Leah Odze Epstein and Caren Osten Gerszberg are the editors of a fascinating new book entitled “Drinking Diaries”, a compilation of stories about women and drinking. While some entries are tragic, many shed new light on a woman’s relationship with drinking. What we found most interesting deals with drinking taboos associated with women, and how the stories in the book put the stigma associated with these taboos on their ear. Leah and Caren took a deep dive into these social taboos and gave some new thoughts about the role that alcohol plays in women’s lives.
The first taboo is “over sharing”. According to Leah and Caren, people tend to hold themselves back but the real you can be more appealing than you might think. Speaking your mind when you’re under the influence may lead you to your true friends; it can help you discover your authentic self and allow others to see you that way too.
This next one seemed very questionable: stumbling while drinking. Any stumbling or falling over just seems flat out embarrassing, right? Leah and Caren bring up the point that if you “stumble” while under the influence, those seemingly mortifying actions may lead you to reflect on your own drinking habits and make wiser choices for the future.
Speaking of unwise choices, have you ever “lost yourself” in the moment after having a cocktail or two? Many of us have been there, but we tend to feel embarrassed about it. Leah and Caren suggest that maybe you’ve actually found parts of yourself that you didn’t know existed. You don’t have to always try to “keep it together.” Drinking can bring all kinds of behavior to the surface and those can be an expression of who you are.
Another underlying theme throughout “Drinking Diaries” is the idea of breaking a cultural or gender-related taboo. Leah and Caren encourage women not to let culture or gender stereotypes define one’s drinking habits; most of these stereotypes are myths anyway. For instance, one stereotype may be that beer is a man’s drink, but for one women mentioned in the book, she grew up enjoying beer with her father and that’s always been her drink of choice. She doesn’t allow societal stereotypes to determine her preferences.
What is your relationship to drinking? What is your take on Caren and Leah’s opinions on social taboos related to drinking? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.