All the Waters of Lethe: An Experience of Female Alcoholism in Federation Queensland
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Whether it is treated as an issue for consternation or celebration, a propensity for drunkenness has long been represented as an essential trait of the Australian character. The image of the Australian drinker has remained distinctly masculine, with drinking canonised as a male pastime by Russel Ward's The Australian Legend (Ward 1958: 2). While Australian histories of inebriation have recognised the gendered nature of alcohol use, they have assumed implicitly that because drinking typically has been considered a masculine prerogative, the primary significance of liquor consumption to gender studies lies in the role it played in the construction of masculine identity. The assumption has been that because women's drinking was not conducted on the same scale as men's, the excessive drinking indulged in by a minority of females is unimportant to larger understandings of femininity. This has inhibited investigation of female drunkenness, the responses it provoked and the critical expression of power relations constituted by these reactions.
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Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)