Wine is good. It’s almost like grape juice (except it’s not). It is a factor of social desirability; it is an object considered valuable from a social point of view: drinking wine rather than beer is classy.
Wine improves our social image, it distinguishes us from others. We drink to be seen, to be accepted by a particular group to which we attribute a positive social value.
Wine is a means of social integration, it is an exchange and a pleasure. It is a tradition. It is a sharing. But it’s also an addiction.

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Wine production and consumption

Wine is for men, it is masculine. According to the protocol, men should drink first. A strong red wine is a “masculine” wine, women prefer white wines, light, elegant and with a floral note. This binary way of thinking is still very common. The wine world has long been a man’s world.
Women were once the little hands, working in the fields, harvesting the grapes, but never the owners.

Today, women are also big consumers. In France, 65% of wine buyers are women. Therefore, women tend to feel less legitimate to put themselves forward, wine is still for white men, on both sides of the market: producers and consumers. Yet, have you ever wondered, when you drink wine, who is behind that bottle?

 “Excessive use of alcoholic beverages, harmful to the mental or social health of the subject, whether or not associated with psychological or physical alcohol dependence. »DSM IV

“Addicts are “slaves to quantity”” (McDougall, 2001).

“There is alcoholism when an individual has lost the freedom to refrain from drinking alcohol”. Fouquet

Alcoholic diseases

Ethanol, present in alcohol, is the psychoactive substance responsible for the effects of alcoholic drinks. Two phases follow one another: first, there is disinhibition, psychic and motor excitement, the “tipsy” effect. After the sedation, you feel heavy and tired. If you repeat this behavior regularly and excessively, you risk settling into an alcoholic disease.
An obsession with alcohol (the urge to drink), signs of withdrawal and craving (shaking, sweating) appear when you are not drinking. As the effect of alcohol gradually loses its strength, daily doses are increased to regain the effects of the first few times.
Alcoholic disease is the loss of the freedom not to drink (freedom to be sober), accompanied by medical, psychological and social complications (such as progressive de-socialization). It is a multifactorial disease in terms of its causes, manifestations and effects. Its development and evolution are part of a continuum with strong individual variations. It is a physical disease, which the person suffering from it undergoes.

Wine and female alcoholism

The alcoholic disease is also a social taboo, we don’t talk about alcoholism, we don’t talk about women who drink. Women who drink, whatever the situation, are judged a lot, mainly as immoral, less virtuous, less sophisticated, less rational. They are seen as more sexually open, it’s a social code of “I drink so I’m sexually available” (so she’s willing). Even through alcohol, we see how deeply rooted rape culture is in our society and in the social hierarchy.
A woman who drinks is disturbing. We want to maintain the image of the woman who takes care of herself, the husband, the children and the home. She cannot fail in these roles. The woman who drinks is much more ashamed and hides, she does everything to hide this disease, she keeps silent and acts as if nothing had happened.
Alcohol is an anxiolytic that calms, relaxes and “softens” the accumulated mental stress. This consumption, which at the beginning was only a pleasure, for some, will turn into a problem, an addictive behaviour.

Thank you for reading !
Text: Julia da Costa
illustrations: Julia da Costa

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