Everyone seemed to welcome the Myleene Klass post as a bit of light relief from my anti-neopro posts, so here’s a happy medium between the two, specially for Cooking Lager. Have a look at this poster, which is currently displayed on a crosstrack site at Finsbury Park Tube:
It’s safe to assume that these three ladies are not policewomen on duty, and should therefore not be wearing policewomen’s hats. But they are. That’s because they’re partying. They’re on a night out. They are cheeky – as well as the hats, one of them is sticking her tongue out at the camera. But that’s really all we can imply from the picture.
And what’s the caption? That’s right: ‘alcohol misuse in England is costing the NHS £2.7 billion a year’.
Simply because these women are having a good time on a night out, the implication is that they are ‘misusing’ alcohol. We’re used to the widely repeated images of women with their knickers round their ankles, or collapsed in the street, but now, you don’t even have to do that – simply by being young, happy and out with your friends, you look like someone who is ‘misusing’ alcohol.
Look again at the picture: they don’t look bleary-eyed. Their make-up is in good condition. They look quite sharp and alert. Their behaviour doesn’t look outrageous – they’re simply posing for a photo. They’re not doing anything anti-social. In fact quite the opposite, they look very friendly. They show no signs of intoxication whatsoever. Christ, it could be a teetotaller’s fancy dress party for all we know. But they’re still ‘misusing’ alcohol.
The tiny writing up in the corner says ‘representative image used’. In other words, this photo was probably posed by models. But these healthy, attractive, perfectly turned out models are quite clearly meant to ‘represent’ alcohol misuse.
And this isn’t an ad from a temperance or health group – it’s an ad for ITV news. It’s not attempting to define what constitutes alcohol misuse, merely reflect contemporary understanding of what alcohol misuse is, and who is doing the misusing.
The social demonisation of alcohol continues apace.