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:

--

Daphne Muller is a New York City-based writer who has written for Salon, Ms. Magazine, The Huffington Post, and reviewed books for ELLE and Publishers Weekly. Most recently, she completed a novel and screenplay. You can follow her on Instagram @daphonay and on Twitter @DaphneEMuller.

How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
Sponsored
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists claim the Bible is written in code that predicts future events

The controversy around the Torah codes gets a new life.

Michael Drosnin
Surprising Science
  • Mathematicians claim to see a predictive pattern in the ancient Torah texts.
  • The code is revealed by a method found with special computer software.
  • Some events described by reading the code took place after the code was written.
Keep reading Show less

Juice is terrible for children. Why do we keep giving it to them?

A glass of juice has as much sugar, ounce for ounce, as a full-calorie soda. And those vitamins do almost nothing.

Pixabay user Stocksnap
popular

Quick: think back to childhood (if you've reached the scary clown you've gone too far). What did your parents or guardians give you to keep you quiet? If you're anything like most parents, it was juice. But here's the thing: juice is bad for you. 

Keep reading Show less

Orangutans exhibit awareness of the past

Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club

(Eugene Sim/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
  • It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
  • This ability may come from a common ancestor
Keep reading Show less