11 Oct 2010, Comments (10)


Author: Helen

I have a sinking feeling about this press release printed in our school newsletter:

“Drink Think” a play performed by a group of young women will be held at The Substation, Newport on Thursday October 14th at 7.00pm. This FREE, not for profit event has been organised by students from Victoria University’s Sport and Recreation course as part of their Event Management class.
The play focuses on the dangers of teenage binge drinking and is an educational yet entertaining play that is followed up with question time after it. On the night there will also be a special A-list guest speaker and free meals and beverages for everyone who attends.
We strongly encourage our Year 9, 10 and 11 students to attend this performance and welcome all parents and teachers along as well. It has been recommended however, that children of a young age do not attend as there is strong language in the play.

Well, how could that possibly end up as “”Hey, “Girls”, think before you drink because you’re the one responsible for not being raped!” Yes, happy to be proved wrong.

We’ve all been talking quite a lot about victim-blaming and slut-shaming failure in the way we talk to our girls and boys about sex and safety. Just look at the comments thread on any article on the topic of s8xual assault and r8pe in bloke culture: if a woman is dressed counter to current standards of virginal modesty or present in a vulnerable situation after hours, they assume men have the right of access to her. The same people, on another thread somewhere, will be condemning immigrant societies for their medieval attitudes to womens’ dress and freedom of movement (you know, because of our superior Western Civ and all, in which women are completely equal). Excuse me while my head meets the desk.

I’m sure the subject of drinking and driving will be addressed as well, which is good, as long as the young ones listen.

I’m just wondering whether, as a study of binge drinking, this play is going to reflect the new call for male responsibility (and refusal to treat men/boys as animals who can’t control their primal urges), or whether it’ll be just more of the same exhortations to women not to get themselves raped.

Anyway, if any Melbourne femmobloggers and allies are reading this and are not too busy on Thursday night, I encourage you to get along to the Substation in Newport (if you like cool architecture, and Melbourne’s old substations are Victorian classics, that’s another reason to go), and participate in the Question time. I have a feeling that if it’s another “ThinkUknow”, this bunfight might be needing a feminist voice.

You never know – my low expectations might be totally unfounded. I’ll report back!
Update: OK… Debrief!

It was a student play. “Drink Think” was the name of the group. The play itself was called “West Side: My Story”. There were six or seven young women acting and only one man, who was played as a dead-set sweetie. It passed the Bechdel test. It did not slutshame. Because the only male role was kind-of modelling ideal behaviour, well, there’s that, but they bypassed the toxic dynamic we’ve been talking about by not addressing it at all. In a way, perhaps, that allowed them to present binge drinking as something that damages everyone (car accidents, death, losing sight of important life goals), and get the male actor to demonstrate being a good human being rather than the predator. I’m not sure how many hardcore entitled douchebags it would really convert, but they’re taking it around the secondary schools and apparently it’s shutting year 10s up stone cold on their lunchtimes, and that’s got to mean something.

It was supported by the Victorian Womens’ trust, which does some wonderful things. I didn’t offer any questions at question time because the slut-shaming and “personal responsibility! For girls only!” stuff really wasn’t apparent, and to introduce a big new (sub)topic didn’t seem appropriate.

Kudos to the Victoria University students who put the event on and gave us free sandwiches, choccies and coffee!

Comments (10) »

  • My clothing opinion is that we should all wear burquas, and that men need to join their Brownlow C*unt dates and wear Pushup WonderDaks to lift their assets for admiration.
    We need to revive the Temperance Societies of the past. There was one in Russell Street Melb I recall clearly in the mid-Sixties.
    ‘Lips that touch drink shall never touch mine’ etc.

  • Helen says:

    Stacks, you remember what happened last time we went anywhere with an entourage in half burqua, half Brownlow Medal gear. It just confuses people. (I’m only relieved we escaped with our lives.)

  • Kath Lockett says:

    I read about the ‘DrinkThink’ play in our local paper and remember my heart sinking into my cereal at the time.

    Not only for the reasons that so describe so much better than I can, but because there really isn’t – irrespective of gender – much opportunity for the ‘ol synapses and cells to do much thinking (if any at all) when they’re sozzled.

    That doesn’t excuse rape or humiliating photos on facebook or even urinating on someone’s car as you stagger home after a ‘great night’ that you can’t quite remember but alcohol doesn’t make you ‘think’. Quite the opposite in fact.

  • Kath Lockett says:

    ‘so describe’ should be YOU describe, dear Helen. Every time you write I find myself nodding in agreement and envy!

  • hannah's dad says:


    You can listen online according to the blurb.


    “We speak with academic psychologist Dr. Cordelia Fine. Her new book, Delusions Of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference, challenges the assumption that gender roles are wired into our brains, and shows us how ubiquitous cultural stereotypes are mistaken for actual fact.”

  • Helen says:

    Thanks Kath and HD – HD, I’ll move your comment over to the Fine thread from where it’s wandered, for now have to go & collapse after a long week’s work!

    Short Drink Think debrief: Mostly Harmless.

  • derrida derider says:

    Young women shouldn’t ever have to fear rape as the consequence of getting shit-faced (lord knows there’s enough other dangers in it without that). But the inconvenient fact is that they DO – it only takes one deadshit in the company to seriously wreck a night. Sorry, but I advised my daughter when she was a teenager to not to get drunk in mixed company – it’s not worth it just to make an ideological point.

    So I reckon the play is ideologically sound. Whether it will be any more effective than a father’s advice in changing teenage behaviour is, of course, another matter …

  • Helen says:

    DD, do you advise your son/s to restrict his/their freedom of movement equally?

    We have massive injuries and sometimes deaths from male-on-male violence in King street, but we don’t, as a society, tell young men not to go out clubbing.

    The crux of the matter is that we think of male entitlement as something that can’t be changed (and biologically unchangeable – “urges”). This is the pessimistic view of men. Contrary to popular opinion, some of us feminists are more optimistic about the capacity of men not to feel entitled to rape any woman who’s in a vulnerable position, if they’re not brought up since birth with the same old gender tropes.

    Big topic, but I think you get where I’m coming from. And yes, it’s ultimately about your daughter’s freedom of movement being disproportionately restricted according to her gender. Not cool, in a society which preens itself as being so superior to others with respect to womens’ freedoms.

    Also, “the play is ideologically sound” is moot, since I didn’t describe it, having not seen it when I wrote the post (not review!) Will scribble something when I have time.

  • Helen says:

    …I’ve written a short update (see the end of the original post).

  • blue milk says:

    Thanks for the linky love.

    Nice call of yours on this press release – victim-blaming is so pervasive huh.

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