• Women who drink are judged more harshly than men, report finds

    By: Bob Dumas

    Updated:

    Women can face a lot of harsh judgments that men don't, including criticisms of clothing, body shape, and if they have a tattoo.  

    Professor Jeanine Skorinko from Worcester Polytechnic Institute wanted to find about the perceptions women face when they go out for a drink.

    Although women over the age of 21 have every right to go out for a drink, a WPI study found they will definitely get judged by a jury of their peers.

    "That's the astonishing part it," said Professor Skorinko. "Just by holding a beer bottle, an alcoholic beverage, we have a completely different perception of someone."

    Skorinko and her team created fake social media profiles that were meant to look like a Facebook page. 

    In one photo, a young woman is holding a water bottle. The second profile page is exactly the same except the woman is holding a beer bottle.

    First, men were asked about their perceptions of the two pages. 

    "Our male participants evaluated the female who was holding the beer bottle as less human, so more robotic, more of an object, less intelligent, and less sophisticated," Skorinko said.

    The same two profile pages were then shown to women to get their feedback. The results were very similar, according to Skorinko. "That's really the shocking part of it and the fact that it didn't matter if you were a female or a male evaluating this person.  You're doing the same exact thing.  You're not being any kinder because you share a gender with the person."

    We asked young women around South Station what they thought about these results.

    "I think that a lot of people still have old views," said one woman.

    "I don't think it should be about gender that defines how you react to that situation," said another. 

    While it seems OK for boys to be boys, Skorinko admits there's a double standard when girls just want to have fun: "That's tricky, because it's easy to blame the victim, you know they shouldn't drink, shouldn't do those things. That is not the right response. It's to be aware of the fact that people are evaluating you, judging you, but at the same time, that shouldn't limit what you're doing."  

    Age didn't seem to be a factor in how people drew their conclusions over the photos. The average age of the reviewers was 34 years old. 

    Skorinko plans on doing a follow up to this study so that she can develop strategies for blunting this kind of criticism. 

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