Celebrating Alcohol Abuse

More and more, on every social platform, there is a recurring theme of fashion magazines promoting and encouraging women to drink alcohol … lots and lots of alcohol.

I know for a fact that we are powerfully intuitive, wise and sensitive, beautiful women who feel everything, all the time. This power is easily and swiftly reduced by the numbing effects of alcohol.

This latest delish promotion from Marie Claire is selling the solution to all your problems, “Did we mention you’ll always have a drink in your hand? … the fruit punch is booze goals”. The insidiousness then goes on to play to your guilt and lets you know that the tour company will give “20% of it’s proceed to [hurricane] relief efforts” and remember ladies, “Ready, set, booze!”. A beautifully edited video with lashings of gorgeous cocktails, beaches, palm trees, crystal clear water and sunshine to tantalise you into booking. Throw in a few shots of hurricane devastation and you have the perfect seductive package to justify a ‘glamourous’, alcohol fuelled vacation that you will send you back to work needing a detox.

Here’s another classic from Marie Claire via Cosmopolitan celebrating how you need a jug and not a glass to drink wine. Actually, don’t worry about the jug, just drink vodka straight from the bottle.

National Vodka Day (is that even a thing?!) was a big hitter for Cosmopolitan with this video getting a tidy 6.2m views – that’s a lot of shots ..

Cosmo are also encouraging hiding wine so you can keep your habit hidden “When you need a desk-side pick me up” or you need to take your meeting from business to boozy”.

Harpers Bazaar are really giving it up for women to start drinking on Friday with this latest offering that has over 62k views (and counting!) and the comments from women celebrating how drunk they get on Friday

Cosmo strike again, I’ll stop for one drink *three drinks later* – 1.7m views!

There are numerous ‘studies’ that are released that celebrate that “three glasses of champagne a day/a glass of red wine is good for you” … Harpers Bazaar’s obvious advertorial piece with this informative embedded video from Elle promoting the benefits of drinking rose is among the many articles promoting alcohol consumption.

Every single one of these videos promotes the denigration of women – and these are only a few examples of the many out there. I know they are seen as just-for-fun and that no-one takes them seriously … but in truth they are celebrating self-abuse and excess consumption and making it normal to need, hide, indulge and binge on booze. It’s on your holidays with you, your Friday night and all your friends are with you when you have it. How can I have fun without it? I deserve it!

We have created a drinking obsessed culture.  According to Breastcancer.org women are now 15% more likely to get breast cancer than women who consume none. Breastcancer.org are really clear in what the facts reveal about alcohol and it’s direct links to breast cancer.

“Compared to women who don’t drink at all, women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer. Experts estimate that the risk of breast cancer goes up another 10% for each additional drink women regularly have each day.

Teen and tween girls aged 9 to 15 who drink three to five drinks a week have three times the risk of developing benign breast lumps. (Certain categories of non-cancerous breast lumps are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer later in life.)

While only a few studies have been done on drinking alcohol and the risk of recurrence, a 2009 study found that drinking even a few alcoholic beverages per week (three to four drinks) increased the risk of breast cancer coming back in women who’d been diagnosed with early-stage disease.

The bottom line is that regularly drinking alcohol can harm your health, even if you don’t binge drink or get drunk. All types of alcohol count. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.”

Sobering statistics? One can only hope.

Based on the consumption promoted by our best selling women’s magazines, there’s no amount of breast cancer research that will help one iota of women if women continue to buy into this alcohol infused life that is supposed to be so glamorous and acceptable. A life that is supposed to build amazing friendships and memories …

The fashion mags are being read by young women who are being encouraged to drink a lot, often and with their friends. Where is the responsibility by our elders? Where are the women publishers who are being mentors to our young women? Alcohol related violence towards young women in universities, colleges and schools is on the rise. When are we going to be responsible and lead by example?

These NHS statistics released in May 2017 expose:

“Alcohol-related hospital admissions in England have increased by 64% in a decade and are at their highest ever level, prompting experts to warn that baby boomers are continuing to risk their health through frequent and excessive drinking.

Surveys found 60% of women aged 45 to 64 and 69% of men of the same age had drunk alcohol in the last week – the highest proportions of any age group.”

For women aged 45 to 64, we are in the most divine period of our lives. Our true expression is to mentor, support and nurture people at home, in the workplace and society as a whole.

Step up ladies. It’s time to try another way, this one isn’t working.

Australia – Marriage Equality

flag

Dear Mr Hockey,

Fortunately, we are living in a democratic society, where we have the right to vote on what governs our lives. Those votes are attached to people like you and me, who have a voice and choose to exercise that.

The vote against a free vote for marriage equality has shown the world, through the expression of the sitting government, that Australia is retarded, misguided and bigoted in our view on humanity. We are all equal, in essence, regardless of gender, socio economic status, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

The Coalition party has given all Australians the opportunity to voice their disappointment (disgust is more truthful) at the appalling lack of understanding, care or compassion for our equal citizens.

