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Risk-taking - alcohol consumption behavior


Research on beer commercials by Strate (Postman, Nystrom, Strate, And Weingartner 1987; Strate 1989, 1990) and by Wenner (1991) show some interesting results. In beer commercials, the ideas of masculinity (especially risk-taking) are presented and encouraged. The commercial focuses on a situation where a man is overcoming an obstacle in a group. The men will either be working hard or playing hard. For instance the commercial will show men who do physical labor such as cowboys, construction workers, or farm hands. The beer is shown as a reward for a job well done.

The beer is also associated with the end of the day as a transition from work to leisure. Beer commercials that involve playing hard have a central theme of mastery (over nature or over each other), risk, and adventure. For instance, the men will be outdoors fishing, camping, playing sports, or hanging out in bars. There is usually an element of danger as well as a focus on movement and speed. This appeals to and emphasizes the idea that real men overcome danger and enjoy speed (i.e. fast cars/driving fast). The bar serves as a setting for test of masculinity (skills like pool, strength and drinking ability) and serves as a center for male socializing. Beer is also associated with nature. The idea that beer is natural and pure, not harmful, perhaps even healthy is strongly suggested.

Because of this media portrayal and "strong man" attitude, men consume more alcohol than females. Men drink three times as much as women. They engage in risky behavior such as binge drinking. According to a study done by Rorabaugh, college men are among the heaviest drinkers in American society. It is conceptualized that college men are seeking adventure. From early in their college experience, men are immersed in drinking.

According to Green, drinking games are "an important factor in the socialization of new students into heavy use". Drinking is seen as an adventure in itself as well as for the fact that it frees men to experience sex, violence, and other adventurous behaviors. In exchange for taking the risk presented, college men receive acceptance from their peers. Not only is alcohol in itself a risk in these menís lives, but some college rituals and traditions expect men to mix danger while they have consumed alcohol. In American colleges, young men view their manhood as developing in a moment that is socially dominated by alcohol.

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  Standards of masculinity can not only create stress in themselves for some men, they can also limit these men's abilities to relieve stress. Men and women have different ways that they appraise stressful situations and cope with them. Some men appraise situations using the schema of what is an acceptable masculine response rather than what is objectively the best response.  Men are limited to a certain range of "approved" responses and coping strategies. Because of this limiting schema, men may not cope ...

Section: Mens health risks

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Section: Mens health risks

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  According to Arran Stibbe, men's health problems and behaviors can be linked to the socialized gender role of men in our culture. In exploring magazines, he found that they promote traditional masculinity. The magazine celebrates "male" things such as liking guns, fast cars, and fast women and reading pornography regularly. In the magazine several "ideal" men are promoted. The problem: all these men have health risks.  The bodybuilder image that is promoted usually has poor ...

Section: Mens health risks

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