What Makes Alcohol Seem Sexy?
What makes alcohol seem so desirable? People use it to squash fears, become more sociable, deal with various situations and for enjoyment. How do we know though, that alcohol provides all these things, or if it really even delivers on what it promises? What entices people to try alcohol in the first place? What makes alcohol seem so sexy and tempting despite the risks and consequences of drinking?
Alcohol is portrayed as a way to bond socially
When we look at many TV shows or movies, we see characters drinking before a party, and at a party, laughing and talking. If it’s not at a party, then it’s at girl’s night in with a bottle of wine and snacks, such as in the movie Rough Night. Perhaps its guy’s night out where they’re at the bar, drinking beer or just chatting man to man, with a bottle of whiskey. It could be a whenever type of thing, such as in Entourage. Or is it the all too familiar Vegas, where everyone gets drunk and has a crazy time, as seen in the movie, Think Like A Man 2. It seems as though there is barely any way to enjoy yourself, if alcohol is not involved.
Likewise, in American society, many outings include alcohol and people buy copious amounts of liquor to “pre-game” before going out to drink even more. Much like TV, girls night or guys night even if it’s inside, includes some type of adult beverage, even if it’s just an offer of one.
Alcohol is portrayed as a way to talk to a love interest or gain courage
Other shows and movies, show alcohol as “liquid courage” before a young girl goes to talk to her crush, she downs a drink of whatever will make her less inhibited and more appealing. Other times, it’s the guys drinking before he goes to profess his love to the girl he is into. Still other movies and TV show characters drinking before they engage in sexual behavior and a fun night ensues. Popular shows like Grey’s anatomy and Pretty Little Liars showed off this phenomenon.
In reality, people can end up making a fool of themselves depending on how much they drink. In some cases, drinking can lead to a misinterpretation of actions or feelings and to a sexual assault if an advance is rebuffed. Couples who agree to sex, can feel the effects of too much alcohol such as, tiredness, impotence or a reduction in sensation, the opposite of what they hoped the alcohol would do!
Alcohol effects portrayed as “not that bad”
After characters drink, they have a major hangover for what seems like all of “ten seconds”. In a few shows there may have been repercussions, but nothing a parent can’t fix, or a punishment which amounts to a lecture. Even in movies where a character has alcoholism, sometimes the focus shifts from them and how they handle it to the significant other and how they find love with someone new.
For the average person who binge drinks a hangover is a result of an alcohol filled night. For others it can be blackouts, destruction of property, assault, DUI, damage to one’s body and furthering dependence. If more of these consequences were shown, or shown far more often, then perhaps drinking wouldn’t be as glamorous.
Alcohol In Teens
The prevalence of underage drinking on the television is astronomical. Additionally, teen drinking is shown as just another thing that teens do, nothing out of the ordinary. With this attitude towards drinking, it’s no wonder that those under the age of 21 could care less about waiting to drink at the drinking age.
Many teens are drinking without seeing any real repercussions. They get away with stealing from a liquor cabinet or a simple reprimand that does nothing for keeping them from drinking again. Though the drinking age is 21, many teens do not feel that drinking poses any real threat to them. Additionally, drinking may not be something that a parent focuses on or feels that is any real detriment to their child either, even if it occurs before 21. Again this is seen in many teen shows, like the old series The OC, and basically every movie where anyone underage drinks.
Alcohol allows you to live out your fantasies and desires
Many characters have fantasies and desires that we as the watches are privy to. Though these thing may not happen in a character’s “real life”, once they start drinking everything changes. Alcohol gives them courage, a voice, smarts, beauty brains, friends…whatever it is that would make the character achieve his or her goal. This comes alive in the movie Project X, Superbad, and even Wedding Crashers.
Alcohol does lower inhibitions and impair judgement. On one hand it can change a moment and help some seize an opportunity but because the brain chemistry is altered, correct judgement or decision making cannot fully be exercised. This can take a perfect opportunity and turn it into something disastrous. It can cause an individual to misread a situation and respond inappropriately.
Why Do We Glamorize Alcohol?
While many movies and shows do feature consequences of alcohol usage, far more feature causal alcohol usage as the norm or as fun. When this happens, alcohol is glamorized, becomes sexy and it becomes coveted and a normal part of life. With alcohol so prevalent in the media, the new question becomes, is advertising responsible for alcohol addiction?