Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Honours

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  • Matthew Poole,

    It's the "women are drinking like men = OMG PANIC!" I have a problem with.

    I think you actually mean "Women are drinking worse than men", based on the R&V evidence. And why not panic? It means that the messages about drinking responsibly are clearly not getting through, because a group that historically hasn't been known for significant public drunkenness is now surpassing males.

    The tone I've taken from posts in here is "How dare they report that young women are displaying drinking behaviour that's worse than that of young men." The excuses for why the figures might be so skewed were a perfect example: It's not that the girls are drinking more, it's that the boys don't seek help.

    Interesting comment from a friend who works for the police as an analyst, part of which role is collating information about the role of alcohol in behaviour that draws police attention: "the kind of stuff that drunk chicks do don't get them arrested the same way as men which is why there a 1:3 women to men ratio in all my stats.

    They do get really aggro though.. most incidents involving bouncers is where drunk chicks have called up complaining of assault"

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    What I've been trying to say is that genes and environmental factors inter-relate in alcoholism as in so many other health issues.

    I get that, and I agree. However, I do want to repeat my emphases, that the actual substance itself is addictive, altho it actually takes an awful lot of dedication to become addicted to alcohol. Alcoholics do, for a number of reasons, put in the hard yards required. And I don't know why that is. Heroin is far more efficient, but does require being prepared to break the law, to a significant extent.

    But being taught about alcoholism as a disease and an addiction at high school made a huge difference to the way I viewed my father. For me it was very constructive, but I can totally see the other side of it.

    I apply the same compassion to narcissistic personality disorder, its a psychiatric illness, that the principle sufferer, is often unaware of.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    It means that the messages about drinking responsibly are clearly not getting through, because a group that historically hasn't been known for significant public drunkenness is now surpassing males.

    More to the point, the messages coming from the the alcohol marketing industry, are getting thru, measurably. which takes us back to Doug M, and his services to the community:(

    I should add, there is a difference between alcoholism and believing that drinking to the point of chundering over a prospective life partner, is normal social behavior. But there could be a link.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Matthew, thanks for sharing the experience of your Police analyst friend. Interesting.

    I believe the concern here is about the meta-messages being conveyed based on the experience at a single annual event (where we can't really know why the numbers are different because they're not gathered properly for that purpose). It's interesting to hear the interpretations that journos and commenters have tended to put on that raw data, and where it fits into the bigger discourse.

    With the tone of coverage over the last year and the Alac advert debacle, a level of cynicism about that seems reasonable. It doesn't mean anyone's denying a basic problem with young women drinking too much, especially at Rhythm and Vines a few days ago.

    I'm sure there's a simpler way of saying this, but am overcome by summer lethargy.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19729 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    __Danielle, if by moral you mean a responsibility to other people in society not to squander precious resources on binge drinking, then yes, moral.__

    Woah, Dyan. Would you deliver the same sermon to, say, HIV victims? They cost heaps. Fact is, people don't always make good choices.

    How do we get from me saying individuals have a moral responsibility not to squander precious health resources on binge drinking to me sermonising to either HIV+ or AIDS patients who need medical assistance?

    And why is the legitimate public health concern at a global trend that sees alcohol being marketed to younger and younger people - particularly women - dismissed as moral panic? The massive jump in alcohol consumption in young people in general and young women in particular is a global trend, and a very costly and depressing one.

    There is a distinct parallel to the tobacco industry in the 1960s and 70s - when sales began to decline when the link between tobacco and disease was impossible to ignore, tobacco companies began marketing specifically to women, and the Virginia Slims "You've Come a Long Way, Baby" campaign was launched. Smoking and equal rights for women became inextricably linked in the global psyche. To this day, all over the developed world, far more girls than boys take up smoking. And if that can be done for tobacco, why not alcohol?

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Is it actually that impossible for anything that makes women look bad to be an objective statement?

    Oh lord. Is that a serious question?

    The tone I've taken from posts in here is "How dare they report that young women are displaying drinking behaviour that's worse than that of young men."

    You might want to recalibrate your Tone-ometer 5000, because that isn't what anyone was saying.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    dismissed as moral panic

    ARGH: we are not 'dismissing' binge drinking among young people, in general, as 'moral panic'. We were just noting moral-panic-ism in media *reporting* of young *women* drinking. Which is why I said that this putative moral panic was possibly going to be 'gendered'.

    I am obviously not explaining my point very well, or something.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • pollywog,

    I am obviously not explaining my point very well, or something.

    heh...been drunking have we ?

    somewhere else • Since Dec 2009 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Smoking and equal rights for women became inextricably linked in the global psyche.

    As a child, I remember this women that smoked a pipe. Smelly old thing, that pipe.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    heh...been drunking have we ?

    Dude, I *wish* I could blame my general incoherence on being intoxicated. I haven't had the merest whiff of alcohol since a pina colada last July in Rarotonga (after which I suddenly thought 'hey, hang on: there might be a particular reason I've been feeling vaguely nauseous every night of this holiday...')

