Westchester 54


S candal ’s Olivia Pope loves fine red wine in a very large goblet. The Good Wife ’s Alicia Florrick shares the same passion in an equally large wine glass. Brandi Glanville, a “Housewife of Beverly Hills,” likes white wine while she tweets and Today Show hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb sip daintily from pretty glasses of white wine while chatting, offering up uproarious jokes from their perches at ten in the morning. Women drinking wine. It’s the new normal. Young women in their twenties and thirties are getting drunk at parties, with plastic cups in hand on Facebook and Instagram. Their mothers are regularly drinking white wine at parties and in restaurants, energized to be out socializing and imbibing. In between all that evening entertainment, on nights in, many women are getting home from work eager to pour their first glass of wine. “I earned it,” they say, “it was a long day.” Once considered a highbrow beverage of the very rich, wine has now firmly taken its place in the drinking culture. Still considered a hybrid between sophisticated and delicious, wine is, for many, an intoxicant with a charismatic personality enhanced by a 12 percent alcohol content. The increase in wine consumption has swept in on a wave of social change. Women fought for decades to achieve social and economic par- ity with men. Their very success is mirrored in the rising rate of female alcohol consumption, as old mores and restrictions fall away. It has be- come totally socially acceptable for women to drink. Pollsters have found that the more educated and well off a woman is, the more likely she is to drink. White women are more likely to drink than women of other racial

backgrounds, but that distinction is also diminishing. The rise in drinking by women is reflected in some somber statistics. The number of women arrested for drunken driving rose 30 percent between 1998 and 2007. Emergency room visits for dangerous intoxica- tion rose by 52 percent. While 24 percent of binge drinking women are college-age, ten percent of women between 45 and 65 said they binge drink. Three percent of women over 65 also binge drink. These statistics are not accompanied by a similar rise in alcohol consumption by men, although men do drink more than women. Drinking and partying is part of the culture for many young women who have progressed from a university setting to a twenty-something life style where clubbing and after-work get-togethers embrace alcohol con- sumption. By the time they move on to motherhood, their relationship with alcohol is already established. Said one young mother of two who lives in the wealthy shoreline town of Westport, Ct., “drinking a glass or two of wine at a play date on a Friday afternoon is commonplace.” Most young women, fearful of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, draw the line at drinking wine when they are pregnant, but they do not see anything wrong with drinking wine as they prepare dinner or socialize at play-dates. They embrace it as a relief from the struggles of the day, and a welcome way to socialize while their tots parallel play. “If a mom has too much to drink, we drive her and her kids home.” The new drinking culture of moms has been well documented, in books and online. Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, a Los Angeles comedienne


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