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The Impact of Alcohol Marketing on Women

In 2009, Moms Who Need Wine launched as a Facebook page and as of today, there are 627,734 followers. The alcohol market is changing; women purchased 57% of wine consumed in the US in 2016. As a mom of three who was a primary childcare provider for over 10 years, I can empathize with the desire to connect and be engaged with other moms; however, I don’t remember there being a marketing approach suggesting I needed wine to get through the challenges of motherhood or to socialize. I look at messages that are printed on everything from t-shirts, coffee mugs, magnets and bumper stickers: “Drinking wine is not my habit, it’s my hobby,” “A day without wine, is a day without sunshine,” or “The most expensive thing about raising kids is the amount of wine I need to buy.” Additionally, there are products such as wine labeled ‘Mommy Juice’, Frose (a wine slushy), and wine popsicles being marketed to women. The combination of all these messages impact the way women perceive alcohol and can make us feel alcohol consumption is completely benign.

While there’s nothing wrong with having a drink or two for adults who don’t have a substance use disorder, it’s important to be mindful of the effects alcohol can have on an individual’s health, including:
-    Heightened emotional responses (including anger and aggression)
-    Lack of coordination
-    Slurred speech
-    Dizziness
-    Disturbed sleep
-    Nausea and vomiting
-    Extreme alcohol consumption can cause memory loss (blackouts) and alcohol poisoning
-    Excessive use may also lead to abuse and dependence, both of which may ultimately require treatment
-    Long-term excessive alcohol use may also lead to heart disease, stroke, liver disease, breast and other cancers

It is also important to be mindful of the way alcohol products and messages used to market alcohol to women, and particularly mothers, can impact your children, regardless of their age. They often send conflicting messages and can influence children’s understanding of what role alcohol plays in managing the challenges of day to day life. As kids grow, they try to understand what is appropriate for them and what is appropriate for adults, so it may be confusing to them when alcoholic products are consumed in child friendly packaging or when they hear wine referred to as ‘mommy juice’. The hope is that as a consumer, parents will consider the influence their choices can make. Being a good role model and setting clear boundaries for children is an essential component in preventing your children from using alcohol underage.

Parents are the most important influence on a child’s decision to not use alcohol and our hope is parents will use this influence in a positive way. We encourage parents to consider taking the following approaches to increase the protective factors for their children and reduce the risk of alcohol use:

  • Limit the use of alcohol products that have child friendly packaging
  • Be aware of messaging on products that contrast with the messaging you want your children to receive
  • Start the conversation about alcohol use early and often; provide clear and consistent messages that alcohol is not okay for children to use
  • Be a positive role model
  • Ask for support from a qualified professional if a concern arises

To learn more about the effects of alcohol, click here.
For an age by age guide for talking to your children about alcohol & drugs, click here.

Click here to learn more on the impact of alcohol marketing and women.