Framing women’s alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic

Gemma Cobb (18 Oct 2023): Framing women’s alcohol consumption during
the COVID-19 pandemic, Feminist Media Studies, DOI: 10.1080/14680777.2023.2266583
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This article is a feminist framing analysis of the Anglophone media’s construction of women’s alcohol consumption during the COVID19 pandemic lockdowns of 2020–2021. The media periodically generate panic around women’s drinking, especially in relation to motherhood and domestic responsibilities. When research studies published during the pandemic declared that women had increased their alcohol consumption, this prompted renewed media interest in the topic. At the same time, lockdowns forced many people into domestic settings they had not previously experienced and highlighted the gendering of household responsibilities.

The surge in news articles on women’s drinking during this time offers a unique opportunity to critically explore how the media frame women and alcohol. Through analysis of 93 print and online news articles from a set of Anglophone countries, four central frames are identified: conflation of women and mothers; juxtaposition of women and men; drinking as a coping mechanism; drinking as detrimental to bodily appearance. In what follows, I show how the media invoke gender norms to frame women’s drinking during a turbulent time in recent history.

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