestions how we can begin to change the conversation around drinking in a non-smug, non judgmental, non-twitter-blocking-by-celebrities-we-really-admire method. I would be very grateful to hear it. And if you happen to know Caitlin Moran, please tell her I’m sorry.