Author(s): Lyons AC, Willott SA
Young adults in Western countries are drinking more alcohol than ever before, particularly young women. This study aimed to explore how women are (re)defining their gender identities in relation to men through consumption of alcohol. Eight friendship discussion groups were conducted in Auckland, New Zealand, with 16 women and 16 men aged 20–29 years. Participants viewed binge drinking as a routine, normal part of everyday life. Women’s drinking was linked to pleasure and fun, with positive descriptions of female participants who were frequently intoxicated. However, other drunk women were positioned as deviant and breaking traditional codes of femininity. Findings are discussed in terms of women’s changing social positions and the accomplishment of gender identities through local communities of practice.