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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Women of Western: CDC surprises many with new message

By Alyssa Evans

Part of America’s past time includes drinking an ice-cold beer — women are no exception to this. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an infographic that detailed women drinking could lead to STDs and unintended pregnancies. It also mentioned if women have eight or more alcoholic drinks a week, that could be the signs of a drinking problem.

This is the whole infographic:



The infographic’s original purpose was to prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and to remind women that drinking alcohol at any stage of pregnancy is unsafe.

While the CDC had good intentions, they certainly missed a few steps. Rather than making it clear that their intentions were to promote safety, they instead seemed to attack women.

By only approaching women and suggesting how they are to behave, women seem to be framed as the only ones responsible for becoming pregnant, which obviously isn’t the case.

Senior Anna Eifert, a vocal performance major, finds the ideas presented in the infographic to be one-sided and alarming.

“It’s really close-minded. It’s really thinking about women and how they should always be geared toward childbirth and that colonial idea is seeping through in this graphic,” Eifert said. “It’s horrifying that a woman needs to be cut-off from alcohol because their prime idea is to have kids and this is the best way they can do it.”

Like Eifert, several women have been alarmed by the infographic, pointing to its failure to consider every step needed to become pregnant.

One woman even made a “Birth Control + Booze Pairing” chart to help women taking birth control find the right beverage for them:


After dealing with backlash from the original infographic, the CDC’s principal deputy director Anne Schuchat defended the advice in a New York Times article.

“We’re really all about empowering women to make good choices and to give them the best information we can so they can decide what they want to do themselves,” Schuchat said in the article.

Drinking while pregnant is an issue to be concerned about, but so is implying that women drinking alcohol is what causes pregnancies.

An estimated 3.3 million women are at risk of exposing their developing babies to alcohol, according to the CDC, yet it is important to remember that women are more than baby-makers; they are people.

The CDC may have had good intentions, but their communication has room for improvement. We’ll see if next time their messages are a bit clearer.

What do you think about the CDC’s message to women? Do you think that they were right in the advice they gave to women? Let The Western Front know by tweeting @TheFrontOnline.


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