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Danielle, here's the thing. This isn't a new "moral panic". The police and ED doctors have been saying for quite some time now that they're seeing increasing numbers of young women who've had too much to drink. For the police, as my friend outlined, men are three times more likely to get arrested for their behaviour while intoxicated as women, which masks the extent of the problem. For the doctors, it's not until you're really fucked that you'll see them, often after suffering an injury. Men are more likely to get injured by doing stupid things when drunk, so more likely to end up having to see a doctor.

    Now, though, we have St John, who I think everyone will accept as being authoritative on the matter of how many people needed detox at R&V, suggesting that the issue of excessive drinking by young women is actually far more serious than previously suspected, potentially far more serious than excessive drinking by young men. Certainly the evidence, and it's based on five (six?) years of history, is quite clear that there's been a huge change in behaviour in the past year. Maybe guys are seeking help less. But 80% less? I've got a bridge to sell you. If it was 60:40 I'd be happy to write it off as a change in the habits of guys. 90:10, though, says that something's changed about the girls.

    There's broad recognition that binge drinking by young men is an issue. ALAC's "Lisa" ad didn't do much more than get backs up about drinking behaviour in young women, though. Far more emphasis is put on advertising aimed at males and their drinking habits than on women and theirs. Is it such a terrible thing to report on data that suggests that the problem is far from limited to males? Because you're very definitely coming across that way. The implication is that you'll take offence at anything that's not impartial in its treatment of the genders, despite what's come out of R&V.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    (after which I suddenly thought 'hey, hang on: there might be a particular reason I've been feeling vaguely nauseous every night of this holiday...')

    Rapid Edit: your going to have a baby!

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I know I really want to say something regarding gender biassed moral panic, but if I do, the thread will stop. everybody will leave the room. It's best I just clown around cracking jokes. (And point out phenomenal things, like y'know...)

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Is it such a terrible thing to report on data that suggests that the problem is far from limited to males? Because you're very definitely coming across that way.

    It's not the reporting. It's how we're reporting. (Hrm, why does that sound so familiar?)

    Also: you're very definitely not reading what I'm writing if you think that's what I'm saying.

    The implication is that you'll take offence at anything that's not impartial in its treatment of the genders

    Oh, that's the implication, is it? Rad.

    Let me re-explain. For the nine hundredth time. Discussing the ways in which young women are drinking more than they used to drink is not the same as noting a particularly gendered way of reporting on women drinking. One can, in fact, agree that specifically female binge drinking is a problem (I'm sure it is) while disagreeing with the ways in which that binge drinking is framed by media reports (I think I do, in many cases). These are *two different issues*. You're arguing with me about the first, which was never even in dispute, and I'm talking about the second.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    (and point out phenomenal things)

    Hah! I think you should get some sort of retainer for that.

    Let me re-explain. For the nine hundredth time.

    This is screaming for a Power Point treatment. Honestly, think how many times you could recycle it. Also

    It's not the reporting. It's how we're reporting.

    Love it.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Hah! I think you should get some sort of retainer for that.

    My psychiatry bills get paid, Giovanni. Now stay off my patch!

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    screaming for a Power Point treatment

    Like this perhaps?

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    @Phil. Wonderful! I wonder how Martin Luther King or Winston Churchill might go..

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2560 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    How does one not "gender" a story on the fact that 90% of the people seen by St John at R&V after drinking unsafely were women?
    If you're taking umbrage at the various rent-a-quotes who're in there talking about the risks that excessive drinking poses to young women, when the stories are about young men they get quotes about getting into fights, DUI, and taking stupid risks.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • HenryB,

    Do we have any sense of the gender balance of those attending R&V and whether this has changed over time?

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Henry, if the proportions seeking detox have historically been about equal, what do you think the likelihood is that the gender balance has altered in the space of a year to make 90:10 representative of the festival's wider attendance demographic?

    Also, looking at photos online, it looks pretty even.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Has this thread been sufficiently flogged for a music link yet?

    Oh well, you can all flog me if it hasn't.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • HenryB,

    what do you think the likelihood is that the gender balance has altered in the space of a year to make 90:10 representative

    No idea.

    Gender balances can change dramatically for all sorts of reasons... but I grant that a change in gender balance would have to have been truly dramatic to have been the reason behind the change in figures at the detox venue.

    All I am suggesting is that there may need to be a bit of caution about the "statistics".... a caution prompted by experience (Yes, I know, hardly the basis for anything in particular) of noting that a whole lot of young males that I have some contact with NOT going this year because they couldn't afford to .

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Steven - I think I know where you're going.
    The rawness of the experiences that you've shared in the past have brought tears to my eyes.
    It might go all mushroom clouded, but I hope differences of opinion/experience can be accepted as that, especially if it gets heavy.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • pollywog,

    I know I really want to say something regarding gender biassed moral panic, but ...

    The rawness of the experiences that you've shared in the past have brought tears to my eyes.

    ...oh you have to regale us with a bedtime story now fella:)

    somewhere else • Since Dec 2009 • 152 posts Report Reply

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