A. M. Atkinson, B. R. Meadows & H. R. Sumnall; Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy; Nov. 2022
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 products
and 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
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 prob