Why Do Students Love Booze?

Wine, vodka, gin, beer, whisky, champagne, port, rum, absinthe, cider, ale – the catalogue of alcoholic drinks stocked on shelves across the country is almost as innumerable as the health issues ensuing from excessive use of them: cancer of the mouth, neck and throat; high-blood pressure, an irregular heart beat and cirrhosis of the liver, to name the most severe. You may have thought, then, that at our hallowed universities (where the most intelligent young minds of our society can be found) students would make a deliberate effort to avoid exposing themselves to alcohol, a substance that David Nutt, a former Government drugs adviser, identifies as ‘the most dangerous drug in the UK’. You would, however, be totally wrong. Whilst to some extent there has always been a drinking culture in our universities, mostly due to the social freedom most wide-eyed students discover once they have waved their parents goodbye, the emergence and dangerous development of what Dr. David Nylund describes as the ‘new lad’ (a misogynistic and amoral hedonist, seemingly) since the mid-1990s has slowly strengthened the grip that alcohol has on university students.

Nowadays, as one female second year English Literature and Spanish student at a Russell Group university says, ‘alcohol is seamlessly ingrained into the majority of most students’ lifestyles, and the laddish camaraderie that exists among male students certainly encourages this culture’. Drinking alcohol is now not only a means of enjoying yourself among friends, but also a way of proving your worth to your peers in student sports clubs and societies. Dr. Nylund, interestingly, suggests this ‘new lad’ culture was an initial response to the ‘humiliation and indignity’ caused by the ‘girl power!’ movement during the 1990s (remember the Spice Girls?). Men, he explains, felt ‘battered by feminism’ throughout this period, resulting in the subjugation of the stereotypically domineering male ego and its subsequent fashioning into a passive image. Men, thereafter, needed to react to second-wave feminism; they needed to find a new identity. However, rather than reinventing the lad as a respectful and righteous man, the ‘new lad’, the male response to the girl power movement, can only be regarded as an exacerbation of the insensitive, binge drinking and aggressive old one. ‘Lads took up an anti-intellectual position’, Dr. Nylund says, ‘scorning sensitivity and caring in favour of drinking, violence and a pre-feminist racist attitude to women’.

Consequently, it is unsurprising that this period saw the inception and subsequent popularity boom in ‘Lads’ Mags’ such as Maxim (1995), FHM (rebranded in 1994) and Loaded (1994); whilst films that promoted male hegemony such as ‘Snatch’ (2000) and ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ (1998) also proved to be tremendously successful. (‘Snatch’, according to Guy Ritchie, the film’s Director, earned over a 400% profit from its $3,000,000 budget as it grossed £12,137,698 in the UK alone.) The new lad susbequently managed to liberate men throughout the last decade of the 20th century from the grasps of ‘girl power!’ Since then, however, today’s young adults, the generation who grew up amidst the confusion of the gender conflict, have now become advocates of this culture: they have suppressed any potential feminist movement since the millennium, a notion that is perhaps most patent in the laddish lifestyle of the university student. Throwing up one’s alcohol-saturated stomach contents outside clubs (an indication of Dr. Nylund’s alcohol-loving ‘new lad’) is not only accepted but also, shockingly, the norm. If you’re at a ‘pre-lash’ (a quasi-house party where students drink, often heavily, to avoid spending money later on in clubs), it is also common practice to spew in someone’s bin, sink or, if the queue for the bathroom’s too long, on their carpet. From my own experience as student over the past two years, usage of the toilet is an ostensible luxury.

The disturbing connotations of flagellation evoked by the verb ‘to lash’ in the term ‘pre-lash’ should not be ignored, too. Many, I’m sure, will argue that its meaning should not be taken seriously, that it is tongue-in-cheek. However, whilst the term may well have been so when it was first coined, it simply is not now due to the amount students drink before going out. ‘At a pre-lash’, according to one male French and Spanish student, ‘it is not unusual to drink a bottle of wine over an hour’, an amount of alcohol equivalent to three times the legal drink driving limit. Students, then, are foolishly (and dangerously) abusing their own bodies, which may have serious consequences to their physical health in the future. ‘This kind of activity contributes to the fact that we now see people presenting with alcohol-related liver cirrhosis at a much younger age’, says Dr. Varuna Aluvihare, liver specialist at King’s College Hospital. ‘Any day of the week I might now expect to see 20-to-30 year old patients with livers working at only 5% or 10% of their normal function and needing a transplant, while 15 to 20 years ago we rarely saw this in people under 50’ (Gardner).

