Give Me Back My Alcohol

A bunch of friends have been passing around a piece on Facebook by a woman who quit drinking who has now been observing drinking culture among women and finding it strange. I found a lot to nod along with.

Over the weekend there was an incident at a convention where a panelist handed out shots on a panel. I thought at first it sounded like she was handing out shots to her fellow panelists, but people who were there said she was handing the shots out as a reward for people brave enough to ask questions of the panelists. She got in trouble.

I’m not really interested in this trouble. Sounds like the right thing happened and she acknowledged it was the right thing that happened and she was sorry and everyone moved on.

But I keep thinking how much work people–like this person! This very person, in fact!–have done to try to increase diversity among genre participants. If you’re nervous about asking a question and question askers get liquor, do you feel like you’re being welcome to participate if your religion forbids the consumption of alcohol? Or same scenario, but you’re a recovering alcoholic.

If you want people different than you to feel welcome to participate in things, sometimes that does mean changing your own behavior. Some old, beloved traditions–like everyone drinking all the time–will have to be modified or left behind.

One thought on “Give Me Back My Alcohol

  1. There are lots of reasons to not want the drink. Lots of them might also make a person feel uncomfortably pressured into more disclosure of personal information than they’d like when refusing a drink.

    Or in some cases, turning down the drink might be disclosure in itself. Example: When my sister was just a few weeks pregnant and hadn’t told anyone yet, we all had to attend a family funeral. My parents offered her wine, which usually she would accept. When she refused, they knew.

    I can’t imagine how awkward that kind of thing might be in a professional context. What do people think when a young female colleague suddenly starts turning down drinks that she previously accepted?

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