Stevie Martin | Staff Writer | Friday, 27 February 2015

We Love Drunk Ed Sheeran. But Why Is It Mostly P****d Women Who Get All The Media Attention?

The Debrief: Why do we vilify drunk women and call drunk men legends?

Ed Sheeran won two BRIT awards and did what any right-minded young man who had just won two BRIT awards would do - got totally shitfaced. There's something brilliant about seeing a celebrity give almost no fucks about the paparazzi as they stumble out of a club and sit in the taxi with their head between their legs as if they're about to be sick. We've all done it. It makes us remember how yeah, we're all human. Even Ed Sheeran. 

Because drunk women are punished, and are a liability, and might even reveal their nipple - whereas with guys, it's just a bit amusing

But I can't help notice the difference between Ed Sheeran coming out of a club/party drunk, and Charli XCX - who was pictured in the Metro under the title 'I'm looking a right Charli' with some blurb about how drunk she was. Ed got nothing more than a short caption that reads 'Ed is held up by a bouncer' with a funny picture of him looking unsteady, in comparison to Charli who has a closeup of her face with eyes half closed and whole paragraph dedicated to how she was 'looking hammered', 'caught bleary-eyed' with 'her long hair falling across her face as she stumbled out of the Freemasons' Hall in London.' Similary, in the MailOnline report, Ed Sheeran just looked 'ungainly', and that he 'didn't look comfortable on his feet' whereas Charli XCX had 'almost revealed too much under her sheer top'. Shock, horror. Nobody mentioned that Ed Sheeran was so sweaty you could nearly see his nipples. Because drunk women are punished, and are a liability, and might even reveal their nipple - whereas with guys, it's just a bit amusing. Plus he's just won two BRITs, he's allowed to go out and celebrate, #LADS, etc. 

This comes after the classic annual Daily Mail headlines after New Year's Eve. The print edition ran a main feature on how drunk we Brits get - but featuring pictures only of drunk women on the cover. The online version, lead with the 1950s headline: '...and some rather unseemly behaviour from the gentler sex!' despite the fact that all the images of women depict them stumbling about and all the pictures of men are linked to actual violence. In fact, in one picture, a man seems to be punching a woman. Surely this deserves a mention in the headline, rather than the unseemly women who dare to get their legs out and fall over?  

It's been bubbling in the media for a while, this idea that there's nothing more embarrassing or controversial than a woman stumbling out of a club drunk. You know the names of the female young celebrities who have struggled with drink or drugs in the past, because you've seen the pictures. A cursory Google image search of the words 'Britney Spears drunk' will illustrate the extent to which paparazzi wish to villify a woman with rumoured issues around alcohol. Conversely, do a Google image search of 'Zac Efron drunk' and you get far fewer hits. 

Try and think of a young male celebrity who has had the same media attention (in terms of their substance abuse, alcohol abuse, or partying) as Lindsay Lohan. Paris Hilton. Tara Palmer Tomkinson. The Sun even put manpower behind ensnaring Tulisa by getting her to hook an undercover reporter up with someone who deals cocaine, and it became a huge story despite the fact that she said during the sting that she doesn't do cocaine herself. I mean, my dad could probably tell you the name of someone who could sort you out with cocaine and he barely drinks. Fallen women sells papers, and people are seemingly obsessed with idea of 'the gentler sex' (vomit) doing decidedly non-gentle. 

Justin 'I piss in buckets at restaurants' Bieber has been highly publicised for his antics, but it's Selena Gomez who got the alcoholic, cocaine addict rumours. Justin Bieber got weed and sizzurp. Sizzurp. I mean, come on mate. Just take the following stories on both Justin and Selena's partying as an example: 'Following a night of partying at his Beverly Hills home, Justin Bieber looked sleeping and a tad unimpressed as he sipped a coffee...' and 'It seemed like he had a lot on his mind' versus 'What Rehab? Selena Gomez Lets Loose At Oscars After-Party: "She Was Drinking & Stumbling All Over," Says Eyewitness'. 

It can, of course, be cool when girls do it in the right cirumstances - Jennifer Lawrence saying she just 'did a shot' during the Oscars is one thing, and we even saw her falling over, but it was a Disney princess fall. A sort of beautiful fall. She didn't then faceplant the ground next to a taxi and smear her lipstick all over her face. We know this because, if she had, we'd have seen it on the front pages the next day. 

When proper girls get accidentally too drunk, they quietly take themselves home after apologising profusely and get an early night 

There's no 'girls will be girls' saying, but there is a 'boys will be boys', and perhaps it's reflected in the university lad culture we hear so much about, and probably experienced (especially if you went to a red brick uni) - the whole 'you're a legend if you get naked in the bar and vomit on yourself after drinking a yard of beer' thing. Trust me, the girls who were renowned for drinking lots at my university weren't thought of as legends, people were a bit scared of them.

I know this because I was one of them - I would party a lot and do a lot of shots, and get talked about in hushed tones. Once I heard a rumour that I drank three bottles of Rose a night. This was completely untrue and I was, in fact, drinking way less than most of my guy mates (and I never touched drugs) but it didn't matter because I was a girl in a nice dress yelling 'GET IT DOWN ZULU WARRIOR' like a moron, which made people feel confused. Why? Because girls shouldn't get drunk. Girls shouldn't be gross. Girls don't vomit. When proper girls get accidentally too drunk, they quietly take themselves home after apologising profusely and get an early night. 

Which is why I love it that Charli XCX posted a photo of herself, in all her drunken glory, to instagram the next day with the caption 'Classic'. If we own those nights where we overindulge, and refuse to feel too shamed by them (unless of course you've got a problem, or you killed a man - in which case, obviously get help), then we're taking a step towards being treated like the gross humans we are. That we all are - whether we're male or female. 

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Tags: Ed Sheeran