College Women Turn to Hard Liquor

College keg parties may become less common in the next few years as many college-age women turn to hard liquor over beer, mainly because it contains fewer calories. This new trend shows evidence of increasing pressure for young women to be thin, and the effects such pressure has on their personal choices.

Binge-drinking among college women has been on the rise for the past few years, and may become even more prevalent with the new acceptance towards drinking hard liquor at college parties. Women who take shots and drink cocktails get drunk faster than those who drink beer, and may not realize exactly how many drinks they have had. Eating disorders are also a growing problem on college campuses, and many young women skip meals during the week so that they can “drink their calories” on the weekends.

Dialogue about the pressures of women to drink and stay thin opened up recently at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, where many students agreed that body image plays a large role in what women choose to drink, and that the “loudest social voice on campus is often one advocating partying,” according to the online college newspaper.

Students complained that alcohol acts as a social crutch, as there is nothing to do at college parties but drink. They suggested that including other activities at parties, such as video games or movies, would take the focus off alcohol and reduce the pressure to binge drink. Some suggested that the campus encourages weekend drinking by closing academic centers and libraries early on the weekends.

Jessica Garcia ’12 said, “It was refreshing to know I’m not alone in my sentiments with Lehigh culture and that I’m not the only one frustrated.”

I’m glad to see that Lehigh University opened up this conversation, one which many colleges across the country should probably have. Alcohol and body image are two of the biggest issues that young women face today, and the best way to combat these negative influences is to bring them out into the light and have discussions about what healthy choices are out there for women today.

What is the best way to combat the pressure to drink heavily and stay thin on college campuses? Suggest solutions in the comments section.

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Photo credit: stopalcoholdeaths


Christopher M.
Christopher M.5 years ago

Maybe it doesn't matter how hard you worked in college. Colleges select intelligent high school graduates who work hard to begin with. Maybe colleges have picked winners already, not made them. So who cares if they drink?

Or is it people with money who go to college and go on to make more? I dunno.

Sarah Metcalf
Sarah M6 years ago

this issue desperately needs to be brought to light across the nation

Holly Lawrence
Holly Lawrence6 years ago

When haven't they????????????????

Virginia B.
Virginia B6 years ago

This remark may be tangential to the subject matter of this article, but I invite its readers to think about it. Some 20 years ago I moved to the state where I now work and reside. -- Perhaps things are different in other states, but here, where I live, the prices for alcoholic beverages have basically remained THE SAME (!!) over those 20 years.
My question is: why? And of course the underlying thought is: why has excessive alcohol consumption, just as (if not a far more!) vicious and destructive a habit as smoking, been tacitly supported by my state and undoubtedly others during all those years. We all know how steeply the price for cigarettes has risen -- why not for alcoholic beverages?
I'd be interested in learning from others posting letters about this article, if they have noted the same phenomenon.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y6 years ago

This is just insane. Colleges and Universities should have 24-hour internet cafes and weekend-long library access. I remember the library open on weekends when I was in school. It was a nice place to hang out and even study sometimes.

'Drinking your calories' leads to obesity, depression and other problems associated with eating too much sugar, which is essentially what drinking your calories means. Oh and add tons of carbs if you include beer.

Christine Stewart
Christine S6 years ago

I strongly suggest young women in college to reduce your consumption of alcohol- calories not withstanding- there are unfortunately many young men who see no problem with having sex with an unconscious woman- after all, it can't be rape if she doesn't say No, right?

Vasu M.
.6 years ago

It makes sense to abstain from intoxication!

The Prohibition of alcohol in the United States failed. Whether or not mind-altering substances should be banned in a secular democracy or rather legal and strictly regulated or restricted, is a political issue, subject to serious debate.

Collegiate excess has repercussions far beyond hangovers and missed classes, and should be of concern to members of the surrounding community. "Binge drinking hurts not only the drinker but also others near him," says Henry Wechsler, Ph.D., a lecturer at the Harvard school of Public Health, where he was also the director of the College Alcohol Study, and author of Dying to Drink: Confronting Binge Drinking on College Campuses.

"The binge drinker disturbs the peace, through noise, vandalism and sometimes violence. Like secondhand smoke, binge drinking pollutes the environment."

"The [social] cost of alcohol is in the billions of dollars. Roughly half the total is related to what's called alcohol addiction," says Paul Gruenewald, scientific director of the Prevention Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, which is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

"The other half is related to other harms that happen to people when drinking; primarily drunk driving, drunk driving crashes, pedestrian injuries, violent assaults, and various criminal behaviors and various injuries," Gruenewald said.

"It's not a pretty picture. It's quite ugly fro

Vasu M.
.6 years ago

Alcohol, not marijuana, is the most abused drug in the United States.

As of 1983, there were an estimated eight million known alcoholics in America, with the number increasing by 450,000 every year. One survey reported that 75 percent of all crimes and 60 percent of all divorces have drinking in their background. The National Safety Council reports 50 percent of all traffic deaths are caused by drunk drivers.

According to Dr. John MacDougall in his 1983 book, The MacDougall Plan (which advocates a strict vegan diet with no oil, salt, or intoxication), over seven percent of the adult population in the United States suffers from alcoholism, resulting in decreased productivity, accidents, crime, mental and physical disease and disruption of family life.

Excessive consumption of alcohol leads to liver disease, cancer, birth defects (fetal alcohol syndrome) and multiple vitamin deficiency diseases.

A report by the World Health Organization states that "Alcohol is a poison to the nervous system. The double solubility of alcohol in water and fat enables it to invade the nerve cell. A man may become a chronic alcoholic without ever having shown symptoms of drunkenness."

The conclusion of the report is that none are immune to alcoholism and total abstinence is the only solution.

Vasu M.
.6 years ago

"The 'war on drugs' is a cruel and ineffective fraud. It has placed many citizens in prison, under savagely long sentences... It endangers our civil liberties... It distracts attention from our desperate problems of poverty, education and health care.

"It has also been an excuse for intervention in Latin American countries and support of repressive regimes. A war is a great excuse for an assault on justice and civil liberties, and this war is a prime example..."

--Rose Evans, Harmony: Voices for a Just Future, July 1991, p. 12

"The war on drugs continues to impose savage sentences, sometimes on those involved in drug sales or use, sometimes on those who are innocent of any involvement.

"One third of our soaring prison population (including many women and mothers) are jailed on drug charges.

"Young people who have no hope of meaningful, decently paying jobs, are jailed when they turn to drug dealing, one of the few economic fields open to them..."

--Rose Evans, Harmony: Voices for a Just Future, July 1993, p. 12