We implore you to take a stand and honour all of us, equally so, and express your compassion and understanding for every single Australian.

What if one of your three children is LGBT? What will you say to them in 15 years time when they ask why you didn’t act?

Yours sincerely, Sarah Cloutier

Are We Really So Different?

I see it every single day … there are different skin, hair and eye colours. Height, weight, feet and hand sizes are different. We look around everywhere and see difference. Not one of us looks the same. We’ve created a world that celebrates that we are all different. You have to have your niche, stand out from the crowd, and elbow your way to the top. Being different is championed! We hate to see someone else wearing the same shirt/dress/jacket/shoes because it feels like they have taken some part of our individuality. Our idea that we need to be unique drives everything from fashion to food, music to books, computers to cars, studies to jobs, movies to make-up, hobbies to hair styles – the list goes on!

So we’ve created a world to cater for all the individualism.

Before I go on, I wish to clarify that we need individual professions and occupations. We have created a world that is complicated and involves the services of people to support the world, as we know it. That expression is vital to bring harmony back to how we live. We need lawyers, shopkeepers, managers, nurses, builders, fishermen, gardeners, doctors, mothers and fathers.

But what if we are miles from the truth? What if the individualism keeps us from our one-unified-soul? What if we are all in a glorious constellation that keeps us in a divine flow, naturally? What if we are feeling everything all of the time? What if we can express our unique divine light without all the unique, individual distractions?

What would happen if we allowed ourselves to feel the truth that we have separated from our true nature and load ourselves with all the myriad of distractions available to us to NOT feel that we have separated! Whew! That was a mouthful.

So could it be said that, as a direct result of our indulgences in being individuals, we are stopping the fact that we are feeling everything all of the time and in doing so resist what and who we naturally are?

New Years Resolution – More of the Same Please!

It was Christmas Eve and I was in the supermarket. Suffice to say, it was heaving. The queue was particularly long, though moving quickly. The store manager was walking along with a tin of chocolates to keep everyone smiling. The mood in the queue was cheery and expectant and some of us were chatting to each other.

The man in front of me in the queue was telling me about his Christmas lunch plans. He was cooking a veal fillet stew for his friends, an Italian recipe traditional in his family. Of course I asked for the recipe!! Sear the cubed fillet in a heavy based casserole dish and add in sliced brown onions, carrots, leeks, tomato puree, bay leaves, fennel seeds, fresh parsley, fresh thyme, pepper, sea salt and almost cover with stock. Place in a slow oven for a couple of hours till everything is divine.

When I finally got to the checkout, the lovely man asked me whether I was looking forward to tomorrow. Quick as a whippet I replied, “I look forward to every day, every single one is awesome”. His eyebrows raised and he smiled. “Wow, that’s unusual!”

I have gathered so many amazing recipes from the ladies at the checkout, people in the queue and my friends at work. What would happen if we connected with people all the time? What if we actually let them into our lives, even if only for a moment?

How often do we really connect with people in our lives? Why do we walk around looking down?

Maybe life is truly about expressing love to each other. Not just our families, not just when we’re drunk and definitely not just at Christmastime. Love thy neighbour rings true – they way we speak to the people in the bank, in the local supermarket and at work should all have the same respect and care we treat our families. Why do we feel we can treat those people differently to our blood relatives?

This year I have made a choice to connect with people and let them in. No matter if they are on the tube, in the butcher or the dry cleaners. Every one has smiled back and even if we don’t utter a word, there is a connection there that lights my soul. It’s so simple and yet we think we are all separate – how wrong we are!

Sharing recipes and ingredients is my way of connecting with people. Whatever way we choose, there is a chance, just a small chance, that we may receive a little treat, a smile, a tip on how to cook aubergine, a fish recipe and a way to make Dahl that we never would have considered. When we are open, we allow for magic to happen.

My New Years’ Resolution is to have a year even more amazing than the last one! More love to be in the magic of my life, to see more butterflies, receive more tenderness, allow more flow, ask more questions, be open to new recipes, to see glory in everyone and most of all, be open to more love.

Who knows… it might just be the best year of my life so far. Give it a try – maybe, just maybe, you will see the sparkle of love too.

Finding My Inner Nemo in the Sea of Commuters

I laughed as I came out of the London Tube this morning. A few people looked at me like I was from another planet – not many people laugh on the tube! Oxford Circus is a very busy station and I really saw the humour in how we interact with one another.

Remember the film “Finding Nemo” and the scene where all the fish are in the current? Little critters simply holding themselves in their aquatic constellation. They never bump into each other or impose. They have accepted the flow and swirl they are in and are masters of just letting go and being in harmony with each other.

