Wearside Lib Dems slam “shockingly misogynist” Council anti-alcohol campaign

It’s good to see Wearside Lib Dems call out Sunderland Council for an incredibly ill-judged anti-alcohol campaign poster.

Labour may well be picking up votes amongst young people nationally, but they are defending a campaign with out-dated attitudes and sexism at it heart. We’ve won three Council by-elections in the area in the last year, which shows how out of touch Labour are with people. Our group leader Cllr Niall Hodson told the Sunderland Echo exactly why this campaign was so terrible.

It says it is likely young women drinking alcohol will have decisions made for them, will be ‘pressurized into having unsafe sex’ and that they need help to ‘make the right choices.’ “Why would you want to reinforce these negative stereotypes? What on earth does this say about young women’s agency in 2018, and why do they feel the need to depict pregnancy and young mothers so negatively? “I thought we were past this nonsense. The undercurrent of victim-blaming in the campaign is problematic too. “If a woman is ‘pressurized’ into having sex it is not her fault nor down to alcohol. Why does the campaign blame girls for the actions of people who abuse them? “If the council want to encourage parents to talk with their children about alcohol that’s great, but there is no need for them to denigrate young women while they’re at it.

You have to wonder how on earth this poster got past the number of people it needed to get past to be signed off. The Sunderland Lib Dems got support from our Education Spokesperson:

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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11 Comments

  • Labour group are doubling down on defending this on Twitter too.

  • I must admit I am struggling a bit with this, in my professional opinion the message is reasonably sound, it is not necessarily misognyist. It appears to highlight a real social problem that alcohol can help to create . Perhaps there could be a parallel campaign identifying the dangers and outcomes for young males through drink. Would that balance things?
    After all Rotherham, Rochdale, Newcastle, Norethanmpton, now apparently Telford appears to demonstrate the role alcohol plays or can play in the breakdown of your girls lives.

  • Jayne mansfield 17th Mar '18 - 10:36am

    Is it victim blaming?

    Don’t parents tell their daughters that there are those who will try to take take advantage of them so it is important to keep a clear head?

    What does it tell us about ‘agency’. It tells us that we have it. We don’t have to be swept along by ‘forces beyond our control’.

  • I guess if it had an accompanying poster telling parents to teach their male children that pressuring a drunk young women into sex is probably rape, leading to potentially prison and a lifetime on the sex offenders register it wouldn’t be as bad. On its own it does indeed appear to be victim blaming…..

  • So would the poster been okay if it had read: “Talk to your son about alcohol now, before it starts making decisions for him.” and the text beneath amended accordingly?

    interestingly, I think theakes is probably on the right track here, having visited https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/starttalking

    It would appear that this poster will be just one in a much bigger campaign about children and alcohol and parental responsibilities…

  • Malcolm Todd 17th Mar '18 - 1:53pm

    I don’t think there’s any other context where saying “protect yourself against the risk of crime” is interpreted as meaning “it’s your fault if someone commits a crime against you”.

    There are other things one could say about this poster, though – not least the fact that apparently the worst thing about getting drunk is that you could end up with a baby; I think some young mothers (perhaps even some young fathers) might find that rather offensive…

  • Theakes,
    Rotherham, Rochdale, Telford and host of others in fact tells us how very specific male criminal gangs targeted female children, who were often actually in the care of various local authorities at the time they were victims of these criminal gangs.
    I think this advert is misogynistic and I also agree with Malcolm Todd.

  • Jayne mansfield 17th Mar '18 - 9:27pm

    @ Malcolm Todd,
    Well yes and no.

    When I looked at the poster, I understood it as schoolgirl pregnancy, indicated by the young mother in a school uniform.

    There is ample evidence of a causal relationship and risky sexual behaviour ( even when there is a knowledge of the dangers.) Risky unprotected sex does not only lead to motherhood, there is the risk of STD’s.

    I suppose different people perceive the message differently. What is beyond doubt, as demonstrated by good evidence, is that there has been a rapid rise in anxiety, depression and self harming amongst young girls over the past decade.

    The people who are intimately affected by the terrible distress of young girls, are their parents, many who have lost confidence or need help in gaining the confidence, to guide their children in ways that are not damaging to their self- esteem, or limiting to their life choices, given the reality of the environment in which they are developing.

    Quite frankly, when pointing the misogyny finger,I am more concerned about the misogyny that has led to women suffering grossly disproportionately from austerity. Something that was a choice.

  • Malcolm Bond 18th Mar '18 - 12:34am

    Most significant thing about this campaign for me (as 65 year old), is that every comment on Twitter etc., from the age demographic closest to the target audience considers this campaign is either totally inappropriate and/or ineffective……. QED

  • There is a strong need for Temperance. Too many lives are destroyed by alcohol in Britain today.

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