Changing gender norms for alcohol consumption: Social drinking and lowered inhibitions at bachelorette parties

Beth Montemurro, Bridget McClure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this research we examined the role of alcohol as both substance and symbol at bachelorette parties. The bachelorette party is characterized by ritualized embarrassment of the bride and by sexualized games both of which are made easier by heavy alcohol consumption. As there are few occasions when it is considered socially acceptable for women to drink the bachelorette party provides a unique opportunity to explore women's social drinking and public drunkenness. Based on interviews with 51 women we found that drinking seemed to add to the fun of bachelorette parties and that group alcohol consumption appeared to increase social solidarity as women at bachelorette parties bonded over their shared experience. Finally women relied on alcohol to lower inhibitions so that they were able to feel justified in engaging in deviant behavior. Women's use of alcohol in this ritual challenges existing gender norms and conceptions of masculinity and femininity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-288
Number of pages10
JournalSex Roles
Volume52
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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