Some students, staggeringly, have in fact started drinking before even going out to a pre-lash. ‘Almost regularly’, says one female Biochemistry student from a leading UK university, ‘I watch and time my male house mates ‘strawpedo’ (downing a drink as quickly as possible via use of a bendy straw) their bottles of wine, often in less than ten seconds, before the pre-lash’. She then goes on to state, ‘I wouldn’t have believed anyone before I came (to university) that I would accept this behaviour as normal. However, maybe we have all just learned to accept it as day-to-day normality’. This alcohol-fueled culture has become indoctrinated, therefore, into student society. It is emerging as a prevalent problem in universities and investigations into its negative effects suggest it is a matter that must be resolved. Recent studies by Cardiff University’s Gabrielle Ivinson and Open University’s Patricia Murphy both identify lad culture as a source of behavioural confusion, whilst Adrienne Katz has even linked it to depression and suicide. If laddish students continue their reckless rate of alcohol consumption their livers, simply put, may not last for long.

Published in The Prisma

Comments

  1. At long last! An effective information. I have this
    post saved and will surely recommend it to my amigos.

    • benstupples says:

      Dear H Locksmith, thank you very much for such an encouraging critique of my article. I am glad – very glad, in fact – that you liked it. Out of interest, if you do not mind me asking, what are your thoughts about the matter of students’ binge-drinking? Why, also, does the issue interest you? Kind regards, Ben.

  2. Not a simple topic to write about but I have to say you
    have an ability for writing. Very well clarified. Thanx again

    • benstupples says:

      Dear Marsha, thank you for your kind words. Believe me, they are appreciated – very much so, in fact. Out of interest, if you do not mind me asking, what is it that you liked about the article? Is binge-drinking an issue that interests you in particular? Kind regards, Ben.

  3. I don’t often leave comments on any post but this
    post caught my attention, I have to upload a feedback. I should say this
    article is well crafted. No extra words and is unbiased

    • benstupples says:

      Dear Locksmiths, thank you for your comment. I will look forward to receiving any further feedback that you might have. If you know of any other good articles about this subject, please, if you would be so kind to do so, send me a link to them on here. Kind regards, Ben.

  4. I do agree with everything that is written on this website.
    I really need to say we do have the same insights in regards to this area of interest and I
    am glad I am not the only one. Great work!

  5. This post is really worth browsing. The subject was covered in an accurate way without having to beating around
    the bush which makes it more understandable for people who hates irrelevant long post like me

  6. I must say this is a very helpful point and the way you’ve
    composed it, It’s very exciting to read. Continue the good work

  7. I do go along with every single thing that is revealed on this
    page. I really should say we do have the same ideas with regards to this point and
    I am happy I am not the only one. Keep up the good
    work!

  8. Passing by your website once more and I must say you still have your touch!

    This article explains every single thing, I don’t have to check other people’s blog
    to comprehend it more. You said every single thing I need to know.
    Thank you!

    • benstupples says:

      Thank you very much, Keith. Your kind-worded critique is sweet-sounding music to my (over-sized) ears. Feel free, please, to have a look round the rest of the website and, if you have any further thoughts, comment away. If you wish to discuss the matter of student drinking further, also, please do so.

  9. My opinion regarding this topic is somehow the same, I really should agree
    with you on this topic.

  10. I am not sure if I should agree on this article or not. However because we all have unique feedback, I must respect your point of view.
    But I need to say, I was roughly convinced basically because you’ve compiled
    it very well.

  11. I do agree on every single thing you just said.

    Though not all of your subscribers might agree on your insight about this topic, still
    this post is very beneficial. Continue the good work!

    • benstupples says:

      Thank you very much for your comments, affordable London metro. Feel free, please, to have a look round the rest of the website and, if you have any further thoughts, comment away! Cheers, Ben.

  12. safe London area locksmiths shop says:

    This article is a mixture of everything. Enjoyable yet, very informative.

  13. Not an easy area of interest to write about but I have to say you have a knowledge for writing.
    Very well discussed. Thank you again

  14. I should praise you on such a very beneficial article.
    I don’t ordinarily comment on blog sites but somehow this article caught
    my eyes.
    Very well constructed. Keep up the good work

  15. Passing by your internet site once more and I must say you still
    have your touch!
    This article tells every single thing, I don’t need to read other people’s
    page to comprehend it more. You said everything I really
    need to know. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: