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A Titanic mistake? New research sinks the “women and children first” myth.

Another manifestation of Sink Misandry

The Titanic sank 100 years ago today, and Men’s Rights Activists are still pissed off about it.

They’re not really pissed off that it sank. They’re pissed off that the men on board were more likely to go down with the ship than the women. You know, that whole “women and children first” thing.

Some MRAs were so pissed off about this that they were planning to march on Washington on this very day in an attempt, as they put it, to “Sink Misandry.”

You don’t know how much I would have loved to see this, a dozen angry dudes marching in circles on the National Mall carrying signs protesting the sinking of the Titanic and demanding that in all future sinkings of the Titanic that women and men be equally likely to drown in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. For that would be justice at last!

But, alas, due to unspecified logistical problems this march was cancelled some months back, and so misandry remains unsunk.

Or does it?

For you see, it turns out that the whole “women and children first” thing was not really a thing. Oh, on The Titanic it was. But women unfortunate enough to be passengers on sinking ships that weren’t the Titanic (or the HMS Birkenhead, which sunk off the coast of South Africa in 1852) weren’t able to push ahead to the front of the line. That, at least, is the conclusion of a new Swedish study (link is to a pdf of it).

As Discovery News explains:

The chivalrous code “women and children first” appears to have sunk with the Titanic 100 years ago.

Long believed to be the golden standard of conduct in a shipwreck, the noble edict is in fact “a myth that has been nourished by the Titanic disaster,” economist Mikael Elinder of Uppsala University, Sweden, told Discovery News.

Elinder and colleague Oscar Erixson analyzed a database of 18 peace-time shipwrecks over the period 1852–2011 in a new study into survival advantages at sea disasters.

Looking at the fate of over 15,000 people of more than 30 nationalities, the researchers found that more women and children die than men in maritime disasters, while captains and crew have a greater chance of survival than any passengers.

Being a woman was an advantage on only two ships: on the Birkenhead in 1852 and on the Titanic in 1912.

The notion of “women and children first” may have captured the popular imagination, but it’s never been an official policy for ship evacuations. It wouldn’t be fair, nor would it be an efficient way to get as many people as possible to safety.

Nor was “women and children” strictly enforced even on the Titanic. True, my great-grandfather, the mystery writer Jacques Futrelle, was one of those who went down with the ship, while his wife and my great-grandmother, writer Lily May Futrelle made it off safely (in the last lifeboat). But there were many men who survived, and many women who died.

If you want to get mad about the sinking of the Titanic all those years ago, get mad at the White Star Line for not bothering to equip the ship with lifeboats enough for everyone on it. Blame the captain, for ordering the ship to continue plowing ahead on a dark, foggy night into an area of the Atlantic where numerous icebergs had just been sighted by a number of other ships. Blame the crew for botching the evacuation – for the strange lack of urgency after the ship hit the iceberg, for the lifeboats leaving the sinking ship with half as many passengers as they could fit.

Much like the iceberg that sank the Titanic, Elinder and Erixson’s research has poked a giant hole in the “women and children first” myth. Of course, MRAs aren’t interested in historical accuracy. They’re looking for excuses to demonize women and feminists. So I imagine we’ll be hearing about the Titanic from them for years to come.

Here’s another tragic sinking, of yet another ship without a sufficient number of lifeboats:

EDIT: I added a couple of relevant links and fixed a somewhat egregious typo.

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Snowy
Snowy
8 years ago

Cis means one presents with the same gender one is.

Well, unless they’re in the closet or for whatever reason have decided not to transition transpeople also present as the same gender that they are. Did you mean the gender they were assigned at birth?

So someone like Chaz Bono would not be cis because she presents herself as a man but has female sexual organs?

Chaz Bono is not trans, yes. “She” nothing, he presents himself as a man because he is one, and his sex organs are really non of my or your or anyone’s business and have nothing to do with him being a man.

Snowy
Snowy
8 years ago

oops meant to say cis in the second response thar thar

Rutee Katreya
8 years ago

Are you talking to yourself? Anyway, how would you react to a man telling you “get the fuck over women’s suffrage, it was 102 years ago!”
“The Titanic was a singular disaster not indicative of a trend. Women’s inability to vote has been solved for the west, but is only one chapter of the millenia-long oppression of women. IT is an ongoing problem in many, many countries, as well, and it should be treated as a relevant part of history (Which is what almost all feminists do, regarding women’s suffrage in the west)”

Morons.

Rutee Katreya
8 years ago

Wahaha! Forgot to close my blockquote this time XD

Are you talking to yourself? Anyway, how would you react to a man telling you “get the fuck over women’s suffrage, it was 102 years ago!”

“The Titanic was a singular disaster not indicative of a trend. Women’s inability to vote has been solved for the west, but is only one chapter of the millenia-long oppression of women. IT is an ongoing problem in many, many countries, as well, and it should be treated as a relevant part of history (Which is what almost all feminists do, regarding women’s suffrage in the west)”

Morons

jumbofish
8 years ago

So someone like Chaz Bono would not be cis because she presents herself as a man but has female sexual organs?

Just dittoing that chaz bono is a “he” and sexual organ’s are irrelevant to trans people’s gender (or anyone else’s gender while you are at it). It’s really insulting to call a trans person by their gender they were assigned at birth so don’t do that.

Presentation doesn’t determine if you are trans or not even for cis people and it definitely does not determine the gender of trans people. A cis man can crossdress or a cis woman can wear all masculine attire and still be cis. It really all relies on personal identification.

TK
TK
8 years ago

Ooh, chivalry on steroids. Are you going to carry me and my groceries across that puddle?

Bunny
Bunny
8 years ago

This is very confusing because Chaz presents as a man but is actually a female. When she gets her new penis then she will become a man. I don’t see how one can be made so I guess they get it from an organ donor, along with testicles then will be cis. But how do they change her genetic XX to a man’s XY? And what if after she becomes a man he’s homosexual? Maybe she’s a heterosexual now but will became a homosexual after he gets his new penis.Or parhaps she’s a lesbian now and when she becomes a man and gets a penis he’ll then have sex with women and be a heterosexual.

Rutee Katreya
8 years ago

This is very confusing because Chaz presents as a man but is actually a female

That’s two strikes now. No. Chaz is a man now; period.

I don’t see how one can be made so I guess they get it from an organ donor, along with testicles then will be cis.

No, Chaz will be a trans man even after the surgery, because asshats like you are always looking for the next reason to deny the gender of trans people.

But how do they change her genetic XX to a man’s XY?

Case in point. It’s irrelevant.

nd what if [idiocy redacted] he’s homosexual?

Then he’s a gay man, but AFAIK Chaz is straight. Any other dumb-ass questions?

Or parhaps she’s a lesbian now and when she becomes a man and gets a penis he’ll then have sex with women and be a heterosexual.
Apparently just dumbass statements. Chaz is a dude now. Get it right, you cissexist cretin.

mbaxter666
mbaxter666
8 years ago

Kendra, thanks for sharing the story of how your Hospitals worked in the tornado. It’s good that they were able to do quite a bit in the face of an overwhelming disaster. Were the people with pick-ups responding to a plan, or did they offer help off their own bat? We practice different disasters both on paper and acted-out, with the ambulance, police, fire brigade, SES, and so on, to make sure all the organisations communicate and work together. It sounds like both the professionals and the public worked very well in your tornado.

We have two levels of power, a back up generator and a UPS for theatres and ventilated patients (I imagine a tornado would be too much to handle). Somehow, an electrician called in by a contractor managed to get hold of the key to the UPS system, and between them they turned of ALL the power for 5 minutes – in the middle of the day! Theatres and ICU were ventilating people by hand, in the dark in the case of theatres, as they have only small windows.

Magpie
8 years ago

That’s Magpie above, in case you couldn’t tell 😉

Dvärghundspossen
8 years ago

In my morning paper today, there was a big article about how research shows that shared custody children (one week with mum, one week with dad) have a higher level of well-being in general than children who live with their mum only; that shared custody is the norm nowadays; and a story about a man whose ex-wife wanted sole custody but managed to get shared custody through a court ruling. This all makes me a bit confused, since Sweden is such a “hotbed for misandry”, and Swedish researchers have misandric bias. But perhaps the whole article was a late April joke.

Kyrie
Kyrie
8 years ago

Dvärghundspossen:

This all makes me a bit confused, since Sweden is such a “hotbed for misandry”, and Swedish researchers have misandric bias.

Is this ironic? Since from your name and blog you seem to be a Swedish woman, it probably is, but it being the internet I would advise for more clarity.

eline (formerly a Finnish emigrant, in the process of renaming self)
eline (formerly a Finnish emigrant, in the process of renaming self)
8 years ago

Oh lawldy, that femitheist blog. I can’t decide if it’s satire made from MRA comments, an MRA posing as a “feminist” from his worst nightmares or a very disturbed individual on the scale of the worst misogynist MRA’s, only the misandrist version. In any case, the BS in that blog has nothing to do with what vast majority of feminists thinks. It’s ramblings of a nutcase who calls themselves a feminist.

Dvärghundspossen
8 years ago

Kyrie, yes. 🙂 It was ironic.

Magpie
8 years ago

Notice the femitheist blog only started yesterday – maybe it was set up by whoever first linked to it?

Kavette
Kavette
8 years ago

Remember people feminists killed Kurt Cobain… and all men are the sons of Kain.

(see his other video’s) Yes dear when your cut you do bleed.

jumbofish
8 years ago

This is very confusing because Chaz presents as a man but is actually a female. When she gets her new penis then she will become a man. I don’t see how one can be made so I guess they get it from an organ donor, along with testicles then will be cis. But how do they change her genetic XX to a man’s XY? And what if after she becomes a man he’s homosexual? Maybe she’s a heterosexual now but will became a homosexual after he gets his new penis.Or parhaps she’s a lesbian now and when she becomes a man and gets a penis he’ll then have sex with women and be a heterosexual.

You know I can’t actually tell if you are trolling or seriously don’t know any better. I will say that if you are being honest you literally know nothing about trans people. I am not going to answer your bs questions because I answered them already and I take it you just didn’t like the answer. If you care and want to know about trans people instead of making gross utterly misunderstanding comments fucking research. There is so many comms dedicated to trans people and many websites that discuss what it means to be trans. Hell I think wikipedia probably give you enough info to answer all these questions. If you don’t like the answer then suck it up, no one here needs to answer your ignorance.

MollyRen (@MollyRen)
8 years ago

his is very confusing because Chaz presents as a man but is actually a female. When she gets her new penis then she will become a man. I don’t see how one can be made so I guess they get it from an organ donor, along with testicles then will be cis.

Oh man, now you’re just trollin’. This is like every dumb assumption about trans people stuffed into one comment, though “organ donor” made me LOL.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

RE: Bunny

Dude. Do you have ANY fucking idea how much a penis costs on the white market? Those fuckers might as well cost their weight in GOLD. Also it comes with a ton of possible complications.

Don’t call me ‘she’ for not wanting to hawk up $100K for an organ I don’t want. It makes you an asshole.

Also, I’m gay. Because I like to bang men, you see. It’s not complicated. I’m a man who gets the tinglies for my hubby. So I’m a gay man. And seeing as you are NOT my hubby, I don’t see what any business it is of yours what I have in my pants.

RE: Mollyren

Seeing as how my brother has the exact same opinion, I can’t dismiss it.

Falconer
Falconer
8 years ago

Seeing as how my brother has the exact same opinion, I can’t dismiss it.

Sorry to hear about that. Hugs? I wish everyone’s family was awesome about their presentation and orientation but we’ll just have to work harder to make that more common.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

RE: Falconer

Enh, it’s fine. I haven’t spoken to my brother in years (unless you count one conversation about the weather). So I don’t have to deal with his crap these days. I sure don’t want to put up with it from newbies on the internet. That’s what the Google phrase ‘trans101’ is for.

lauralot89
8 years ago

Wait, wait, wait, we get war names now? DUDE. Why did no one tell me this when I was initiated into the secret ranks of the feminist army of misandry? I call Diana!

