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Term Paper - Gender & Food: Alcohol (4)

In this blog I want to give you some information concerning the consumption of men respective women in regard to alcohol as well as the different reasons for drinking and the physically dealing with this legal drug.

 So in the consumption of groceries, alcohol plays also a very important role through showing gender correlated differences. The amount and abundance of alcohol is clearly led by the men. They in average drink two times more alcoholic potables than women do. Another aspect is that the part of men of the approximately four million alcoholics in Germany is circa 80%, which by the way is extremely much. As a survey shows, men drink more than women and most notably more often than women. 24, 4% of the questioned men, 11 out of 45 persons, stated they would consume alcohol four times a week, whereas there was no women who drinks more than three times a week. My personal study can again verify these results that alcohol seems to be a male “subject”. So as a result I found out that the male responded are leading again in the consumption of both beer relatively wine (1 ¼ l against ½ l) and hard liquor (0,625 l against 0, 1 l). Wha is also very interesting is the high rate of completely non-drinking women I asked. Over 80% stated they would never drink alcohol or at least so less that it would not be worth to mention. This leads us to the question why men drink so much alcohol compared to the women and what the generally reasons for drinking of both genders are.

Concerning the men, there are different reasons which enforce them to drink alcoholic drinks. One reason is that even nowadays the drinking ability, the “skill” how much someone is able to drink, is also seen as typically male. That is the reason why especially younger boys want to prove themselves by drinking much alcohol. In this age in addition there is given the attraction of drinking alcohol simply because it is forbidden. And prohibited things are always interesting for minored children in puberty. Furthermore, and this is also what I found out in my survey, reasons for drinking alcohol are parties and birthday celebrations etc. where alcohol would guaranty a better and relaxed atmosphere and especially fun. Here comes moreover the point which was relevant in the chapter of the reasons for women to eat even if they are not hungry. There I found out that women often eat because of belonging to a community and feel togetherness e.g. by sitting in common and eat some cake etc. This can now be transmitted for the men and alcohol. For them, this feeling of belonging together arises if they sit with a few mates at a bar and jointly drink some beer. The extremer version is the binge drinking with friends, the excessive consume of alcohol. Then the men usually feel strong and unconquerable, which are typically male feelings and also liked by them.
Additionally, alcohol is a kind of relief valve for the men. The alcohol is often used to supplant their problems and to forget all the sorrows like exemplarily stress at work or with the girlfriend/wife etc., problems in the family, pressure to perform, midlife-crisis and more. Trough drinking, they purposely break the rules and drink alcohol also with knowing that it is bad and of course no solution, in contrast.
In the following chart there are listed up a few problem drinking indicators for both men and women. The table contains also some information about their respective behavior of consumpiton, so for instance the frequency of being drunk at least one time a week in the last 3 months which is again headed by the men with an average procentuage of 20% compared to 11% on the women’s side. Besides, it becomes clear that also the women betake to alcohol to steady their nerves or if they have trouble, especially at the age between 45 – 54 years (men earlier, between 25 – 34 years). So the causes are partly the sames, although not all reasons and not as distincted as by the men. So are women more influenced by their social environment as concerns the danger of getting an alcoholican. Interesting is also the fact of multiple drinking indicators which lead to the consum of alcohol which is the case for both genders.

Problem drinking indicators

Age
Total
16-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
65-74
75+
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
Men
Felt the need to cut down on drinking
18
27
25
26
26
20
11
23
Felt guilty about drinking
5
12
9
8
6
3
3
7
Had to drink to steady nerves
7
7
6
3
2
1
2
5
Felt unable to stop drinking
4
6
5
5
4
4
2
5
2 or more problem drinking indicators
12
19
13
13
10
5
4
12
1 or more physical dependency indicators
19
16
9
9
5
6
4
11
Been drunk in last 3 months
74
79
63
48
32
18
8
52
Been drunk at least once a week in last 3 months
40
31
21
15
9
7
2
20
Women
Felt the need to cut down on drinking
15
19
19
20
14
11
5
16
Felt guilty about drinking
7
8
6
5
4
3
2
5
Had to drink to steady nerves
3
2
1
1
1
-
1
1
Felt unable to stop drinking
1
3
1
1
1
2
1
2
2 or more problem drinking indicators
10
9
8
6
4
3
3
7
1 or more physical dependency indicators
10
7
4
2
2
2
2
4
Been drunk in last 3 months
69
64
47
32
13
5
4
39
Been drunk at least once a week in last 3 months
28
17
10
6
3
1
3
11
A further, completely different argument for men drinking more alcoholic substances than women is the biological aspect which is the reason therefore that men are able to drink more alcohol with lower “consequences”. The male body can better handle with alcohol than the female due to an enyzme called alcohol dehydrogenase which is responsible for the predispersion of alcohol in the stomach. This enzyme is less excistent in the body of a woman which leads to higher alcohol level in the blood and therefore women get drunk earlier. This process is especially distinct by hard liquors because it is generally more difficult to digest that much alcohol and so the effect of getting drunken becomes even harder. In addition, the followings for the women are more dramatic because of their lower ability of  parting fatty acids. As a consequence, they have rather to suffer of fatty liver as well as liver cirrhosis (chronical liver disease). Besides, the alcohol ealier affects brain and heart.

So to sum up, it is proven that men in average consume more and also more frequently alcoholic substances than women do. This has biological as well as psychological reasons like the nature of the male body together with the feeling of togetherness and fun plus stress situations, crisises and trouble in general. Women in contrast have anatomic conditionned “disadvantages” in digesting alcohol and feel belonging more in sitting, talking and eating in common. Plus, they – in most cases - don’t feel like they had to show anybody how much alcohol they are able to drink etc.

9.6.11 13:53

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