Alcoholism & The Female Body: Bod-ttle Cap

Illustration of ‘Bod-ttle Cap’

Major Themes: Alcoholism, Capitalism, Body-image 


Artist Statement: 

In a 2013 public health report performed by Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), researchers revealed that Canadians’ consumption of alcohol is reported to be 50% above the global average. 

13.45% of the population being females, who were reported as heavy drinkers. 56% amongst these female subjects admitted to binge-drinking 4 bottles or more in per sitting, beginning at the age of 15. 

Today, alcohol-abuse has spiralled into the 3rd most prominent cause of our global health liability, such as: alcoholic liver diseases, motor vehicle accidents and alcohol-related suicides. There is a noticeable rise in the overconsumption of alcohol, especially amongst the younger female demographics. 

Why is that? Can the public’s perception of alcohol be a major influence? The media sells alcohol as a symbol of luxury, pleasure, success, confidence and the means to release or relieve. With the rise of anxiety since the industrial age, the abuse of alcohol grew. 

Today, staggering on top of the Jenga of anxiety to live the ‘American dream’, is an image driven and high tech era. Where a woman’s body image is constantly the hot topic in our day to day interactions. Social media, music, fashion, entertainment; it often revolves around the external image of a female, normalizing having an ideal standard for how one’s physical body should look like. It is no wonder such arrays of social pressures emphasized on the female body leads to a young girl’s consumption of a product that ultimately provides a short term relief from these overwhelming and unwanted apprehensions. 

With everyday technologies such as smartphones, alcohol brands now target selling these fantasy frameworks and visual imageries constantly to subjects with fragile body-image — potential customers. These advertisements replay constantly day and night, making it hard not to indulge in the false ideas they sell.

Today, the consumption of alcohol– a product that is sold continuously as a stress-free and pleasurable experience is cumulating at an unmanageable rate. This is the consequence of society’s oppression on one’s perception of their own bodies, resulting in a self-obstructing behaviour seen amongst young women today. A product should not define one’s body and identity. 

Let’s take a sip and reflect! 


References: 

Bernhardsson, Josefin, and Alexandra Bogren. “Drink sluts, brats and immigrants as others: An analysis of Swedish media discourse on gender, alcohol and rape.” Feminist Media Studies 12.1 (2012): 1-16. 
Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction and University of Victoria Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (2018). Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms 2007-2014. Retrieved from: https://www.ccsa.ca/sites/default/files/2019-04/CSUCH-Canadian-Substance-Use-Costs-Harms-Report-2018-en.pdf 
Rehm, J., Mather, C., Popova, S., Thavorncharoensap, M., Teerawattananon, Y., Patra, J. (2009). Global burden of disease and injury and economic cost attributable to alcohol use and alcohol-use disorders. Lancet, 373, 2223-2233. 
Statistics Canada (2015). Control and sales of alcoholic beverages, for the year ending March 31, 2014. Ottawa ON: Statistics Canada. 
Koordeman, R., Anschutz, D. J., Engels, R. C. (2012). The effect of alcohol advertising on immediate alcohol consumption in college students: an experimental 


Culture and Consumerism: The Statue of Luxury

GIF of the artwork, ‘Statue of Luxury’

Major Themes: Consumerism, Capitalism, Consumer’s choice


The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture erected on Liberty Island in New York, United States since October 28, 1886. The monument was a gift from France proposed by Edouard de Laboulaye, a French political thinker, to commemorate Americans’ fight for abolition of slavery in 1886. Laboulaye believed that abolition not only eradicates immorality, but more importantly he perceived it as a means to protest against authoritarian tendencies from France at the time. 

Standing tall is the figure of Libertas, a robed Roman liberty goddess. She embraces a torch with a gilded flame with her right hand raised high above her head, while carrying a tabula ansata in her left arm, inscribed in Roman with “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776)— the date of the U.S Declaration of Independence. Today, she serves as an internationally recognized symbol of freedom.

In the era of Technological Revolution, a new form of repression has arisen. The conquest of global secular capitalism has arrived, driven by the authority of consumer culture. Material goods we purchase resemble social statuses and furthermore embodies an emotional attachment to them. Goods are not only purchased for their material aspects, but rather for what they universally symbolize— their connotations and reflection of one’s value and identity in this world. 

As we enter society and begin to develop a sense of agency, it becomes inevitable to conform to the structure of social consumer culture and capitalism. Quoted from sociologists, Josée Johnston and Judith Taylor, “Consumerism puts forward a worldview in which consumption is at the center of meaningful existence and shopping is the ideal form of participation in struggles for social change.” Equating personal happiness with acquiring material possessions results in an unsustainable and material-obsessed world which we live in today. We’ve become accustomed to this lifestyle, allowing it to bleed into our everyday lives, conversations and agendas. 

How did we confuse this modern culture of muddling freedom with consuming more and more as a source of liberation? Is freedom defined by having an abundance of products and services? 

It is important for us to be self-aware and question whether we are living a life of liberty or luxury.


References:
Markus Walz, Sean Hingston and Mikael Andéhn. “The magic of ethical brands: Interpassivity and the thievish joy of delegated consumption.” Ephemera: theory and politics in organization. Vol.14(1) 57-80.
Zizek, Slavoj. “Fat Free Smoking and Absolutely No Smoking: Why Our Guilt About Consumption is All Consuming.” Http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/may/21/prix-pictet-photography-prize-consumption-slavoj-zizek 
RSA Animate, “Ethics of Consumption-Cultural Captialism”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRvRm19UKdA
America’s Story: The Statue of Liberty Arrived in New York Harbor, June 19, 1885: http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/gilded/jb_gilded_liberty_1.html Description: Library of Congress: America’s Story telling about the arrival of the Statue of Liberty
American Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty: http://www.americanheritage.org/elementary.html Description: Cut apart The New Colossus poem

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