Teenagers drink, no matter how much we try to stop them. It doesn’t matter what kinds of laws we enact, and at what age they’re legally allowed to drink. The fact that drinking is against the law only makes it more alluring for teenagers.
But drinking heavily as a teenager can have consequences – and those consequences might be more detrimental for girls than for boys. A study published earlier this year found that when girls and boys consume proportional amounts of alcohol, girls seem to be more negatively effected. Specifically, girls with a history of binge drinking had lower levels of activity in brain regions that control spatial activities.
One factor in this disparity might be that girls tend to weigh less than boys, and so equal amounts of alcohol have a greater impact on their bodies. Another reason for this difference between girls and boys could be due to the one thing we pride teenaged girls on: maturing faster than their male counterparts. Girls who binge drink are soaking their brains in alcohol at a time of rapid cognitive development, while boys their same age are progressing at a slower rate.
Should we use this information to educate girls about the risks of drinking? Sure, but just lecturing them won’t make a difference. We need to teach them to be safe and healthy, and use this research to show why binge drinking can have lasting consequences.
Girl Museum Inc.