There is an essay in this month’s The Atlantic called “The Hazards of Duke: A now infamous PowerPoint presentation exposes a lot about men, women, sex, and alcohol—and about how universities are letting their female students down” by Caitlin Flanagan, likely of interest to feminist philosophers.
There a few themes in the article but one of them is the increased rates of drinking among college aged women. I haven’t heard much about this before and I’m interested to know what blog readers make of the article. Flanagan cites Girls on the Edge, by a physician and psychologist named Leonard Sax, which is said to offer “astonishing and troubling new insight into the role and consequences of binge drinking in so many girls’ lives.” It’s Sax who gives the data on men’s drinking remaining constant over the past 40 years, while women’s on campus drinking has roughly quadrupled. Sax also claims that among college students who meet the clinical criteria for alcohol abuse, women now outnumber men, and drinking affects the women “in a different and more pernicious way than it does men.” According to Sax, alcohol is more dangerous to young women than it is to young men, even after adjusting for differences in height and weight. He writes that alcohol abuse appears to damage girls’ brains differently and more severely than the same degree of alcohol abuse affects same-age boys.
Flanagan’s article also describes young women as “liberated from the curfews and parietals that were once the bane of co-eds, but one in which they have also shaken off the general suspicion of male sexuality that was the hallmark of Andrea Dworkin–style campus activism; they prefer bikini waxes and spray tans to overalls and invective. So they have ended up with the protections of neither the patriarchy nor those old-school, man-hating radical feminists.”
Does this sound right to you?