‘The damage is done’

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In a 2021 Saturday Night Live sketch, Aidy Bryant, adorned with the signature bob and cutesy patterned dress of a typical middle-aged woman, opens a series of gifts from her friends in their 40s to 50s.

The gifts she unwraps are out of date or out of date in a way that dates back about five years. These are all decorative home signs that match the “live, laugh, love” vibe that is popular with suburban moms. The concept of this scene may not be out of place for the slightly disconnected set of the over 40s. But as Bryant opens those decorative panels, their slogans intensify from “Wine gets better with age, I get better with wine” to “I put bottles of wine in other people’s recycling bins so that the garbage collectors don’t know how much I go through. within a week.”

Through this escalation, the skit muddles the normalization of our culture of substance use disorders. He criticizes the “mother of wine” aesthetic, which suggests that women need alcohol to cope with the trials of everyday life.

“These phrases are extremely hurtful to women on the road to recovery,” Dr. Deni Carise, scientific director of Recovery Centers of America, told In The Know in response to the clip. “We need more people with the power to influence culture to amplify this message.”

Critics of this culture are not new – the unsettling fact that it’s remarkably easy to find sparkly t-shirts and mugs emblazoned with slogans like ‘mum needs wine’ in stores has been a frequent topic of conversation. these last years.

Now Gen Z is having a relatively fresh conversation about how this type of aesthetic is fundamentally. uncool. Without openly criticizing its sinister message, young people simply see this kind of merchandise and immediately categorize it as “basic”, “cis-core” or “cheugy”.

Can this new attitude towards the mum culture of wine help heal the damage its normalization has done to recovering people in the same way that marketing efforts have made smoking look uncool in the city? end of the 21st century?

Lisa Kays, a mother and therapist who focuses on recovery and substance use disorders, told In The Know that she thinks we are “still a long way” from that point.

“I would say that moms (or anyone, really) who want to quit drinking, or even drink less, still struggle with legitimate worries and doubts about whether or not drinking will keep them away from others or not,” a- she declared. “Shame or stigma [is] drinking as a parent, and the volume and pride of that parent may decrease as the behavior itself continues to persist.

Credit: Google Images

Shelby John, a sober therapist, said she was “not so sure these Wine Mom products aren’t cool or basic.” They also don’t target Gen Z who currently find them uncool.

“I still see lots of ads and pictures of women with sequined T-shirts and mugs, not to mention the constant flow of messages discussing the need for alcohol to care for their children,” she said. at In The Know. “Our culture has targeted women with an alcohol culture for years, perpetuating the idea that we need alcohol to live.”

Abbey Fickley, who uses her TikTok platform of more than 100,000 subscribers to educate young people about the realities of sober motherhood, told In The Know that mom’s wine culture plays a “huge role in normalizing unhealthy ways of coping “.

When she had her daughter at age 20, she suffered from extreme postpartum depression. Evening wine mixed with prescription benzodiazepines became addictive that “left no crumbs.” After losing her house, her car and custody of her daughter, Fickley credits her father for filing a lawsuit against her for “saving her life”.

“Wine culture has totally justified some of my behavior,” she said. For her, the antidote to its normalization is not necessarily to let it go out of fashion. Instead, the solution opens up about the negative impact it had.

“I believe the more we talk about recovery and share our stories, it gives moms who have a problem or are wondering a place to go to seek help or find support,” added Fickley. “Or even just ask questions to find out more about their own truth or what may be going on.”

Sober writer and activist Blair Sharp told In The Know that she “hopes” that Wine Mom products “end up being seen as rubbish and grin-worthy.”

“I think the damage has been done for some, but there is hope for the future,” she said.

While the impact of mom’s wine culture can never be truly canceled, recovery experts agree that creators like Sharp and Fickley have the power to dismantle its standardization for future generations.

Holly Jespersen, who works for the nonprofit Shatterproof for Recovery from Substance Use Disorders, told In The Know that recovering moms do the heavy lifting in this area.

“We can be amazing role models for our children without making alcohol consumption a necessary ingredient to be a parent,” she said, noting that women face this stigma far more than men. “It’s humiliating, and we can do better than that.”

Quoting a popular recovery mantra, Fickley said: “It is a radical act of self-care to end your day with water, not wine.” This is the kind of quote one could easily find on a sign or t-shirt next to a typical wine mum outfit, only a lot cooler.

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If you liked this story, read on for our Cover of National Recovery Month.

More from In The Know:

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The post The “mother of wine” aesthetic isn’t cool, but has the damage already been done? first appeared on In The Know.


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