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.

Beat Women …

abuse

Why isn’t the media talking about domestic violence?

Do they think it won’t sell papers?

They are probably right.

Who wants to hear that UN statistics show that 1 in 3 women worldwide will be the victim of domestic violence?

Does the world really want to know that 73% of homicide murder results in the death of a woman at the hands of a partner or ex-partner?

Who really wants to hear that almost 50% of women who were in a relationship had their previous partner be violent towards them? The media think you really don’t want to know that even though these women got themselves out of the abusive relationship, their ex-partner found them and attacked them. Do you?

Who wants to know that women are then going to be ridiculed and blamed for their attack? “Don’t provoke the man”.

Do you want to be reminded of how it felt to be attacked or attack?

Do we really think that by ignoring the FACT of the enormity of the violence that it will go away? The ‘ostrich’ approach isn’t working. Obviously.

The rates are increasing and no one cares.

Do you want to think about your sister, mother, daughter, friend, cousin, niece, grand daughter being beaten senseless? Or do you see those statistics as something that happens to other people?

Why are you not saying to your brother, son, father, grand father, cousin, nephew or friend that being violent towards women is not acceptable under any circumstances? Is it too confronting to challenge someone on their cowardice and the evil they are allowing to run through them?

The media want us to focus on other things – get us infuriated about fracking or global warming or celebrities because that means we don’t have to look in the mirror.

They know what they’re doing – don’t be fooled that they don’t know how to manipulate you.

Wake up.

Speak up.

Don’t beat women.

 

Letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard

October 10, 2012

Dear Ms. Gillard,

The Australian High Court passed a law on August 14, 2012 to remove branding from cigarette packets. This has created a foundation for how we legislate for true change, which is to be applauded. Nicotine related lung cancer costs the Australian Community according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare A$107m per year. Domestic Violence and Childhood Sexual Abuse cost the Government A$8bn per year – an immense difference that we choose to ignore. And the A$8bn a year does not include the costs of ongoing counselling and healing – and the emotional costs for victims is unfathomable.

Why isn’t the Government addressing the Domestic Violence and Childhood Sexual Abuse as fervently as it has lobbied for the removal of branding on cigarette packets?

Your recent exposé of misogyny and sexism relating to the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbot, is the earthquake that has cracked a chasm of truth about the appalling treatment of women and you have an obligation as leader of the Australian Government to do something about it.

Alan Jones’ consistent denigration of you is tiresome, and personally extremely hurtful and offensive, yet, by everyone not standing up to this, and as you so clearly pointed out, we are accepting it as the norm and allowing it to continue. We have allowed it to creep into our everyday lives so that when it happens we make an excuse to stay silent and collude with the abuse.

There are some male dominated industries, journalism is one – and I have worked in film and television for over 25 years – I know all about the aside remarks about my arse, snide comments, stares at my breasts, sexual innuendo, groping, put downs in meetings and judgment of my capability based on the fact that I am a woman, not on my experience or tertiary degree. I have endured the whistles from builders, groping in nightclubs and pubs and the inevitable judgment on my appearance, comments on the length of my skirt, the tightness of my jeans/t-shirt etc, etc.

I have worked my way up the ranks to General Manager for a film post production company in Melbourne. While there I had to deal with the “don’t get emotional” comments when I needed to manage a difficult situation at work. I expose it when it happens, and I can change my work environment as the manager. Men on the Executive could still be condescending and inappropriate. This attitude, and the fact that men feel this behaviour is acceptable, is perpetuated by the onslaught of soft porn and opinion-based ‘journalism’ we are bombarded with from the mainstream media today, and the denigration of women as a result.

The recent allegations, now over 120, against Jimmy Saville in the UK, and the revelations that Radio 1 boss knew about his behaviour towards girls, clearly show that we allow impropriety and abuse without question. We are continuing to allow the Abuse of Women in our society by not challenging and questioning it. These allegations have started an out-pouring of honesty of sexually abusive treatment of women within the BBC, including Liz Kershaw and Sandi Toksvig. Women’s silence perpetuates the behaviour at the BBC experienced by Ms Kershaw and Ms Toksvig and that experienced by many thousands of women, including myself.

“For women working in [the show business] industry, sexual harassment was something you just had to ignore every day of your working life”, said journalist and broadcaster Janet Street-Porter, writing in the Daily Mail about her experiences in the 1980’s “To understand a male mindset that considers fondling, groping and worse as perfectly normal behaviour in the workplace, look at what was broadcast at the time, and how women were portrayed.”

Nothing’s changed. And these instances are not isolated to the UK or Australia – they are a global issue. And the honesty will overflow as women everywhere begin to feel their confidence in speaking out.

Do children see their fathers, uncles, cousins, brothers, fathers and grandfathers treating women with disdain every day? And as a society, are we making it OK for snide comments and put-downs – absolutely. Have we then created and exacerbated a society that makes the Abuse of Women mainstream?

Is there a link between pornography and violence towards women and children? Worth mentioning in the very least, and it’s an area that our society does not want to address because men are in positions of power to make change and they like the accessibility of it on supermarket and newsagent shelves.

Reviewing the FACTS of the figures, should it be soft/pornography that is removed from the shelves as well as the brand labels on cigarettes?

According to Cancer Research UK (updated 10 May 2012), there were 48,417 new cases of breast cancer in the UK in 2009 – and that doesn’t include the cases already being treated. In the news on Monday 8th October 2012, it was reported that in Australia 37 new cases of breast cancer get diagnosed a DAY and this is expected to rise. Consider for a moment that the MCG holds 100,000 people – fill it up with those ‘new cases’, and top it up with the husbands, children, parents and siblings of those women and every year you have that many NEW people affected by our rot in society and the complacency in our treatment of women. Sure, we are seeking a cure to the symptoms, but how deeply do we want to address the cause?

