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‘You’re in the alcohol Matrix, then you unplug from it, and you’re like ‘Wow’’’: exploring sober women’s management, negotiation and countering of alcohol marketing in the UK

Atkinson, AM, Meadows, BR and Sumnall, H (2022) ‘You’re in the alcohol Matrix, then you unplug from it, and you’re like ‘Wow’’’: exploring sober women’s management, negotiation and countering of alcohol marketing in the UK. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy. ISSN 0968-7637

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/09687637.2022.2145935 (Published version)


Background: Alcohol marketing influences drinking practices, and this helps shape how gender identities are constructed. This paper presents research exploring how women who are sober manage and
negotiate their non-drinking and sober identities in neo-liberal contexts that market alcohol productsand consumption as a defining feature of feminine identities.
Methods: Semi-structured in-depth interviews (n ¼ 15) and online content produced by sober women active in the positive sobriety community on the social media platform Instagram were analysed using thematic analysis.
Findings: Women negotiated marketing messages within their everyday experiences of sobriety, with associations between drinking and motherhood, female friendship and empowerment, discussed as
impacting their drinking, lived experience and sense of self. They negotiated such messages, and created alternative ways of ‘doing femininity’ as sober women, through distancing themselves from their previous drinking identities; rejecting, reworking and countering marketing that links alcohol use to femininity; and alternative consumption practices.
Conclusion: Instagram allowed women to publicly critique and counter marketing messages in ways that unlinked alcohol use, but not consumption more generally, from femininity, in traditional and
news ways. Marketing regulation should consider how those experiencing problematic alcohol use may be particularly vulnerable to marketing messages, in ways that are gendered.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1117 Public Health and Health Services; 1605 Policy and Administration; Substance Abuse
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5410 Marketing. Distribution of Products
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2022 11:30
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2023 15:31
DOI or ID number: 10.1080/09687637.2022.2145935
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18435
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