Incensed by the latest hogwash about “toxic masculinity,” Gail Heriot writes on Instapundit:
I looked up the death toll on the Titanic. Sure enough, according to the figures I found, the survival rate for women was high–74%. For men, not so much. Only 16% survived. And it wasn’t just a class thing. Third-class (steerage) women were more likely to survive (49%) than first-class men (32%). N.B.: The reason for the difference was not that women are better than men at treading water.
Keep in mind that the steerage sections were blocked off from the other sections (where the lifeboats were), which may not have all been unlocked as the ship sank. Interestingly, the most deadly thing to be was a man in the second-class section. According to the data Heriot uses, only 8% of them survived. Breaking up class by the cost of the ticket is probably not a very exact measure, but one could roughly categorize this as the middle class.
Although exact statistics would be impossible to find, we could reasonably assume that the men who died had no wage advantage over the women who survived after the tragedy, even in aggregate. Of course, that’s an unfair quip, but blending past tragedy with modern times does make me wonder: What would these numbers look like now? Will modern men still give women preferential status in a life-or-death situation?
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In total, 488 of 1,300 passengers survived. Of the passengers who boarded the ship, 319 were in first class, and 272 were in second class. If we’ve erased the impetus for half of the population to step aside to benefit the other half, according to a category that cuts across class, would the lower or even middle income people even have a chance?
If we’re inclined to answer in the negative, then a common theme of progressive social change emerges. The greatest beneficiaries are those who are already most advantaged. On the Titanic, wealthier men would have survived, and wealthier women would have kept their husbands. On the campuses of elite colleges, advantaged minorities benefit while disadvantaged people lose even their limited opportunities.
Maybe discarding traditional norms wholesale isn’t such a good idea.