Friday, April 29, 2011

Alcoholism and Gender

I'm listening to senior presentations of graduating students in our department right now. One student (who is an absolute star in our program) stated that alcoholism is something that traditionally is associated a lot more with men than with women. I've never heard anything like that. Is it a cultural thing or something?

I'd really like to know if my readers also see alcoholism as more of a male affliction.
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Tim said...

It is pretty rude to start blogging while someone is holding a presentation in front of you, you know ? :)

I think that alcoholism is something that is something that WAS associated with men and IS still depicted as such. Though, as far as I know, (young) women managed to pull up to men in regards of alcohol consumption.

Maybe it is because of how alcohol is advertised ? I mean alcohol ads generally and beer ads especially have men in it, at least in the position of the drinker.

Clarissa said...

I never object to students doing it in class, so I think it's only fair. :-)

Leah Jane said...

My mother is an alcoholic, so I always associated alcoholism more with women than with men, to be honest, because my father didn't drink at all (Except for port wine on high holy days) so I grew up with images of my mother being sick with alcohol, hung over, or having beer on her breath, whereas I never had that experience with a man.

Clarissa said...

I'm very sorry to hear that you had to go through that. It must have been extremely difficult for you.

Anonymous said...

Aloholism is associated more with men than women in popular culture, possibly because men are supposed to drink more. Also I think men tend to put misery/anger out into the world,fighting for example,whereas women turn it against themselves, like selfharming/eating disorders.

How much of that is true I'm not sure, but I'm fairly certain selfharming rates for women are higher than men.


Anastasia said...

I think this is kind of a cultural commonplace here. I've definitely heard people say that.

el said...

I am very surprised by the post. Clarissa, weren't you born in Ukraine too? Which like Russia has lots of alcoholics? Yes, we had 1 (!) alcoholic woman in our building, but all numerous others were male. In the holidays' season one saw drunk men on the streets, not women. In the nearby villages women brew alcohol for men in their families, but didn't f.e. took a family hunting rifle to frighten their husbands or got into drunk fights. The other gender did it.

Clarissa said...

When I lived in Ukraine, I only met one alcoholic. He was our plumber. It's true that he was male, but I can't draw conclusions based on just one person.

Until I moved to Canada, I don't think I'd ever even seen a drunk person. I was so innocent in that respect that at the age of 23 I still really didn't know that if you drink several whiskies one after another, you'll get intoxicated and feel bad next morning. So I had several whiskies and then couldn't figure out why I felt so horrible on the next day. People tried explaining that it might have been caused by alcohol but I ridiculed them.

el said...

I read "Famous Poems from Bygone Days" and it even has anti-alcohol poem. Look in pages 68-71 at the prose paragraphs after Glazebrook's name (p.68) at the interesting history bit and I loved Young's poem at p.70
See here:

Do you love poetry and did you study English poetry a lot at university? I had difficulty to find your asking for blogging suggestions post, but wanted to hear which Russians and English poets you would recommend.

I read this Gardner's poetry book and his "Best Remembered Poems" and could recommend some. Recently I started trying to read poetry a bit and so far decided I liked blank verse, like Robert Frost's.

I want to recommend Wisawa Szymborska, the Polish poet who got Nobel. If you read her, which translation of her poems would you recommend? I'll take from the library "View with a grain of sand", but wanted English or Russian full translation of her works. If you haven't read yet, please, see here. Even her poems' names are interesting, like "In Praise of Feeling Bad about Yourself":

My favorites are "The Turn of the Century", which appears in at least 1 Israeli high school English lit textbook, and "Hatred", which best translation imo is here:

Got so enthusiastic and wanted to share the happiness. Did you like them?

sarcozona said...

Men are more likely to be alcoholics than women, though that's likely a result of environment, not genetics.

Clarissa said...

el: thanks for the links! I will check them out as soon as I'm done with the grading marathon.

el said...

I remembered a poem, which US children study at school:


The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself.


And so on...

Btw, the text was found in this great post of a (school?) teacher discussing how the students perceive it.

el said...

Sorry, forgot to mention - I first saw the poem in Frank McCourt's third book of autobiography "Teacher Man". (The first 2 are the famous "Angela's ashes" and "'Tis".) In "Teacher Man" he describes teaching English and Creative Writing (and at one point English as a Second Language). I thought may be you would be interested - it's mainly amusing anecdotes, but he also tells of various attempts to motivate his students: reading cooking recipes in class with music, telling them write a children's book and inviting 1st (?) grades as judges. My favorite was asking them to write a letter defending Adam & Eve, the snake or somebody else (political figures, etc.) since my school essay topics were quite boring. Definitely nothing like that.

Clarissa said...

I love creative assignments like this. I don't know if I told this before but once my Latin professor distributed Roman recipes that were over 2,000 years old. We had to translate them, cook the dishes and bring them to a picnic to share with the class. That was beyond fun!