Don’t Judge Me For Drinking Rose Wine. Or Whisky. Let’s Stop All This Girlie Drink Shaming

Because isn't it a woman's right to choose what alcohol she consumes?


by Daisy Buchanan |
Published on

My boyfriend introduced me to a brilliant Kids In The Hall sketch. It’s called Girl Drink Drunk, and it’s about a successful executive who can’t stomach the taste of Scotch, but manages to fall down a rabbit hole into alcoholism and penury when his boss introduces him to drinks that come in coconuts, and are festooned with cocktail umbrellas.

No-one wants to be a girl drink drunk. Not even girls. Anything faintly fruity now automatically comes with a side order of guilt and shame, heaped on a chintzy paper doilly, skewered by a maraschino cherry on a cocktail stick. If you drink anything pink, the looks you get are more hostile than the response you’d receive if you dropped your voting slip in the middle of the bar and pissed all over it, or if you turned up to a mass bra burning with a fire extinguisher. What’s a girl to do, and more specifically, how’s a girl supposed to maintain her social status and feminist fierceness when we’re right at the start of rosé season?

In her essay ‘Women, Whisky and Libationary Liberation’ Ada Brunstein suggests: 'It may be worth pausing to ask, why is it that the drinks that women drink cause embarrassment while the drinks that men drink are reason for praise?' Think about what you drink, and who you drink it with. You might be happy to slurp a white wine spritzer with your Mum, in the back garden, but you’re probably not going to order one on a date.

Why is it that the drinks that women drink cause embarrassment while the drinks that men drink are reason for praise?

‘When I first started going out drinking with my mates, we’d get through a lot of the usual sugary teenage crap - anything alcopop style basically,' Annie, 27, tells me when I do a quick survey about drink-shaming. ' Obviously after 10 years I’d expect us all to be a bit more sophisticated, but I’m getting increasingly irritated by my pals and their obsession with craft beer and whisky. It’s great if they’re really into it, but I don’t think they like drinking it as much as they like talking about it. A glass of wine is my favourite drink, but if I order one when we’re out they all start doing Al Murray pub landlord impressions, or they make jokes about being out with ‘mum’. One of them even said “It’s going to be a bit weird if boys come over to talk to us, and you’ve got a lame drink in front of you.” I don’t understand why they can’t just let it drop. It’s not as if I’m drinking some sort of giant, cream topped boozy milkshake. But even if I was, it’s got nothing to do with them.”

Stacey, 28, believes that drink snobbery has ruined the communal element of a night out. ‘I miss sharing wine. We used to order bottles for the table and bond. But there’s been a weird, imperceptible shift and suddenly everyone’s on complicated, very strong cocktails that they don’t seem to enjoy drinking. The other night, my friends were sneering at a table of loud, cackling, wine drinking women, saying, “We used to be like that! It was awful.” But I really miss it.’

The truth is that labelling something 'girly' and then dismissing it is not helpful to us, or to feminism. All women should feel as comfortable clutching a Chivas Regal or a Capri Sun, but drink shaming isn’t progressive, and we shouldn’t have to hear it from friends or strangers.

As Christen McCurdy, who writes about the relationship women have with alcohol, puts it: 'One of the most important projects of feminism, and particularly of feminism's third wave, is encouraging women to embrace pleasure. It's about embracing pleasure in a consensual, conscientious way, but it is by all means about getting your rocks off as you please - without shame or apology.'

From April to October all I ever want to do is sit in the sun with a chilled vat of pinot grigio blush, with people who will unashamedly share my pink drink

I think of McCurdy’s views and how, between the months of April and October, when all I ever want to do is sit in the sun with a chilled vat of pinot grigio blush, with people who will unashamedly share my pink drink. I think of my friend Paul, who taught me, sweetly and patiently, how to taste whisky, where to feel the flavour and notice the pleasant tingle as it burns your lips and tongue. I think of my Granny grumbling the Christmas my sisters and I discovered sherry. 'I didn’t mind when you all mocked me for drinking an old lady drink - the bottle lasted a lot longer!' she used to say. And last Easter, when my sisters went to the pub for a beer festival, and a middle aged red faced man made a comment on how ‘unusual’ it was to see young women drinking pints and we all, in glorious unison, gave him the finger. I think of how I’ve always had a soft spot for men who drink white wine, and how giddy and excited I felt when I first saw my boyfriend ordering, calmly and without comment, something that involved rum, pomegranates and pineapple.

Drinking responsibly isn’t just about counting units, following guidelines and making sure you don’t end the night vomiting and falling over in it. It means you have to own your choices, respect the choices of other people, and remember the importance of communion - the joy of friends coming together. If you want to celebrate all those things with a tot of 22 year old Dalmore, I shall toast your right to do so. But you have to promise not to comment on the fact that my own glass is full of White Zinfandel.

Follow Daisy on Twitter @NotRollerGirl

Picture: Eylul Aslan

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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