I recently came across an article in NY magazine. I started reading it as a general glance through but slowly got interested. By that article, it says more and more women were drinking and those that drank, are drinking more. Since I'm a woman, I started applying it to my friends and other women I've seen.
When I was in school, drinking was a big no-no and very few(barely 5 or 10 out of 100 of my friends) did it once(maybe two, not more). Moreover, those drinking experiences were more a part of an experience or a wager with their brothers and cousins and friends. None was done for the sake of drinking.
Then came college. As far as I know, some of my friends were regular drinkers(not alcoholics). They drank because it was part of their house culture. So it was not a big deal for them. But most friends tried it out just for the heck of trying it out. Even then, the percentage hadn't crossed 20%.
Then came (pseudo)work life(I know, it was a short 6 month stint, but still corp life). Even here, it was not a big percentage. I had a few friends who frequented the bars of B but they knew when they had to stop and it was more a social reason(going to the bars and hanging out with friends) rather than drinking for drinking's sake.
My masters life saw a huge jump in the percentage to 90-95%. This was mainly because I went from a culture that frowns on it to a culture where people didn't mind about it. Also, the people I knew here were more willing to try out things and felt that drinking was just another habit. A good or bad connotation to it was stupid by their thoughts. Some of my closest friends drink moderately. One of my friends' dreams is to try out all the different types of drinks and to taste the best known concoctions. I know that she saved money through her internship to get a bottle of fine wine that came to $500. Yeah! She spent $500 for ONE bottle of wine. I'm not sure if it was worth it but she said it was and she was on top of the world for a week about it. I'm happy that she loves it but I also know that I wouldn't do it. Also, here, I started seeing people who drank for drinking sake. I also saw people who treat it as a hobby and invest in expensive stuff for it. My friend above was one such person. She tells me that her house in future would have a well equipped and well stocked bar and that she would take great pride in it. And I'm sure she would do too.
Further came my internship time. My company regularly hosts beer parties and freshly brewed beer is served there. I know that a lot of my friends love it and that it is part of my company's culture. When I think of how well I'd fit there once I go back as a full time employee, I'm not sure about the beer parties aspect. I don't really care about all this stuff as long as I'm not forced to drink. Its not that I think drinking is bad or good, its just that I don't want to do it because of a personal reason. As long as my friends don't go overboard, I know that they understand the risks and returns of their drinking and wouldn't force them to stop. True, I discuss about it with some friends, but in the end, its their call. But, going back to topic, I found that the percentage of women drinking in the corporate world was a bit lesser than the percentage of women in college. This might have more to do with the corporate setting that I've seen most women in the corp world than the actual numbers. College, having a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere, is more apt to drinking with perfect strangers. Who knows? Once I start work, I might find that the women in corp world actually drink more, albeit in a non-corporate or semi-corporate setting.
It also shows a big difference in the cultures, the one I was brought up in and the one I live in now. So, is cultural difference the only thing to blame? Or, does misguided views of feminism, more stress for women, social acceptance problems, etc also play a part? Also, does drinking induce one to feel more feminist? And being a feminist implies that one should drink? This seems like a recursive loop with no way out. However, I love that women get to choose in this country, whether to drink or not, and if so, by how much, when, where and with whom? True, people pay different prices based on their choices. But the freedom to choose, ah! That is true liberation!!