The Gendered Nature of the Drinking Industry


“For a long time, when it’s working, the drink feels like a path to a kind of self-enlightenment, something that turns us into the person we wish to be, or the person we think we are. In some ways the dynamic is simple: alcohol makes everything better until it makes everything worse.”

That’s a quote from Caroline Knapp’s grueling memoir: Drinking, A Love Story. It certainly made me think about my own history with drinking.

I don’t consider myself a heavy drinker, but I will admit that I do drink. I like a glass of Sauvignon Blanc at the end of a hard day. But our guest on the show this week emphasized that a culture of patriarchy only serves to exacerbate our tendency to tipple. Or does it? Is that too simple a question?

This week on the show we posed some harder, complex questions about the role that drinking plays in the lives of 40-something women. I have to say I’ve never seen so much play on FB post as this one. I have with me the author of an article in “Q” entitled, “Giving up alcohol opened my eyes to the infuriating truth about why women drink.” Kristi Coulter joined me on the line from Seattle. She is an essayist and fiction writer whose work has appeared in Vox, Glamour, Quartz, The Awl, and elsewhere. Her debut book, an essay collection called NOTHING GOOD CAN COME FROM THIS, will be published in summer 2018 by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. I hope you’ll listen in.

Hear the interview HERE.