Our Drinking Habits Reveal an Unfair Bias Toward ‘Male,’ ‘Extrovert’ Over ‘Female,’ ‘Introvert’
Our sexual attitudes are the exception that proves the rule.
One of Audrey Hepburn’s most beloved quotations describes how she loved being introverted: “I love being by myself, love being outdoors, love taking a long walk with my dogs and looking at the trees, flowers, the sky.” Sounds lovely. But what if she’d said she like to drink a glass of wine alone?
Then the quote might not be remembered so fondly. Because most Westerners look down on people who drink alone. As Oxford Research fellows Rebecca Roache and Hannah Maslen note, people make the inference that “drinking alone is symptomatic of an underlying problem with the drinker; as such, we think drinking alone is worse because it raises concerns about the welfare of the drinker. The second [reason] involves a moral disapproval of drinking alone.”
“Although a man alone at a bar is not presumed to be looking for anything more than a drink, even now, a woman is often perceived as out for romantic company, possibly actual sex, possibly right there on the bar stool.”
The researchers go on to say that our culture bias for extroverts confounds the problem — drinking alone is interpreted as socially isolationist and thus threatening. For women, the act is especially viewed as Amy Schumer Trainwreck-esque. The Washington Post writer M. Carrie Allan reflects on women drinking alone, “Although a man alone at a bar is not presumed to be looking for anything more than a drink, even now, a woman is often perceived as out for romantic company, possibly actual sex, possibly right there on the bar stool.”
Chelsea Handler once quipped, “You know you're a hot mess when the only person buying you drinks all night is yourself.” But according to Roache and Maslen, “There is no defensible reason why it should be.” Women and introverts, cheers to you.
The social media that push us to be more introverted may be making us unhappy. Harvard lecturer Tal Ben-Shahar explains:
To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.
- Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
- Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
- Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
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A joint study by two England universities explores the link between sex and cognitive function with some surprising differences in male and female outcomes in old age.
- A joint study by the universities of Coventry and Oxford in England has linked sexual activity with higher cognitive abilities in older age.
- The results of this study suggest there are significant associations between sexual activity and number sequencing/word recall in men. In women, however, there was a significant association between sexual activity in word recall alone - number sequencing was not impacted.
- The differences in testosterone (the male sex hormone) and oxytocin (a predominantly female hormone) may factor into why the male cognitive level changes much more during sexual activity in older age.
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