Glaser (The Nose: A Profile of Sex, Beauty, and Survival, 2004, etc.) probes the shift from the days of feminists like Carry Nation, popularly known as “the saloon destroyer,” to the “Cosmopolitan-sipping” Carrie Bradshaw.
As a journalist who has written features for a variety of national publications about women's issues over the past 20 years, the author began noticing an across-the-board increase in the amount of liquor women were consuming. She examines binge drinking by college-age women intent on establishing their entitlement to be treated as equals, as well as stay-at-home moms more discreetly imbibing. She profiles the after-work scenes in Portland, Ore., and New York (both places where she has lived) and notes that alcohol is no longer considered to be unladylike. It has become a crutch, an acceptable way for women to “muscle through the postfeminist, breadwinning, or stay at-home life [they] lead.” Glaser suggests that one reason for the increase in drinking is the increase in stress for women balancing the demands of work and modern child-rearing. While women may be closing the behavioral gender gap, the physical fallout of prolonged heavy drinking is more dangerous for them. Not only can it have a damaging effect on childbearing, but it also seems that women metabolize alcohol more slowly than men and suffer more physical problems. Glaser cites a 2010 Gallup poll estimating that nearly two-thirds of American women are regular drinkers, and she correlates this with statistics showing an increase in the number of women arrested for drunk driving. Furthermore, a significant proportion of heavy drinkers become alcoholics and are frequently abused sexually, a problem even within organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
An important addition to feminist literature that calls upon women to reject a spurious equality “whose consequences in broken families, broken hearts, and broken futures, are all too real” and face up to the problem of alcohol dependency before it takes over their lives.