Viscaria
Viscaria
8 years ago

Strangely, when someone tells me who they are, I take them on their word. I don’t decide whether or not I believe them based on extremely personal details relating to their genitals and their medical history. Nor would I ever think it’s in any way appropriate to ask a perfect stranger about extremely personal details relating to their genitals and their medical history.

Kyn
Kyn
8 years ago

Ugh, Bunny. I’m almost sorry I assumed your intentions were good, now I feel like you’re trolling. Sadly, a lot of people share the gross opinions you’re presenting as your own, so if you are a troll, you’re kind of a crap one.

Quick question: do you administer DNA tests to every single person you meet? Do you have to look at their genitals before you know whether to use “he” or “she”? If the answer is “no”, then obviously, in your own experience, there must be something else going on. Gender is a whole complicated social construct and transition is one of the ways people navigate it: but a trans man is a man and a trans woman is a woman. You will never know otherwise unless they tell you. I don’t want to derail this whole thread with trans101 (google is your friend), but
ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING: use the damn third-person singular pronoun the person you’re talking about prefers. In the case of Chaz Bono: “he”. I’d throw a note in about singular “they”, “ey/eir”, and “zie/zir”, but that’s kind of advanced class. All you really need to know is that if you call someone “she” and they say “Excuse me, but it’s ‘he’, I’m male”, you have no reason to argue.

cloudiah
8 years ago

Our friend Mags has her doubts about femitheist too — link on previous page.

Bunny: Go away.

MollyRen (@MollyRen)
8 years ago

Dude. Do you have ANY fucking idea how much a penis costs on the white market? Those fuckers might as well cost their weight in GOLD. Also it comes with a ton of possible complications.

How does this fit in with the myth of trans robots stealing cis women’s vaginas we had a while back? Where’s Ami when you need her to help us build our trans gender dystopia?! XD

Kyrie
Kyrie
8 years ago

Quick question: do you administer DNA tests to every single person you meet?

Only on first dates, so I can look at what our potential babies will look like.
I… I don’t date a lot.

🙁

Kyrie
Kyrie
8 years ago

We have trans robots?? Is this why women keep stealing used condoms?

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

RE: MollyRen

But how would you… no. NO. I changed my mind! I’m not asking that question!

RE: Lauralot

MY war name is Meaty McManhammer. The THIRD.

ozymandias42
8 years ago

…Change. Chromosomes. Oh dear.

Bunny, read this please: http://tranarchism.com/2010/11/26/not-your-moms-trans-101/

I kind of wonder what Bunny thinks I should change in order to get the pronouns I want…

ozymandias42
8 years ago

My war name is Ozy the Octopus.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

RE: Ozymandias42

Your chromosomes, obviously.

(PS: my little sibling uses the pronouns ‘zie’ too. Zie says hi and approves of your choice of tentaclecritters.)

Kyrie
Kyrie
8 years ago

I think you probably need ZZ chromosome to be called “zie”.

Kyrie
Kyrie
8 years ago

Amusingly, Bunny got one fact kind of right about Chaz: he is heterosexual, IIRC.

Shadow
Shadow
8 years ago

I think you probably need ZZ chromosome to be called “zie”.

Wouldn’t that just make you narcoleptic? Must be hard to get shit done when you identify as “zie”.

My war name WOULD be John Henry Irons, but I have a feeling there’s already one here. *shakes fist at, and gives dap to, possible John Henry Irons*

speedlines
speedlines
8 years ago

I think you need a ZZ chromosome to grow a ZZ Top beard.

lauralot89
8 years ago

The real question is, who’s claiming the war name “Penis McKillPerson”?

Falconer
Falconer
8 years ago

MY war name is Meaty McManhammer. The THIRD.

I applaud your awesomeness, Mr. the THIRD.

If cock&balls are worth their weight in gold, who’s got $100,000 worth, and what shape’s their spine in?

Holly Pervocracy
8 years ago

Assuming you’re asking in good faith, Bunny:

Trans people don’t change their gender when they have surgery. They have surgery to have bodies fitting the gender they already have.* A trans man who has his breasts removed doesn’t go from “woman” to “man”–he goes from “man with breasts” to “man without breasts.”

