Back in the old days, before gender equality and such things, women who drank excessively were considered untoward, ill sots, the kind you wouldn’t bring home to your mother, who only had a small sip of sherry when feeling poorly and then spat it out immediately. But today, the world has embraced the modern concept of women who drink. Women are in colleges, where people drink! Women are in workplaces, where people drink! Drinking is a social thing, and women are social people, and social people drink!
All of this seems O.K., equality-wise and otherwise (who wants to be social with someone who’s not drinking?), until we consider a new study from Columbia University. Women who drink are “increasingly at risk for the development of alcohol use disorders,” and “a culture of binge drinking may set the course for a lifetime of alcohol abuse.”
Buzzkill. But what’s to allegedly blame for this? Equality, and the strains it brings.
According to WebMD, addiction therapist Paul Leslie Hokemeyer, who practices at the Caron Treatment Center in New York, said: “This study empirically shows us that drinking trends are impacting women. After World War II, the role of women changed. More women entered the workforce, but they were also expected to be good mothers and wives. They have latched hold of alcohol as a coping mechanism because it is readily available and socially acceptable.”
Some stats: A fifth of women have three or more drinks a day; nearly half of men do. 60 percent of U.S. women who are over 18 have had at least one drink in the past year (72 percent of men have). And…”among women who drink, 13 percent have more than seven drinks per week.”
Of course, maybe this isn’t news, exactly: A report from 2008 stated that “Hard-fought gains in women’s rights come with an unwanted gain: rising rates of alcoholism in women born after 1953.”
The gap between male and female drinkers continues to decrease, with women, with smaller body weights, feeling the effects sooner, generally. But until we take this “drinking more” discussion out of the context of women’s rights, are we really all that equal? That’s the kind of question that makes us want to drink.