Resistance is futile!

There is a graceful power in letting go and simply allowing the current to take us as we weave and curve around the subterranean world below London. When I resist, or try to force my way through the crowd, it just doesn’t work. I bump into people, bags and feet. The impact of others fighting against it is also felt as a harshness, a force. The resistance to the natural flow around us all equally.

Today I felt the joy of being with everyone, letting them in, feeling everything and being me. It’s like being a fish in the sea and not getting wet!

Response to the Letter from 10 Downing Street

November 13, 2012

Susan Alleyne
Ministerial Support Team
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street
London SW1Y 5DH

Your Ref: 218392/SA/01

Dear Ms. Alleyne,

I am very disappointed that the Government’s stance is that they will wait for the recommendations from the Leveson Inquiry.

The contradictory advice that the Press Complaints Commission is the recommended avenue should a complaint need to be raised against a publication; “However, the Code does not cover matters of taste and decency because what is offensive to one reader may be utterly innocuous to another” is an inadequate response. We have already submitted a complaint to them about the Evening Standard and were told that there’s nothing they [the PCC] can do. Which is why I felt to write to David Cameron in the first place. The PCC are inundated with complaints about sexual images in newspapers – and they have no power to act on them. What are you as a Government going to do about that?

Further, when you say “We know that some people find some of the content of newspapers and adult magazines offensive, and I can assure you that the Government if particularly concerned that children should not be exposed to inappropriate material of any kind.” Really? We are NOT talking about adult magazines; we are talking about daily newspapers. You are allowing abuse of children by colluding with the press.

The question that urgently requires a response is; why are you continuing to defend a man’s right to ogle, over a child’s right to innocence?

Adult magazines used to be on the top shelf, with a cover. Now they are on every magazine rack in every supermarket – Nuts, Loaded, Esquire, FHM – all have semi-naked women on their covers. Objectification is rife. Where are concerned citizens to go when we need to raise a concern? Your recommendation is to go to the police, who are already overwhelmed by alcohol related violence and increasing domestic violence. That’s your solution as a Government? To overload the police force by not taking responsibility to change an archaic system that allows the press to remain unaccountable?

The Obscene Publications Act 1957 you mention brings up no results on the Legislation.gov.uk website. Could you please advise where I can access a copy? The Wikipedia page has some information that deems it a useless act as only one person, on appeal, was convicted in the history of the act since 1957. So this doesn’t seem a relevant option to use in a case against a newspaper. And the recommended fine is only £100, hardly a deterrent.

I would like to know the details of the out come of the meeting Ed Vaizey had on the issue of the representation of women in the media. Great that they devoted a meeting to the issue, but from your letter, no decisive outcome was achieved. What is the status of the Communications Review? It is blatantly obvious that existing regulation is not a fit for the modern media environment.

Unfortunately, the truth is that no one is taking responsibility. The supermarkets are not stopping putting the sexual images away from the eyes of children, the papers, and it now the Government, are allowing this to continue and claiming a “body confidence campaign” will somehow build self-esteem. Yet every day, young children see semi-naked women on magazine covers while their parents are buying the groceries. Their parents are bringing home newspapers that have sexually graphic images of women and it’s accepted as the norm.

The NSPCC has just released a report on the qualitative study of children, young people and ‘sexting’. It makes for shocking reading about the state of our children’s lives and what we have created. We are out of control – following numbly in the footsteps of the press. I recommend you taking a few minutes to review the chilling information it uncovers.

From the report: Brian McNair (2002) has argued Western society has become a ‘striptease culture’ preoccupied with confession, revelation and exposure. This is connected to an ongoing breakdown or renegotiation of the boundary between public and private, which is itself the outcome of multiple, intersecting factors including the partial success of the women’s and sexual liberation movements, shifts in media regulation away from censorship and towards ‘an informed consumer model’ (Bragg & Buckingham, 2009), and the possibilities opened up by rapid technological change.”

“Perhaps the broadest level at which sexism operates in the young people’s lives is to be found in the deeply rooted notion that girls and young women’s bodies are somehow the property of boys and young men.”

Would you like this to be your daughter? Gang raped at the age of eleven by a group of ten or more fourteen-year-old boys outside her school? This is happening every day somewhere in London. And still the Government is taking no responsibility for the images our innocent children are seeing every day. The men that ogle are fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers and professionals and are seen as role models to our young men – those boys are upholding that behaviour as normal.

Why are we continuing to defend a man’s right to ogle, over a child’s right to innocence?

ENOUGH.

Seriously. Enough with our complacent attitude towards the treatment of women in our society by the Media. We need to step up and take responsibility for the impact that the Media has on our attitude towards women.

We have a dossier that’s growing every day. Please let me know if you would like to see examples of the trash we are allowing – it’s too big to post.

Yours truly,

Sarah M Cloutier