Girls Are Retarded When They
re Ston ed.
Marijuana an d the Con struction of Gender
Roles Amon g Adolescent Females
Jessica War ner,
Tim oth y R. Weber, and Ricar do Alban es
Addiction Research Foundaton
This paper exam ines why adolescent fem ales con tinu e to use less m arijuan a
than do adolescent males, with a partic ular emphasis on the norm ative
boun daries that restrict fem ales in their access to an d use of m arijuana. The
results are based on the an alysis of the tran scripts of 42 focus groups, with
122 male and 110 female participants. Focu s groups were condu cted in nine
separate high schools, three of which included sizeable nu mbers of students
of non-European ancestry. The resu lts suggest that trad itional gender roles
contin ue to limit females in their access to this particular form of leisure an d
sociability, an d that these roles are in part enforced by male peers in their
capacity as dealers and distribu tors.
Moderator: Where and when are guys most likely to use
Respondent: Anywhere, anytime.
Moderator: What about girls?
Respondent: Probably more with guys. At parties.
Excerpt from focus group consistin g
of six males in their senior year of high
Surve ys conducte d in North America show that male s, on average ,
drink more alcohol than do fe male s, and use more marijuana, he roin, and
cocaine , both in powde re d and crystal form. Diffe re nce s by ge nde r in the
rates of use of these drugs have re maine d re lative ly constant ove r the past
Sex Roles, Vol. 40, Nos. 1/2, 1999
1999 Ple num Publishing Corporation
The views expressed in this paper represent those of the authors and do not ne cessarily
represe nt those of the Addiction Rese arch Foundation.
To whom corre sponde nce should be addresse d at Addiction Research Foundation, 33 Russell
Street, Toronto, O ntario M5S 2P1 Canada; e-mail JWarn er@ ARF.org