Patriotism, Sexism, and the Drinking Age

Here in America, at least 86% of people ages 18 and up have admitted to consuming alcohol at some point in their lives. Americans drink. It’s a fact of life. But we also have laws regulating that alcohol consumption. The drinking age set by the federal government is 21 years old. That means that if you are under the age of 21, you are not legally allowed to drink alcohol in most states. 

Some states have their own unique set of laws that they adhere to when it comes to minors drinking alcohol, though. In Texas, for example, those who are classified as legal adults under the law but happen to be under the age of 21 are allowed to drink alcohol as long as they are within eyesight of their parents or legal guardians.

Over the years, people have rallied and fought hard against this age limit. Despite science and data showing how alcohol consumption negatively affects developing brains, people still insist that adults 18 and up should legally be allowed to drink alcohol.

Some of the arguments include “kids are drinking anyways” and “as long as the parents don’t care, it should be fine”. The main argumet in favor of changing the drinking age, though, is sexist. If any of you have sat through a high school class presentation or drank with anyone that has kids in the military, you will no doubt have heard this argument a million times. It goes along the lines of “if our kids can go and fight for our country, they should be able to have a beer”.

This stance seems to hold weight until you consider that women were not always allowed in combat roles. The argument precedes them being allowed in combat. The high school kids arguing to lower the drinking age are male. The guy at the bar or your uncle at Thanksgiving giving his unsolicited opinion on the drinking age is exclusivley referring to men in combat roles 100% of the time. Their REAL argument is more like “men aged 18 and up should be able to drink alcohol”. 

Why is that? Are women not as deserving of getting wasted just because, for years, men were keeping them out of fighting roles? Is drinking unbecoming of a woman? Is it an exclusively male experience? This whole paragraph is made up of questions that have only one answer: sexism.

Not only are women just as deserving of drinking alcohol as men are, they might be more deserving. After all, they have to put up with a lot from the patriarchy. From catcalls to office sexism to the wage gap. If men need to get hammered on a Wednesday because of a stressful half-week, imagine how women feel. Also, women mature faster than men, so they are biologically more capable of handling alcohol consuption than young men are.

We need to rethink the way we “fight” for the rights of young Americans. If you can’t make a compelling argument for changing a law that affects all of us without talking about how it just affects half of us, you haven’t thought your argument all the way out. Fix it.

Follow me: @KallMeKarter

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