August 18, 2006


U.S. men, women still worlds apart (Jennifer Harper, 8/18/06, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

Vive la difference: Despite feminists, metrosexuals and gender-neutral language, we just can't surrender those old ways. Men, it seems, are still chivalrous, protective of their womenfolk and perhaps endearingly stubborn about certain things. And women? They like to shop, they're fastidious, and yes, they will ask for directions.

"American men and women tend to embrace many well-known sexual stereotypes, admitting to patterns of behavior commonly attributed to their gender," according to a poll released yesterday by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University.

"Recall that male passengers on the Titanic agreed to give up their places on the lifeboats for women and children," the researchers said in framing their question to more than 1,000 Americans. "If there were a similar life-or-death situation today, do you think men should be expected to die and allow women to live?"

Almost two thirds of the men -- a manly 63 percent -- said they should be expected to lay down their lives. Only 39 percent of the women agreed; 43 percent of the ladies, in fact, thought the idea was "old-fashioned," compared with 23 percent of the men.

Females had a practical edge: While almost half the men said that someone had told them that they were reluctant to ask for directions, the number was just 13 percent among women. And 65 percent of the guys had run out of gas while driving, compared with 47 percent of their feminine counterparts.

Watched Ghosts of the Abyss with our sons last night, in which Bill Paxton frets aloud about how, since he was about eight, he's often worried about whether he'd act with the same class as the men who helped their wives and children on to lifeboats and then faced their own deaths. It's one of those topics that comes up late at night around a tap and every guy will admit he's pondered the same.

Meanwhile, at one point they come up from a dive and as they're ascending a crew member notes that it is September 11, 2001. In some weird way, the wreck of the Titanic, already freighted with plenty of symbolism, becomes a stand-in for that other unreachable gravesite. When they lay a memorial plaque on the hull it's far more moving than you'd expect.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 18, 2006 9:23 AM

Ah, Norm from Cheers. Classic line.

Posted by: John Thacker at August 18, 2006 10:49 AM

Any single male that would condemn a woman to death, to save his own sorry hide, is not a "man".

After all, dying or risking death to protect females is kinda the point of human males' existence.

Posted by: Abner Hathaway at August 18, 2006 11:51 AM

Assuming you accept morality.

Posted by: oj at August 18, 2006 12:14 PM

John Jacob Astor and a couple of super rich in that era died after putting their women and children in the life boats. The managing director of the company that owned the Titanic left the ship with the first lifeboat load of women and children.

Posted by: ic at August 18, 2006 1:03 PM

All societies are based on rules to protect pregnant women and young children. All else is surplusage, excrescence, adornment, luxury, or folly which can - and must - be dumped in emergency to preserve this prime function. As racial survival is the only universal morality, no other basic is possible. Attempts to formulate a "perfect society" on any foundation other than "Women and children first!" is not only witless, it is automatically genocidal. -- "Time Enough For Love, The Lives of Lazarus Long", Robert A. Heinlein.

Posted by: jd watson at August 18, 2006 1:23 PM

Wonder what Heinlein would say if he woke up in today's world.

Posted by: erp at August 18, 2006 5:57 PM

He'd probably say "get me out of this coffin !!"

Posted by: Abner Hathaway at August 20, 2006 4:42 AM