“Pear shaped” and “tits up” are expressions commonly used by men and women expressing when something has gone wrong. Our colloquial language reveals that the denigration of women is part of our psyche. A woman’s anatomy has been commoditised to parts denoting something bad.

You have a responsibility, as well as a great opportunity, to consider guidelines, recommendations and regulations on the Abuse of Women to ensure we arrest this ill momentum. We need to leave a foundation for our children and our future generations that respects women and shows that there is another, more caring way to treat women that will inevitably benefit men and our society as a whole.

By choosing to ‘let this slide’ we are choosing to allow it to continue – and we have for many, many years. We need to clearly underline that we will not allow this to continue to give the opportunity for future generations the opportunity to see there is another way. On Tuesday 9th you stood up in the Parliament and gave that 15min speech which has been echoing throughout the World. It was a concise exposé on misogyny, backed up by facts, that Australia needed to hear. And not just Australia. I congratulate you on opening this can of worms. However, let this not be your final act in the long overdue need for change to our attitude to women.

This constant barrage of degradation and abuse of Women is having an impact on the lives of our children.

We are now experiencing the most accessible soft/pornography of all time and children all over the western world as young as 10 are “sexting” images of themselves to each other – they are our sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, nieces and nephews. The deepest concern for us all as a society is that these children think it’s normal to behave sexually with each other.

The United Nations UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child states that, “The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not. The leaders also wanted to make sure that the world recognized that children have human rights too.” And, “It spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere have: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences …”

Do we then have a LEGAL OBLIGATION to protect our children “from harmful influences”?

There is nowhere to hide anymore.

These all highlight the lack of responsibility taken by people (predominantly men) in power to act when they are aware there is wrongdoing. By inaction, we are condoning and colluding with the Abuse. As a society, we have made this behaviour acceptable. As individuals we feel we have no power and no voice against the establishment of large organisations, headed by men. These women are our sisters, daughters, nieces, granddaughters, wives, mothers and friends.

How long are people in power going to allow the abuse of women to be ‘normalised’ to the level that it is today?

We are supposedly in a modern western society, where women have the right to choose what we study, where we work, where we live, whom we marry, what we wear, whom we date, what we eat and the life we choose to live. There are other women in the world who do not have these freedoms and are still subjected to witch hunts, stoning, slavery, forced marriages and lives of abuse.

Through lack of responsibility and passive acceptance, we continue to perpetuate a society that condones the abuse of women. This type of behaviour is legally not allowed in the workplace and, after studying UK and Australian HR law, this behaviour regularly gets employers and perpetrators into a world of litigation. Yet we allow it every day in our press and media. Why is that?

The Australian press (Courier Mail, News Corp) has made claims recently that women who seek truth and a loving way of life are gormless, mindless followers and that we don’t have the intelligence to choose how we live. The blatant approval of sexual abuse in the article is simply shocking.

There in-lies a deep fracture in the Media and how it portrays women as a whole. Less concerning is the drivel of two men’s opinion thinly veiled as ‘journalism’ – more devastating is the impact of this tirade of derogatory and misogynistic attitude towards women by mainstream media.

Your speech has been so well received and celebrated throughout western world (USA, UK), but it is getting ‘frosty’ reception by male journalists in Australia.

The Crown Prosecution Service (UK) released a transcript – Domestic Violence: the facts, the issues, the future – Speech by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC (posted 12 April 2011). His closing statement is one for reflection from a global perspective “The steps that we and our criminal justice partners are taking to tackle domestic violence risk limited success unless this complacency is tackled head on. A change in attitude is clearly needed”.

Where are we headed if all the rates of domestic violence, violence towards women is increasing year after year?

Rudi Giuliani’s decision to have a zero tolerance for crime when he was Mayor of New York City was welcomed by residents of the city. From 1993-2001, crime and related violence dropped 56% in the FBI Crime Index. New Yorkers wanted to remain living in the city and it became the “safest large city in the nation”. With decisive action, a message would be sent to everyone that order would be maintained.

How amazing would our society be if the Government were to boldly establish zero-tolerance to the Abuse of Women? If you set a zero tolerance to the abuse of women in our daily papers, it will have profound effect on home life. And the £8 billion we are spending on the results of domestic violence could be joyfully redirected.

How amazing would it be if you created legislation that made it illegal for a woman to be paid less than a man for doing the same job? How empowering for a community to feel that support and know that we have a voice and that Abuse will no longer be tolerated?

As the head of our Government, you have a responsibility to consider guidelines, recommendations and regulations on the Abuse of Women to ensure we arrest this momentum. We need to leave a foundation for our children and our future generations that respects women and shows that there is another, more caring way to treat women that will inevitably benefit men and our society as a whole.

ENOUGH.

Seriously, Enough. Our complacent attitude towards the treatment of women in our society has to stop. And, we need to step up and take responsibility for the impact that the Media has on our attitude towards women.

This issue is not going away – daily revelations about the treatment of women are becoming the norm and it cannot be ignored any further. Please advise me on receipt of this letter and I would appreciate any update on the progress in seeing these real concerns through.

I welcome your views and questions and I have colleagues in Australia who share our zero tolerance attitudes on sexism and misogyny and would be available to meet with you or one of your team to discuss this further.

On Tuesday you expressed beautifully: “And the Government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. Not now, not ever.” Let us see you put these words into practice and live up to your powerful and just assertion.

Yours truly,

Sarah Cloutier
Dual Australian and UK Citizen currently living in the UK