Exploiting Motherhood: Do Mummy Drinking Sites Offer Real Support or Are They Mainly Alcohol Marketing?
Even as women’s roles have expanded substantially beyond traditional sex stereotypes, women are still commonly portrayed as uncomplaining caregivers, long‐suffering intimate partners and in control of family matters, all while maintaining a sexualised femininity. Nowhere are these stereotypes and expectations more apparent than for mothers.
However, some social media are exploiting mothers by inappropriately offering alcohol consumption as a solution to the challenges of parenting. This is a very timely topic, given the impacts of COVID‐19 on family and home life, and potential for an increase in alcohol‐related problems and health harms.
Authors of this research commentary address these issues and offer alternatives to alcohol consumption as an easy solution to countering challenges of parenthood.
Research in context
In this commentary, researchers from the La Trobe University’s Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR) and North American co-researchers outlines ways alcohol consumption is too often presented as a solution to the challenges of parenting for mothers, particularly on social media.
The researchers show how “mommy wine” or culture for moms to use alcohol portrays alcohol as essential to solving problems, dealing with stress, and socializing. This encourages mothers to consume alcohol at risky levels.
Women do welcome a break from the maternal pressures, and – encouraged by the alcohol industry – alcohol is portrayed as a symbol of that freedom, especially through products such as a champagne, a glass of white wine or a ‘skinny rose’,” said Dr. Anne‐Marie Laslett from La Trobe University, as per scimex.Dr. Anne‐Marie Laslett, La Trobe University
Dr Laslett said COVID-19 has exacerbated stress on families, increased isolation, anxiety and tensions, while easing access to alcohol.
The authors reviewed studies and websites in Australia, Canada and the United States, and found some social media sites claiming to support mothers were actively promote risky alcohol use.
There is evidence that advertising and social marketing contribute to alcohol use and related harms. These promotions increasingly target women, especially young women, including mothers,” said Dr. Laslett as per scimex.Dr. Anne‐Marie Laslett, La Trobe University
Some mothers on these sites have started to push back against this normalization. Alternative sites have emerged which support “sober mums”, encourage mothers to reflect on their alcohol use, and provide support not focused on alcohol.
“These supportive social media websites have the capacity to foster relationships among women and provide them with links to social supports and services when needed,” said Dr. Laslett as per scimex.Dr. Anne‐Marie Laslett, La Trobe University