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Anti-Binge Drinking Campaign Slut-Shames Drunk Girls

Curbing dangerous binge drinking on a college campus? An admirable goal. Slut-shaming women whose inhibitions melt away when soused? Not so much.

The University of Minnesota debuted a new anti-binge drinking campaign called “The Other Hangover,” which warns students to think about how their reputation will be tarnished if they do stupid things while drunk. It was created by students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications for the 2009 National Student Advertising Competition. It’s an ad campaign blitzkrieg with billboards, coasters, sidewalk clings, magnets, and mirror clings all around the campus. Some of the sentiments on “the social consequences” of drinking: “‘But I was drunk,’ doesn’t repair the friendship” or “Just because you were drunk, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” which is innocuous enough. But others are straight-up slut-shaming young adults for being sexual.Two of The Other Hangover’s ads are especially problematic to me: the ones where a girl pulls her top off — once in front of a group of boys and another in front of kids playing pool — and both ads read, “Reputations aren’t drunk-proof.”

There’s one ad that shows a guy wrapping his arm around a girl and the tag line reads, “Before you got wasted, you weren’t known as ‘The Creep.’”

Why didn’t the ads warn the guys to worry about their “reputations,” though? Boys are just told not to act like “a creep” — which is a pretty confusing message, considering a lot of people drink precisely to loosen themselves up sexually. As Anna North at Jezebel wrote, “As is so often the case, ‘reputation’ here is code for ‘don’t be a slut.’ Specifically, don’t show your dirty pillows to dudes … or they will never respect you again.”

(I mean, in one way I’m glad the campaign included boys being slut-shamed in the “creep” ad and the one where a boy and girl get nasty looks for making out on a pool table. Sstill, being “fair” about slut-shaming is not something you should aspire to.)

Honestly, I’m surprised an anti-binge drinking campaign completely ignored something that is a common byproduct of alcohol use: date rape. Treating the local bar as a Mardi Gras Parade is not the most grave thing that could happen when your judgment is clouded, you know? In my book, a much more impactful anti-binge drinking ad campaign would have been one that reminded guys to respect boundaries and get consent even when a girl is drunk. That, to me, is a hell of a lot more important than not being gossiped about in class on Monday.

[The Other Hangover]
[Facebook/TheOtherHangover]
[Jezebel.com]

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