It's hard to be a feminist when you're drunk. It's not that drinking isn't ladylike or that women shouldn't drink at all; my point is neither meant to be puritanical nor draconian. But how true to your own ideals, principles, and sense of self can you be if one is drowning that sense of self in booze?Whenever a woman hands her power to someone else--in this case, something else, alcohol--she is less than. "[A] woman exerting her power by making herself, to one degree or another, incapacitated," as a New York article by Alex Morris about young women and alcohol put it, is a disjunction, even if the women Morris interviewed did not want it to be so. And, once to the point of addiction, a woman is a slave to the bottle; what kind of feminist is a slave?
Still, in a pop landscape that turns drunk women into comedic icons, it’s easy to see why bingeing might at least appear empowering. Every swilled cosmopolitan on “Sex in the City” is fetishized; indeed, the pink martini has become a kind of symbol of female liberation. (Never mind that actress Kristin Davis, who plays
A year and a half ago, the
"I don't want to be the girl that laughs the loudest
Or the girl who never wants to be alone
I don't want to be that girl at 4 o'clock in the morning
Cause I'm the only one you know in the world that won't be home"
Pink's video portrays the hackneyed moments of any drunken evening: inexplicable laughter, drunk dialing, stumbling into the room, listing over the toilet bowl ("When it's good, then it's good, it's so good, til it goes bad"). But the song's true subject is more substantial. It's about her struggle to know her sober self, and to resist the siren song of evening: "Night is calling. It whispers to me softly, 'Come and play.'" Scared of the silence left in the absence of a party, but just as scared of staying up until dawn yet again, Pink is left tortured by these halves of herself. Finally, a special effects-aided Pink is seen throwing another Pink onto a bed and kissing her, twin alter-egos with an intense desire for what the other represents: free and fun Pink; smart and savvy Pink.
It is a vivid depiction of what happens when an addict has to mourn the person alcohol made her. "I'm looking for myself sober," Pink belts outs in the chorus. What else can she do? The drunk party-girl in the video is out of control, lost within the party, half-dressed, confused, sick, passed out. It turns out being a party girl isn’t all cosmos and snarky asides. Remarkably, Pink is perhaps the only pop-culture figure today who is actually struggling with the question of what it means to drink to excess and still be a powerful woman. Recognizing the impotency that comes with too much alcohol doesn’t make Pink no fun; it makes her smart. And in the current climate, it makes her brave, too.
Sacha Zimmerman is a frequent contributor to The
By Sacha Zimmerman