Alcohol marketing at women in their 40s

One of the MANY ways alcohol is marketed at us is through the greeting card industry.  You’ve all seen the birthday cards with jokes about women drinking to celebrate and of course there are the books, the printed mugs/wine glasses, coasters, fridge magnets, cutsie wooden signs, door mats…. Oh my God as I write this… there are sooo many things!

And they ALL push the message that we need a drink because we deserve it, have earned it or simply cannot exist without it.  

In 2018 I turned 40 and about 75% of my birthday cards were alcohol related and almost every gift was a bottle of fizz or wine and it was lovely, I laughed at the cards and I said thank you for the presents (and drank them-not all at once)!

It was the start of a deep down knowing that this wasn’t what I wanted for the long term, I always hang my cards on a piece of ribbon down the stairs and this time felt a bit odd.  Whilst all my friends and family coming into the house laughed at the cards I felt embarrassed (although laughed along) and it made me uncomfortable to wonder about what my children were thinking about them.

My children looked at the cards and we talked about them, I didn’t think that my drinking ever had a particular effect on them but I was beginning to see myself through their eyes and thought that they were getting a very clear message about what my friends thought of me (fun, party girl, deserving, treat-worthy, lover of gin/fizz/wine) and was not sure that this was a message I wanted so front and centre of their minds.  

I don’t think my birthday card experience is unusual for a woman of my age and I’ve certainly bought all my friends similar cards in the past.  I no longer buy those cards, I don’t want to be a part of a market where we perpetuate the myth that women need alcohol in their lives.  There are other ways to be fun, party, treat ourselves and be a good friend.  Buy better cards for your friends – they deserve it!