Half Of British Women (And Two Thirds Of Men) Are Drinking Too Much
The Debrief: But how do you think the papers have reported it?
According to a headline in that old stalwart of righteousness, the Daily Express, ‘HALF OF BRITISH WOMEN HAVE DRINK PROBLEM, SHOCKING FIGURES REVEAL’.
What they mean is a new study found that 55% of women and 63% of men (that’s almost two-thirds!) are problem drinkers but that women are treated disproportionately badly over their association with drink. Maybe the whole headline wasn’t just a sexist assumption that it’s worse for women to have a drink problem than men, but an ironic take on the report?
The Global Drug Survey 2015 says that British women are the fifth biggest boozers in the world while British men are the sixth, and Dr Adam Winstock, who helped conduct the survey, said: ‘This year’s survey found UK women drink far more than their global counterparts and over half of female drinkers are consuming levels of alcohol associated with harm.
‘One of the real problems for female drinkers is stigma and shame and we don’t make it easy for people to know how much they’re drinking, what they’re drinking, and how much harm it can really do.’
Maybe, just maybe, women drinkers might drink a little less if there was less focus put on it as if they’re worse than men, even when they’re actually not as bad as men. When two out of three of the 8,416 alcohol-related deaths last year were male deaths, you’ve got to wonder who’s being helped by headlines that focus on drinking as a female problem.
Sir Ian Gilmore, of the Royal College of Physicians and chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: ‘These findings show that excessive drinking is viewed as a social norm and is widely accepted as part of an average night out.’
He also explained that the average person just doesn’t know the long-term risks of alcohol consumption, and that it’s not individuals with a problem, it’s the UK that has a problem.
‘Without effective interventions to change our relationship with alcohol, we will be storing up major problems for the future,’ he said.
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