If you’re anything like me, then you’ll enjoy the odd bottle of beer or cider; likewise, if you’re anything like me, then you may have found yourself feeling rather patronised by a certain little logo, which now seems to appear on each and every bottle of booze sold in the country. It’s a logo which presents itself as a ban on something, with its recognisable circle around the image and a line through it – though it has absolutely no authority to ban anything. And what does it supposedly veto?
The image in question is a young, pregnant woman, hair scraped into a cheeky ponytail – and a glass of alcohol in her hand, the selfish bitch. Those responsible for labelling our beer want to make it clear in no uncertain terms – drinking in pregnancy is not on. And no consumer, man or woman, young or old, will ever be permitted to forget it.
Thing is, there are a hell of a lot of people who should avoid excessive drinking – if we’re going to identify key groups at all. A hell of a lot of people. Here are a few, off the top of my head. Surgeons. Diabetics. People with a history of violence. People with heart disease. People who routinely wield heavy machinery. Stay at home dads. These are all people who might be perfectly fine on a few beers, but may risk their health if they overdo it – but they don’t get a logo of their own, and I’m convinced that’s not just because it would be a lot bloody harder to design.
The fact is that those joyless cunts at the Portman Group (that most bone-chilling entity, a ‘responsibility body’) and all of the legislators who willingly roll over for them know that their deep feelings of antipathy towards booze can be best represented with that image. Looking like they only want the best for mums and babies works to their advantage. Because everyone loves babies, don’t they? And if we’re continually reminded that booze and babies don’t mix, with a neat little logo to boot, then the good guy message rumbles on contentedly. We have, after all, created a culture where pregnancy is treated like some sort of exalted state, rather than what it is – a side-effect of contraceptive-free fucking. More than this, pregnancy is a useful political tool, and everyone is all too ready to offer their opinions on ‘how best’ people should behave. Portman et al know this, and they’re using it to their advantage.
The logo, and the message, is as completely redundant as it is dishonest. Of course I’m not advocating women in the family way getting shitfaced – far from it. But there are women who do just that, and it seems unlikely they’ll be dissuaded from their actions by spotting the little health warning on their bottle of Lambrini. For the rest of the world’s pregnant women, they either already know all of this (in which case the logo is pointless) or else, they know that one glass of wine here or there isn’t going to turn Junior into the baby from Eraserhead – in which case, the logo is also pointless. As I say, I’m not advocating pregnant women getting shitfaced. But it seems likely to me that a tiny amount here or there isn’t going to make the world spin off its axis. The entirety of Great Britain would have wiped itself out with foetal alcohol syndrome centuries back. Yet it didn’t. A glass of stout for a pregnant woman used to come recommended by the doctor. I don’t think because we’ve stopped that practice, we’ve evolved into higher lifeforms. Could it be that the health risks have been a teensy bit exaggerated for political reasons, and then manipulated by the types of people who either wilfully misunderstand alcohol, or are just too thick to get it? Oh, surely
This sort of patronising bollocks is exactly what we have all come to expect, I know. But, in one neat little image, my bottles of beer will now always remind me that the great moral guardians of the British public are out of touch, condescending fucktards. There’s a great irony to a ‘responsibility body’ seeming to think we aren’t capable of any responsibility of our own. Especially those silly women.