We’ve all been taught that drinking isn’t very ladylike: my mother cautioned me as a child not to drink before I was of age because she “embarrassed herself” in her youth. I never asked any questions, and I didn’t drink more than a sip until that lychee martini I had on my 21st birthday. On the other hand, my father got made fun of for not liking alcohol in his younger days; today, people still tell him to “man up” and have a drink.
Why is it embarrassing for a woman to get drunk and emasculating for a man to choose sobriety? Prejudices from the Victorian years about drinking as a man’s activity remain today, apparently. A new study published in scientific journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that our language (especially on college campuses) indicates this double standard: a woman might be referred to as “tipsy” and a man described as “wasted” when both individuals are equally intoxicated. Drinking isn’t “ladylike,” so people actually assume that women don’t get as drunk as men.
As a result of this kind of thinking, people assume that girls are less drunk than they actually are and that men are more drunk. As The Atlantic Wire notes in its story on the study, underestimating the intoxication levels of women can put them in dangerous situations, and substance intervention on college campuses is mostly geared towards men. People of all genders enjoy alcohol safely, and people of all genders run risks when they drink excessively, so lets be sure to keep everyone safe, regardless of how “tipsy” or "wasted" he or she might appear.
Image via New York Magazine