Alcohol consumption, gender identities and women's changing social positions

AC Lyons, Sara Willott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

184 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)694-712
Number of pages19
JournalSex Roles
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2008


  • alcohol
  • gender
  • masculinities
  • femininities
  • communities of practice


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