And a question to consider, if you think gender is nothing more than a description of someone’s genitals:
If a cis man (XY, identifies as male, socially treated as male, absolutely no reason to think he’s a woman by anyone’s definition) is injured in an accident and loses his penis and testicles, would you start calling him “she”?

*Sort of complicated actually, because saying a particular body “fits” a particular gender is in itself problematic? But close enough for 101 I hope.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

RE: Lauralot

I thought that would be just too over-the-top.

RE: Falconer

I’m sure there’s a kink for that somewhere.

RE: Holly

Our body/gender situation is more complicated than that, but boiled down: the body is a vehicle, like a car. I have been granted permission by the other drivers to modify this car. (Pimp my corporeal ride, as it were.) The modified car looks, to some people, MORE like a “boy car” than a “girl car,” but that is sheer coincidence; it’s just a freaking car. I’m modding it for my comfort, because I have to drive the damn thing, but I’m not modding it with the specific intention of making it look like a “boy car.” I’m modding it to be easier for me to drive.

But I doubt it has ever occurred to Bunny that the body is not the self.

katz
8 years ago

Kyn: I’m not familiar with ey/eir. Is that a synonym for zie, or does it mean something different?

Ami Angelwings
8 years ago

http://ami-rants.blogspot.ca/2009/01/what-happens-when-transphobes.html

Sorry, I was sleeping. xD That’s what Molly Ren was referring to about the radfem dystopian future where trans terminators are marching across the scorched plains to harvest organs from cis women to further power the trans war machine. xD

Kendra, the bionic mommy
Kendra, the bionic mommy
8 years ago

@Magpie, the people that came to help just did so all of their own initiative. Another thing is that the employees who were off duty came to work even though they were explicitly trained not to after a disaster. They knew their help was needed anyway, and didn’t let an unnecessary rule stop them. The hospital administrators were very grateful, because they were wishing they had never made such a rule and wanted as many extra hands as possible. It really angers me that the MRA’s try to portray disasters as being every person for hirself rather than being a time when everyone pulls together to help everyone else.

The rest of the hospital disaster training was useful. The doctors and nurses already knew to move patients away from windows during tornado warnings, which they call “Code Gray”. During the actual tornado, they were unable to try to resuscitate the people on ventilators, because they were in danger themselves. At that time, they were just trying to avoid getting sucked out of windows and get hurt by flying debris. They didn’t know that even in the hallways, they would be in danger. We’ve learned from that lesson, though, and passed a bond issue to put storm shelters in our schools as they’re rebuilt.

Holly Pervocracy
8 years ago

The idea of having to evacuate the hospital in a disaster just terrifies me. I know there are patients who wouldn’t make it, people who just can’t be moved safely on short notice, and it makes me feel sick to my stomach that we might not be able to get everyone out. The idea of “every man for himself” is only appealing to people whose idea of a disaster comes out of action movies.

lauralot89
8 years ago

And even disaster movies are willing to show evacuation efforts, a la the hospital explosion in The Dark Knight.

Ami! I feel like I haven’t seen you in ages!

Kendra, the bionic mommy
Kendra, the bionic mommy
8 years ago

The idea of having to evacuate the hospital in a disaster just terrifies me. I know there are patients who wouldn’t make it, people who just can’t be moved safely on short notice, and it makes me feel sick to my stomach that we might not be able to get everyone out. The idea of “every man for himself” is only appealing to people whose idea of a disaster comes out of action movies.

Exactly. It was a terrible situation for the doctors and nurses at St. John’s Hospital, Greenbriar Nursing Home, and the group home for people with developmental disabilities. They had the responsibility of saving other peoples’ lives when they were also in grave danger. One social worker at a group home tried to save the three men under his care, but went into a coma during the tornado. After he woke up a few months later, he found out that none of the men in his care survived. To make matters worse, his insurance refused to pay worker’s comp on his medical bills, which totaled $2.5 million. They finally paid, though, after the media put them in the spotlight.

