Binge Drinking

Simply put, binge drinking refers to drinking more than double the lower risk guidelines for alcohol in one session. Binge drinking or heavy episodic drinking is a modern epithet for drinking alcoholic beverages with the primary intention of becoming

31

Oct 2017

Sensitize it, don’t glamorize it -Movies and binge drinking

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There are diverse factors which are associated with alcohol consumption and alcohol abuse. These include various social, psychological, economic, biological, environmental factors which collectively play a major role in influencing an individual’s alcohol consumption habits. It has also been observed that movies play a vital role in influencing the social framework and the alcohol culture as portrayed in the movies undeniably influences the masses. An increasing alcohol culture in the movies only endorses the existing evil by glamorizing it.

Various Studies have been conducted to find out the factors which lead to binge drinking and alcoholism. In a recent study it has been observed that adolescents are more prone to being influenced by movies and movie stars. When exposed to drinking in movies, they are at an even greater risk of falling prey to binge drinking and develop other alcohol related problems as adults.

Macroscopically, even though movies do not directly promote alcohol consumption or other substance abuse, however they do impact the minds of the masses by glamorizing the consumption of alcohol. When people see an actor enjoying a drink or two on reel life and portraying the role of a drunkard, the likelihood of people imbibing that habit in real life greatly increases.Society and movies share a necessary symbiotic relationship. Movies draw inspiration from real life and in turn influence the society, both negatively and positively. These stories and our reality share a connection–  some are about the lives we only wish to lead and some are ‘us’, the lives which we lead and we often identify with them and idolize those characters.  Some characters pull those heart strings and their emotional journey within the movie seems very relatable to people.

How often have we sympathized at the plight of that utterly heartbroken man who’s crying rivers and diving in pools of alcohol for the lost love. We have immortalized that ‘tragic hero’ who couldn’t handle the betrayal when his lady love marries another man and eventually he surrenders the reins of his life to alcohol. The level of pathos around the ‘crestfallen lover’ has been glamorized to such a great extent that it has become a norm to address broken hearted lovers by the name of that character. It is not about only one such character, you wouldn’t even have to dig deeper or rake your brains for hours, there are numerous such movie characters, on the home turf and internationally.It is also observed that there has been a gradual yet a massive shift in the portrayal of a ‘strong, fearless, modern woman’ who works hard and parties even harder but not without a glass of alcohol in her hand or that mafia who sips only the finest scotch.Drinking here becomes synonymous with portrayal of strength, freedom, power and fear.

An increased alcohol culture in the movies has turned binge drinking and alcoholism into an ultimate solution to any problem and an obvious extension of human emotions. Consumption of alcohol has been made into a ‘cool’ norm. Celebration, tragedy, losses- of all kinds, you name it and alcohol is the answer to everything under the sun. Last we heard, it can mend broken hearts too!

Cinema as a medium has also inspired path breaking mass-movements by giving voice to many social causes. Movies are capable to revolutionizing an entire generation and many more to come.The captivating world and character portrayals shown on the big screen have always charmed people. Not only do they idolize the movie stars, but people also idolize the on screen characters played by the actors. People are more prone to be influenced to consume alcohol when they see drinking as a ‘norm’ in movies. Thus, there is a greater need to utilize this medium even more responsibly and positively.

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