Why is Women Drinking Alcohol Stigmatized?

A Woman drinking alcohol is always seen worse than a man drinking alcohol. Why is alcohol reserved only for men?

Actress Samantha Ruth Prabhu recently faced backlash for endorsing an alcohol brand. At the same time, male film stars had been endorsing alcohol brands for so many years and have never faced any backlash. But a woman associating with alcohol is always seen as a bad thing.

Alcohol in any case is a double-edged sword, and excess consumption of it is bad for both men and women. Yet men consuming alcohol is considered as a natural and given situation and a woman consuming alcohol is considered as an exception. New studies show that a woman who drinks are judged more severely than men who drink. A woman who drinks is seen as a ‘loose character’, and more sexually available.

At the same time, men can drink as much as they want, and this is just seen as a display of their manliness. In India, it’s mostly men who drink. In smaller cities, women do not even have access to alcohol. They cannot think about going to a beverage shop and buying one bottle, because that is seen as such a crime and abomination in society. At the same time, men can even sleep on the road being drunk and nobody thinks anything of that.

The case of big cities is different. Usually, unmarried young women are free to consume alcohol. This dynamic changes once a woman is married. Once married, we naturally assign her priorities to her family. And a married women ‘partying’ is seen as a bad thing, and it is automatically assumed that she is not fulfilling her responsibilities towards her family and is behaving like a ‘loose character’.

At the same time, married or not married, old or young, men are free to buy and consume alcohol in a public or private setting.

In early 2018, Goa’s Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar, faced fire after reportedly saying, “I have begun to fear now because even the girls have started drinking beer … the tolerance limit is being crossed.” This provoked women on social media to post pictures of themselves with their respective drinks under the hashtag #GirlsWhoDrinkBeer. Parrikar later claimed his quote was taken out of context. But this is the attitude of a lot of people in this country.

Why this double standard when it comes to drinking alcohol? Because women are still seen as not equal to men. Women are seen as beings that should only stay home and should not ‘party’. Even parties with no alcohol are mostly not really allowed for married women. They are supposed to have no personal leisure and fun time.

There is also a safety concern. If a woman gets drunk and is unable to take care of herself, there would be a few men there waiting to take advantage of her. But taking advantage of anyone when they are in an intoxicated state is a crime. And if a woman is drinking in a setting where she is safe and there are people to take her safely home, it should be okay.

Again, consuming alcohol is dangerous to the health of both genders. But we should stop this double standard. Women deserve to enjoy life as much as men do. We are all just human and we all should be equal in every term. 

-Staff Reporter

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