One nurse from St. John’s gave up nursing because she had too much trauma from seeing so many gruesome injuries that night. Her husband found her sleepwalking, and trying to bandage up the furniture with toilet paper. Another one also quit because her entire family died at the Home Depot, so she felt unable to care for other people in her grief. When I think about what they experienced, it makes me feel very grateful for having my entire family safe and sound. I’m also glad we went through the tornado together, so that made it a little less scary. Sorry, I am telling way too many tornado stories again. Every time the MRA’s bring up disasters and life and death situations, it brings it all back to me again.

Xanthë
8 years ago

katz, it’s another set of gender-neutral pronouns known as Spivak, which are based on taking the plural third person (they/them/their/theirs/themselves) and taking off the ‘th’ to get the singular (ey/em/eir/eirs/emself). Works better in written English than spoken, because the Spivak pronouns are close to other more common words. Equivalent to zie/zir, xie/xem, or sie/hir (there have been lots of these proposed).

mbaxter666
mbaxter666
8 years ago

Kendra, you need to tell tornado stories, after all the disaster isn’t over for years, as people rebuild their lives and town.

Tornadoes are common enough you have a colour code for them? Wow! What was the reasoning behind ‘don’t come to work in a disaster’? Was it so they could call on people later, as the workers got tired? Or for their own safety, so they did’t try to travel in dangerous conditions? I suppose the phones and radios were out, so they couldn’t call to see where they were needed.

Those ‘everyone for themselves’ people must never have been through even a small disaster, never watched the news, and never listened to anyone who has been through a disaster!

(and I bet i get my name wrong again 🙂 )

Kendra, the bionic mommy
Kendra, the bionic mommy
8 years ago

@Magpie, they have a color code but they’re not common. Tornado warnings are common but actually having a tornado hit a specific spot is extremely rare. A door to door counselor told me the odds of an F5 hitting you, even in tornado alley, is only 1 in 10,000. That was nice for me to hear because I worry about it happening to me and my family again. I have no idea why the hospitals had a rule against coming in to work after disasters. It was a bad rule, so they learned from that and got rid of it.

There’s something that ties into the MRA’s that are upset about the Titanic. Deadly disasters are terrible, and sometimes human errors cause them or make the worse. In the case of the Titanic, there weren’t enough lifeboats for everyone. They traveled too quickly through water with icebergs. The wireless operators should have focused on communicating with other ships rather than sending personal messages for passengers. The look outs didn’t have binoculars to see the icebergs from further away. The bulkheads were not water tight so the original breach ended up flooding the entire boiler and engine rooms. All of these mistakes had to add up to cause such a catastrophic loss of life.

After the disaster is over, the most important thing is to figure out if specific people were negligent and to learn from the mistakes to prevent similar disasters in the future. In 1981, the walkways collapsed during a party at the Kansas City Hyatt Regency, killing over 100 people. The investigations showed that Jack D. Gillum and Associates signed off on an unsafe walkway design. They lost their engineering licenses. Now today’s engineers can learn from the mistakes of Gillum and know how important it is to verify that any changes made to a building’s blue prints meet up to safety codes. It seems like that’s stating the obvious, but human errors are oftentimes blatant like that.

There were some lessons we’ve learned from the Joplin tornado, too, about how to minimize casualties during extreme weather. The NOAA has improved its methods of storm warnings, and some cities have modified their policies on sounding storm sirens to prevent people from becoming desensitized to them after too many false alarms. The city officials also sought advice from planners from New Orleans on how to rebuild a city and what to expect in the aftermath. The New Orleans P.D. told our police to focus their energies on maintaining law and order and leave the search and rescue efforts to firefighters and the National Guard. New Orleans counselors told Joplin counselors to expect a rise in domestic violence, substance abuse, and other problems after the shock period wore off. All of this was helpful and will be helpful in the future. It would not be helpful for some angry MRA’s to march on Washington and blame all disasters on women in general. Seriously, that makes no sense and helps no one.

I agree that the MRA’s don’t sound like they have any real life experience with anything like this. The way they talk makes me think they’re basing their opinions on movies.

My TLDR: MRA’s don’t want to learn lessons from disasters. They just want to blame women for them.

ballgame
8 years ago

David, the very study you cite demonstrates that ‘women and children first’ was not “a myth,” but was in fact a common practice prior to the end of World War I.

See my rebuttal to your post.