People Are Furious With This CDC Infographic

February 4th 2016

Women of the internet have spoken, and they're livid.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is gaining immense negative attention after releasing what many see as a condescending and backwards infographic, telling women drinking too much could subject them to violence, unwanted pregnancy, and other negative outcomes. The infographic and accompanying text overview are part of the organization's monthly Vital Signs report, and the CDC's goal is to reduce instances of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome in the United States. That message, however, was lost on many because of the condescending nature of the infographic.

The infographic.

CDC women and drinking infographicCDC -

Many have interpreted the warning about injuries/violence as sending a message to women that they shouldn't drink too much lest they are willing to face violence from others, a subtle form of victim-blaming.

The CDC states that more than three million women between the ages of 15 and 44 can expose a fetus to alcohol-related risks because they are drinking or not using birth control when consuming alcohol.

"About half of all US pregnancies are unplanned and, even if planned, most women do not know they are pregnant until they are 4-6 weeks into the pregnancy," the CDC states. "This means a woman might be drinking and exposing her developing baby to alcohol without knowing it."

The infographic also aims to control how much women are drinking. For example, It defines consuming eight or more drinks per-week and four of more drinks within two hours as "drinking too much for women." It also states that drinking any alcohol under the age of 21 is out of bounds for any woman. The infographic advises medical professionals to recommend birth control to women who drink and have sex, and it recommends that women who are trying to get pregnant stop drinking.

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The response.

People were quick to slam the CDC's seemingly puritanical advice. Washington Post writer Alexandra Petri noted that the infographic seems more focused on the health of non-existent fetuses than women by asking females not to drink if they aren't on birth control:

"No alcohol for you, young women! The most important fact about you is not that you are people but that you might potentially contain people one day. After all, pregnancies are often unplanned, so now it’s not just women who are trying to become pregnant but women who aren’t who need to lay off the alcohol, because 'You never know when pregnancy might strike!' and 'Think of the children!'"

Petri added that the infographic also appears to hold women responsible for any bad thing that might happen to them when drinking, such as getting injured or contracting an STD. This logic is reminiscent of Slate writer Emily Yoffe's suggestion that women "stop getting drunk" if they want to avoid sexual assault.

"I’ve said before — hey, here’s video of me saying it — that one of the unexpected costs of being female is that people keep holding you accountable for other people’s behavior," Petri wrote. "You thought you were just a person, but it turns out that you are a wizard. You control the actions of others by the way you choose to dress and walk and talk and live your life."

Here are some other scathing reactions to the infographic:

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