On the Rocks

On the Rocks

Straight Talk about Women and Drinking

Susan D. Stewart


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Existing portrayals of women who drink typically fall into two categories: disturbing stories of women hitting “rock bottom,” resulting in ruined careers, families, and futures, or amusing stories of fun and harmless “girls’ nights out,” with women drinking and overindulging as a temporary escape from a never-ending list of work and family demands. Drawing on original research and extensive interviews with a diverse group of women, author Susan Stewart challenges these stereotypes, revealing women’s complex relationships with alcohol and factors associated with its use.

In On the Rocks Stewart asks a question others might prefer stay buried: what about women's lives have changed such that they drink more alcohol? Stewart’s participants share stories of the many social forces that encourage women to drink: increased marketing of alcohol to women, the growing presence of alcohol in the workplace, pressure to drink from friends and family, and that drinking provides an easy “time-out” from children and housework. Stewarts' unvarnished examination of women and drinking challenges readers to think through its implications to individuals, families, and society.


Susan D. Stewart:

Susan D. Stewart is professor of sociology at Iowa State University. She is author or co-author of several books including Co-Sleeping: Parents, Children, and Musical Beds, Marriages, Families, and Relationships, Brave New Stepfamilies, and Multicultural Stepfamilies. Her research focuses on gender, family diversity, parenting, and children and adults’ physical, social, and emotional health. She has published articles on a range of topics in leading peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Marriage and Families, Journal of Family Issues, Demography, and Journal of Gynecology and Women’s Health. Dr. Stewart resides in Ames, Iowa with her husband, daughter, and three cats.