It’s 7.30am on a Saturday morning and, for some godforsaken reason, my phone alarm is ringing. My initial disorientation develops into sudden panic and I jolt up into a sitting position then fumble around to find my phone. For reasons beyond my knowledge at this moment, it is inside my bed. I quickly come to the realisation that my momentary rush of energy is not sustainable and, if I stay in this position for too long, last night’s McDonald’s Happy Meal (who still buys a Happy Meal?!) will resemble the furthest thing from ‘happy’ possible. It is the combination of these feelings that lead me to wholeheartedly accept that I am almost definitely still drunk from the night before. My head is pounding and the light seeping into my room from the crack in my curtains causes last night’s events to dawn on me. My palm reaches for my forehead in shame.
I did it again: I talked about feminism.
My stomach begins to swirl uncontrollably. At first, I think it’s probably the alcohol but it comes to my attention that it’s last night’s recollections that are causing me to feel this way.
I vaguely remember the conversation: it started with someone making a comment about the way a woman was dressed. Then it escalated and I was on a roll: safe spaces, equality in the workplace, and the value of care work – I lectured my peers with a sophisticated glass of Sauvignon Blanc in my hand on these topics of great importance. After a double G&T, I showed off with proclamations on intersectionality and self-regulatory behaviour and almost certainly dropped Foucault in to the conversation. Shots were downed and I veered to the feminist connotations of the Power Puff Girls and mumbled about how Disney combated and encouraged sexism simultaneously. I ranted about my confusion on Beyoncé being the feminist icon of the 21st century after another, less sophisticated, glass of wine, and recall debating one or more of Rihanna’s music videos. I said something about the constraints of body image and something else about the freedoms of it with a much-needed glass of tap water in my hand. I definitely shouted “DOWN WITH THE PATRIARCHY!” at least twice.
I eventually switch off my phone alarm and quickly turn the screen to face the bed. There is a high chance that I have clicked ‘Attending’ to some gender-related lectures on Facebook in my drunk state and left a passive-aggressive (mostly just aggressive) comment on the status of a classmate from primary school about how his views could be construed as sexist. Good riddance.
Now, let me make myself clear: talking about feminism is not a problem. In fact, it’s quite the opposite (see: every other article on this website). However, there is a time and a place for everything and I think it’s fair to say that 2am in a cocktail bar in Central London is probably not the time nor place to be delivering my feminist diatribe or any other semblance of intellect for that matter.
At the best of times I struggle to articulate my arguments in conversation and, given that drunkenness basically breeds poor communication and lack of clarity, trying to make a significant point in this state is virtually impossible and not advisable. You will not come across as intellectual, articulate and passionate. You probably come across as dogmatic, self-indulgent and aggressive. This, in my experience, is probably not the best way to illustrate your point, nor is it a good recipe for having a crazy-fun night out with your friends.
This occurrence of me trying to argue the feminist cause when intoxicated would not be so embarrassing were not the case that most of the people I hang out with are already sympathetic to gender equality. They have heard it all before from me. They have listened and been empathetic towards my concerns. They are not the problem and alcohol is also not the solution.
For the random strangers that I have engaged in conversation with while at a party or in a bar, they probably did not come out to hear a slurred rant on decreased government funding for domestic violence services or how unfair the Tampon Tax is. And when I say probably, I mean definitely, as much as I try to convince myself that that’s not true.
Moreover, talking about feminism has become a default position, an almost inevitable consequence of having a drink or two. If this were the occasional conclusion to a night out on the town, it would be fine. However, I am probably not doing feminism or myself any favours by ramming my ideas down people’s throats alongside a Tequila shot or two. I have become an oversharer, and just as people divulge more information than usual about their sex lives, exes and micromanaging boss when under the influence, I am no different as I bemoan the pay gap, maternity leave and how I need a husband who is willing to share the care.
Clearly, this is something that I care about a lot. Studies show that alcohol doesn’t make you become a different person – it just causes you to care less about how you are viewed by others. This could be related to self-regulation: there is a lack of ease talking about feminism in everyday conversation because of the stigma associated with it. One imposes a filter when discussing gender equality in everyday life for fear that others might judge them.
I mean, I would be inclined to agree with this if I didn’t already talk about these issues all the time: I have a Master’s degree in Gender and write for a website on the subject on a regular basis.
In truth, I probably just need to find more hobbies.
They say a drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts. Well for me, it looks like a drunk woman’s words are her less well-articulated thoughts on women’s rights, equality and the patriarchy more generally. Friends, please don’t stop talking about feminism. In fact, talk about it as much as you like, even when you’re drunk. I have tried, and failed, to bring it up less. But it looks like I’ve become a trope that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The next time Buzzfeed brings out a list on The Types of Drunk Friend Everyone Knows, I will be asking them to add another: I am a drunk feminist and I am here to stay.