The highly anticipated film adaptation of Paula Hawkins’s best-selling novel “The Girl on the Train” is just a week away from opening — great news for fans of the cult thriller. And thanks to lead actress Emily Blunt, that also means an important issue — the double standard of alcohol abuse — is getting some attention.
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Blunt plays protagonist Anna Watson, a woman who gets caught up in a thrilling murder mystery all the while struggling with drinking, often to the point of getting black-out drunk. Blunt spoke out like a boss earlier this week in the Hollywood Reporter about the glaring gender bias when it comes to how people view those who suffer from alcohol dependency.
“A woman is a drunk, a whore, whereas the guy’s like a partyer, a player,” Blunt told THR. “I’ve been around both women who drink too much and guys who drink too much, and it’s just as ugly on the guys. It makes me crazy.”
Blunt’s words come at a time when approximately 17 million Americans — that’s nearly one in 12 adults — are struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD), according to National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Gender bias when it comes to alcoholism doesn’t just hurt women; it hurts society as a whole by perpetuating stereotypes. Demonizing and shaming women with AUD leaves those afflicted isolated and ashamed, hurting families and often keeping women from reaching out for help in the first place for fear of being judged.
As for men, the media often romanticizes heavy drinkers as tortured souls or artists who bear too great a burden (think Hemingway, Bukowski, Kerouac — take your pick). Men who struggle with alcoholism often have their addiction minimized to the status of “hard partier,” a title that takes away the severity of their pain and addiction and ultimately allows them to drink and not seek the help they, too, need.
Our society has come a long way in viewing diseases and disorders that are hard to understand for those who don’t suffer from them as actual ailments, but there’s still a long way to go. Bravo to Blunt for taking her latest role to a place that resonates on a much deeper level for so many.
What Do YOU think?
Is there a double standard around how men and women are treated for alcohol abuse?