In the last handful of years, college students have been hearing about — and, though we would be hard pressed to admit it, perhaps even participating in — ridiculous social trends. We’ve seen the chubby bunny, the cinnamon challenge, planking, vodka tampons, eyeball shots and Four Lokos.
What appears to now be charging toward the forefront of this list is something called “Drunkorexia,” or the act of deliberately starving oneself throughout the day in order to become intoxicated at a faster rate or to avoid consuming “extra” calories from drinking.
Certainly, this is not a new phenomenon. Beer bellies have always been something to fear, and it would be nearly impossible to find a college student who was not warned about the “freshman 15.”
The reason this issue has recently garnered more attention and has been given a name, however, seems to be due to the fact that America is more diet-obsessed than ever before, having discovered that dieting can be used to make a profit.
Is there a snack food produced that is not available as a 100-calorie pack? Are the celebrities such as Kirstie Alley, Valerie Bertinelli, and Jennifer Hudson, who have been hired to endorse a diet plan, there for any reason other than to bring in more members for Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers?
I do not want to disrespect diets or those who buy low-fat snacks in order to live a healthier lifestyle. What is upsetting about these products, though, is the fact that they do not seem to have been created for the betterment of people, but instead as a way to have people to jump on a bandwagon in order to make companies more money.
This is where the fear of liquid calories comes back into play. Think of Skinny Girl, a line of alcoholic beverages whose name and slogan — “drink like a lady” — imply that if you are not drinking low-calorie cocktails, you are not classy and perhaps not the ideal image of a woman at all.
Women have always occupied a difficult spot in the alcohol industry. Historically, female sex appeal has been utilized in order to sell more alcohol. Women looking at advertisements for beer or vodka are being told that they will not be viewed as “fun” or “sexy” unless they are willing to get drunk. Now, presented with products like Skinny Girl, they are being told the exact opposite — that they had better be careful because drinking alcohol will cause them to gain weight and become utterly unattractive — at the same time that they are viewing ads that encourage them to drink heavily.
It is no wonder that women are the main participants in Drunkorexic behavior. However, they are not alone. Men are being affected as well. A number of students on the ISU campus, both male and female, admitted to feeling pressure to avoid consuming big meals or eating in general before going out at night.
One anonymous student weighed in: “Some days I will consciously eat less so that either I don’t feel bad for drinking alcohol as part of my diet, or to get drunk quicker.” Another anonymous source stated “pressure to not look bloated when going out” as a reason for skipping meals before hitting the bars. A final student laughed when considering the issue, stating, “I think that’s every college kid’s life. I think we’re all drunkorexic.”
It is certainly important to remain conscious of what you are consuming in order to eat a healthy and balanced diet.
However, a problem arises when young people are feeling pressured to count or even eliminate their daily intake of calories completely based on the illogical notion that going out and drinking on an empty stomach will make you sexier than drinking on a satisfied one.