Alcohol is marketed to women as a glamorous and empowering reward for juggling the demands of work and family life. This essay explores the ways in which women who do not drink reject the feminization of alcohol and drinking practices and frame this rejection within discourses of feminist resistance. This essay draws on data collected as part of a mixed-method ethnographic research project that investigates women’s use of, and participation in, online sobriety communities. Findings suggest that women who lead or utilize online sobriety communities have considerable awareness of the feminized marketing of alcohol, and some express strong ideological opposition to it. The marketing of alcohol is positioned as a predatory force that takes advantage of women’s exhaustion as mothers and perpetuates the double standards associated with women’s drinking. Sobriety may prompt a feminist awakening regarding the connections between the feminization of alcohol and women’s inequality within society and, in turn, disrupt women’s identification with post-feminist cultural representations of women’s drinking practices. Through the public identification and critique of these marketing practices, women critically engage with feminism while raising consciousness and building a community of sober women.

Author Biography

Claire Davey is a Ph.D. candidate at Canterbury Christ Church University and recipient of their University Research Scholarship. Between 2020-2022 Claire conducted a mixed method ethnographic study to further understand women’s experiences of recovery and their participation in contemporary online sobriety communities, writing and analyzing from a feminist standpoint. To date, she has published some emerging findings that explore: the relationship between sobriety and self-care; how women navigate no- and low-alcohol drinks in recovery; and patterns of consumption of non-alcoholic and low-alcohol drinks at Club Soda’s pop-up alcohol-free “off-licence.”