The ironically-surnamed Rachel Olding, writing in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, has discovered something shocking: girls of today are MUCH WILDER THAN THEY WERE WHEN SHE WAS A GIRL (five years ago):

Spending a month touring Sydney’s bars with the girls was an unfettered, depressing experience. I’m only five years older than them but their behaviour seems five times more outrageous than anything from my school days — just how much lower can the bar go? Theirs is a world in which giving a boy a blow job in the toilets is “pretty slutty” but you’ll shrug it off the next day.


One of the SMH images they IN NO WAY selected mainly to titillate (and we can only assume they checked that the women pictured were over 18)

For all the prurient detail about these girls’ sex lives, the main serious consequence that Rachel can actually list about their partying is from alcohol abuse:

Fifteen- to 18-year-olds have the highest rate of hospital admissions for drunkenness of any age group; by the age of 18, one in three teens is drinking at a high-risk level compared to one in 10 two decades ago. For young women, the risk of being admitted to hospital with alcohol-related liver disease has steadily increased in the past decade.

Paul Dillon, former spokesman for the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and author of Teenagers, Alcohol and Drugs, last year visited the hospital bed of a 28-year-old Melbourne woman dying of alcohol-related liver cirrhosis.

Thing is, that real harm is not the same as what Rachel appears to be most outraged about in the article: ALL THAT FILTHY PROMISCUITY. By women with “short skirts” and “spread legs”. She mentions a rise in some STDs – but as a basis for implicitly demanding more chaste behaviour, not a renewed emphasis on life-saving safe-sex precautions.

Because none of the “slutty” behaviour is going to cause cirrhosis or brain damage or the other devastating outcomes of binge-drinking. But apparently it’s more shocking to parents and the Sydney Morning Herald audience:

“My mum knows how much I drink but I would never tell her about sleeping with guys,” says Sara.

Which, if her mother’s priority was Sara’s health, would seem to be completely the wrong way around. (It’s the former that should bother her.)

And alcohol abuse is also a problem for young men. So, presumably, is the increase in STDs. If this piece is about the dangers of alcohol poisoning for the young (which is what pretty much all the devastating outcomes are from), then what’s with all the angry whinging about insufficiently chaste females?

Because what Rachel has mainly provided here is patronising putting-young-women-in-their-place on the basis of their sexuality; the old double-standard about women needing to be under someone’s control – given away by the headline, “Do you know what your daughter’s doing tonight?” Not “do you know what your kids are doing tonight” – the boys are partying too – but LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS hand-wringing. Your daughters are turning into shameless sluts! They’re going to be white trash! It’s your fault for not raising obedient, demure little women who won’t scandalise their elders!

Also, there’s an uncriticised quote from Melinda Tankard-Reist. So, you know.

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