Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Wine Festival for Moms Sparks Firestorm over Drinking Culture

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Wine Festival for Moms Sparks Firestorm over Drinking Culture

Article excerpt

Wine festival for moms sparks firestorm

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TORONTO - A Toronto woman who organized a daytime wine festival for new mothers has found herself caught in a firestorm over the pervasiveness of alcohol at a time when heavy drinking is on the rise among women.

The weekday event, dubbed "A Very Mommy Wine Festival," was meant to give new moms a chance to get together and have fun without the judgment and "mommy-shaming" they consistently face, said organizer Alana Kayfetz.

The 33-year-old, who has a one-year-old son, argues the backlash is simply another facet of the pressure placed on mothers.

"If this was a man's beer fest where babies were welcome, it would be celebrated, it would be revered," Kayfetz said. "We would say 'Oh that's so cute, look at those dads guzzling beer and holding their babies.' No one would question it."

But critics, some of them experts on substance use, have expressed concerns that making alcohol a focus of social events normalizes drinking and increases the risk of binge-drinking, a behaviour that has grown among Canadian women despite hitting a plateau among men.

While the number of teen girls and women who reported drinking in the last year has not changed since the mid-1990s, the proportion of teen girls and women who reported heavy drinking has gone from 8.3 per cent in 2001 to 13.2 per cent in 2014, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada.

In comparison, the proportion of teen boys and men who reported heavy drinking in the last year has stayed around 23 per cent.

When having a drink or two is par for the course at social events, it can be a slippery slope, said Catherine Paradis, a senior research and policy analyst with the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

"The more you drink, the more likely you are to binge-drink," she said. Binge-drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks on one occasion for men, or four for women. …

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