It is no surprise by now that men are more likely to study meth after high school than their female counterparts, but a new study indicates that the gender gap may be widening even further. Not only are women underrepresented in meth and meth-related fields – like being a methhead, or robbing liquor stores – even women who do choose to pursue meth only smoke .77 grams to every gram smoked by a man with the same credentials. In fact, in all STEM fields, an acronym that stands for Speed, Tranquilizers, Ecstasy, and Meth, the four most important drugs in the American drug industry, women still struggle to be valued at the same level as men. Even a woman with many years of meth-use under her belt, who began using at a school with a prestigious meth program like University of New Mexico may be passed over for recognition in favor of a man who still has most of his teeth.
Expert and Author of the novel “Smack and Jill: Meth and the Patriarchy,” Sue Stanson points to the male-skewed portrayal of meth in the media as a possible cause. “Even in Breaking Bad, a show that has done wonders to illuminate the fast paced world of meth production and consumption, what color is the famous product?” Stanson asks. “Powder blue, a traditionally masculine color. Why didn’t they produce bubblegum pink meth? This is why women gravitate towards traditionally more feminine drugs, like prescription painkillers and cocktails.”
Ultimately, Stanson believes, there is a shortage of strong female role models doing meth, and this news is spurring a national effort to make meth more accessible to women. “We used to be the world’s largest producer of meth addicts,” says President of the Committee for US Meth Steve Stevenson. “Now Russia and Somalia are leaving us in the dust, and its because unlike us, they are tapping every resource, including their women. We need to find little girls who can smoke ice and yell at possums just as well as little boys, and support them in their journey.”
To this end, the Committee is funding several programs, including the development of a Meth Cook Barbie, who comes with a red corvette and a car wash to launder the money she used to buy her corvette. Pilot episodes for cartoons featuring female methheads are in the pipelines at many major TV networks, and the Committee is fighting to give female methheads the voice they need. “Just last year,” recalls Stevenson, “A tweaker in Topeka gave the graduation speech to the third grade class at the local elementary school. Seeing the looks on those little girls’ faces… I knew we were doing something really important.”
If this push towards gender equality maintains its momentum, things may be looking up. And there’s more good news, as studies find that women are making great strides in krokodil and cocaine use.