The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Growing up I was always surrounded by alcohol. My dad was the HR manager at Anheuser-Busch, our basement was full of free cases of beer, we frequently visited the brewery for family days and for my dad’s final send-off when he retired. While alcohol was so prevalent, so was the idea of drinking responsibly. Before I could drive my dad sat my sister and I down to watch drinking and driving videos created by his company to encourage safe drinking.
But what if there’s not a safe way to drink alcohol? What if the only way to responsibly drink alcohol was to not drink it at all? I know, I sound crazy – perhaps even radical – especially for the drinkers who “know their limits.” Author Holly Whitaker makes a compelling case in her book Quit Like A Woman: The Radical Choice To Not Drink In A Culture Obsessed With Alcohol that we shouldn’t be consuming alcohol at all because it’s bad for our bodies, regardless of what marketing and some studies may suggest.
Similar to how Big Tobacco originally created the dialogue that smoking was safe and trendy, Whitaker argues that alcohol companies are doing the same. It’s been proven that alcohol is linked to various cancers and Whitaker dissects the various ways alcohol damages our bodies. Now, like never before, alcohol companies (largely ran by men) are targeting women to increase their profits and often utilize feminist marketing techniques in order to gain support.
I haven’t finished Whitaker’s book but it has made me reconsider my own relationship with alcohol. When I first 21 I partied like any other person. I definitely made some mistakes and woke up with some killer hangovers, but I would consider my current relationship with alcohol healthy. I rarely drink and if I do, it’s only a few and I rarely have hangovers. Reading her book has made me question the alcohol industry and recognize that drinking responsibly doesn’t exist when damage is being done regardless of limited consumption.