'Women and Children First' is a Myth, Shipwreck Study Shows -- Unless Leonardo DiCaprio Was Involved
Rather than treasure, scientists unearth buried cowardice.
If you are a woman or a child about to take an Atlantic voyage by ship, you might want to sleep a little less soundly. Swedish economists have discovered that in most cases, women and children were not put on lifeboats first, and men survived at a significantly higher rate during shipwrecks. The shipwreck study, published this week in the National Academy of Sciences , was designed to test humanity’s capacity for selflessness—a test it’s fair to say men have failed.
In the study, 18 sunken ships were examined. The survival rate was 44 percent for captains, 37 percent for male passengers, 27 percent for women, and a Darwinian 15 percent for children. Not only was chivalry dead, it appears to have been sinking to the bottom of the ocean. The evidence clearly demonstrates that men did not surrender their survival advantage. That is, except for a few famous occasions.
"On the Titanic, the survival rate of women was more than three times higher than the survival rate of men," wrote study authors Mikael Elinder of Sweden's Uppsala University and Oscar Erixson of the Research Institute of Industrial Economics in Stockholm.
Well, at least there’s some good news for Leonardo DiCaprio fans.
The Birkenhead, a British troopship, is the other documented sinking in which men bravely stood on deck (because they were ordered to do so) as women spun their parasols down onto the lifeboats with their little ones in hand. In fact, the Birkenhead sinking is where the concept of “women and children first” is said to have originated.
Like the Titanic, songs of male bravery celebrate the Birkenhead incident. I wonder what songs should be sung about the overwhelming majority of shipwrecks in which the fairer sex were served up as shark food?
I guess if you ever meet a survivor, you could ask him.
Photo: Doug Plummer/Getty Images
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Oh, and one more thing, you blithering whipped idiot:
Got to usnews.nbcnews.com and look up "hero boy 4 dies after saving 3 year old girl in pool".
Commenting only on this article, not the study, which I haven't read:
Why is Jeremy Greenberg such a male chauvinist pig? Why does he think women lack capacity and responsibility for courage and self-sacrifice? Jeremy says men have failed the test, but it doesn't even occur to him to expect women to take the test. And he's relying on data that's mostly more than a century old.
If Jeremy could take 5 minutes off from sucking up to women by trashing men, he might be able to consider the possibility that the high death rate for children in shipwrecks is due to women abandoning them. I doubt most 19th century males were taking primary responsibility for supervising children.
Jeremy links above to an LA Times article which includes a picture of the Costa Concordia--that's the Italian cruise ship that went all Poseidon Adventure a while ago. The caption below the picture disingenuously says that the Concordia crash "partially fit[s] the pattern."
The LA Times bases this asinine claim on the fact that Brave Sir Ship Captain Schettino ran away. Like the feckless eff in the Aurora movie theater who abandoned his girlfriend and two children. Both Schettino and that guy are in the minority when it comes to male cowardice vs courage.
Jeremy, here's some math homework for you. You're a boy, if not a real live one, so you should be good at both arithmetic and rescuing females:
Do an internet search on concordia hero*. That should capture "heroism," "hero(es)" and "heroine(s)." Count the number of stories about male heroism compared to female. Express this number as a ratio. Be sure you put the female number on top, or you may have a divide by zero error.
I spent less than 5 minutes on this and found 5 men but not a single woman who acted heroically in the Costa Concordia disaster. I'm sure you'll find women who behaved heroically if you search longer. Please post the ratio when you do. To keep this fair, I'm setting a 2 day time limit, but if you do get to more than a 10% ratio, I will call your wife and tell her to be nicer to you and to award you a Participation Trophy.
Extra credit: do the same analysis on the Aurora movie theater massacre.
Many of you are not taking into consideration the clothing and societal mindset of the period that the shipwrecks occurred. Ex. When you consider that the immense majority of Titanic dead were neither first class nor the crew, those that saved the first class passengers and crewmembers weren't all that heroic. And as pointed out earlier, this article doesn't mention whether the study included survivors in life jackets. Women's clothing in the 19th and early 20th century was incredibly restrictive and heavy. The women would have drowned.
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