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Men’s Rightser: Men win the “we care a lot” olympics because of the Titanic, 9/11

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This graphic is the top (unstickied) post on the Men’s Rights subreddit at the moment. Like that Warren Farrell quote I wrote about last week, it’s yet another example of a familiar claim made by misogynistic Men’s Righsers — that men are world’s true heroes, sacrificing themselves for the good of women too lazy or cowardly or whatever to stand up for themselves.

At first glance, the graphic seems to have a certain logic to it: Far more men than women did die on the titanic; that’s a fact. All of the firefighters who died on 9/11 were men; that is also, as far as I can tell, a fact.

Does this justify the graphic maker’s conclusion that “men simply are caring people.” Well, no. You can’t actually draw conclusions about all 3.5 billion men and boys on planet earth from two examples.

But there’s a lot more wrong with the graphic-maker’s argument than that, as a closer look at these two examples can show.

Let’s start with the 9/11 firefighters, because it’s a bit more straightforward. First, I want to point out a little bit of hanky panky the graphic maker is playing with the numbers. Yes, it is true that all of the firefighters who died in and around the towers that day were male. But they weren’t the only first responders to die; if you also include police officers, you will find at least one woman’s name in the list.

That said, yes, virtually all of the first responders who died were men, including every single firefighter who died. And they died heroes, there’s no question about that.

But this isn’t because there were hundreds of female firefighters standing back eating bon bons and letting the men do the dirty and dangerous work for them. Firefighting is a heavily male-dominated profession, and like a lot of male-dominated professions it has not exactly been welcoming to women, who have faced discrimination and harassment (sexual and otherwise) when they’ve tried to enter the “boys club.”

But there’s an even bigger elephant in the room: while virtually all of the first-responders who died on 9/11 were men, all of the terrorists who hijacked the planes that day were also men.

So if you’re going to use this incident to claim that “men simply are caring people,” wouldn’t you also have to conclude that “men simply are terrorists?”

Or perhaps you might want to reconsider using an incident like this to draw conclusions about an entire gender.

When MRAs — taking their cue from Warren Farrell — complain about men being forced or pressured into the “protecter role,” most of the time they are protecting women from the actions of other men.

Yep, men are more likely to run into burning buildings to save women than women are to save men. But men are far more likely to murder their intimate partners  (or their exes) than women are.

Even the Titanic, perhaps the MRAs  favorite example of “male disposability,” is in fact yet another case in which some men sacrificed themselves to save women from the actions of other men.

First of all, let me point out another little bit of trickery that the graphic-maker is playing with the numbers here. While it is true that a much higher percentage of women on board the Titanic survived than men, looking at the raw numbers is misleading, because there were also several times as many men as women on the ship in the first place. And that class made an enormous difference in terms of survival as well, though their were certainly many upper-class men who went down with the ship. (Like, for example, my great-grandfather Jacques Futrelle, the mystery writer.)

And it’s also worth pointing out that the “women and children first” policy that seems to have been followed, to a degree, on the Titanic wasn’t actually typical, as I’ve pointed out before; indeed, one study of  15,000 victims of major maritime disasters found that more women and children died than men.

But the plain fact is that chivalry didn’t kill the men on the Titanic. This was a preventable disaster, one that was, quite literally, man-made.

The White Star Line chose to equip their ship with an inadequate number of lifeboats. The captain of the ship chose to plow ahead in conditions of virtually no visibility through a section of the North Atlantic that he knew from reports that day was filled with icebergs.

And of course the captain, and the decision makers at the White Star line were all men.

So if you want men as a group to get credit for kindness because some men willingly gave up their seats on the lifeboats for women, it would seem only fair to have to give all men blame for the recklessness and hubris of the ship captain and those White Star line executives who decided that the ship didn’t really need lifeboats enough for everyone on board.

Human beings, whatever their gender, are fascinating and varied creatures, who respond differently to challenges in different settings. There are countless examples of men — and women — rising to the challenges that history has put before them and finding reserves of heroism that they didn’t even know they had. And there are countless examples of men — and women — acting in craven and awful and evil ways.

No gender has a monopoly on kindness or cruelty.

Also, fuck the captain of the Titanic. What an asshole.

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Viscaria
Viscaria
8 years ago

It’s just frustrating. They occasionally happen upon something that’s actually undesirable (both the deaths of male first responders and men during the Titanic disaster) and is part of a trend (which the Titanic was not) but in order to make any sort of meaningful change they would need to understand why these things happen. This would require speaking to the people who are affected and getting their perspectives, as well as analyzing the situation from all angles.

But fixing things isn’t what the MRM is about; they are just interested in justifying misogyny. If they see something they don’t like, rather than try to learn why it is the way it is in order to make it better they simply declare “it’s because women are bad and deserve to be hated!” and consider their work done.

fromafar2013
8 years ago

“I’d like to see and end of catering to self serving gender ideologues.”

… -_-;

Here, Sam. Let me help. Here’s a bunch of links for workplace safety and labor laws in the US, as well as examples of discrimination (in spite of prohibitive laws) which keep women out of many traditionally male dominated jobs (interestingly, it also serves to keep men out of many female dominated jobs… misandry anyone?)

https://www.osha.gov/workers.html

http://ipma-hr.org/public-sector-hr-community/public-policy/fact-sheets/fair-labor-standards-act-reform

http://www.equalrights.org/legal-help/know-your-rights/sex-discrimination-at-work/

http://www.nwlc.org/resource/sex-discrimination-american-workplace-still-fact-life

Now, what kinds of changes would you like to see?

Mike from Pioneer Valley, MA
Mike from Pioneer Valley, MA
8 years ago

Isn’t the deeper story of the firefighter fatalities on 9/11 a longstanding issue of turf wars between the NYPD and the NYFD? The story goes that there was an immediate clash at the site on 9/11 between the firefighters and the cops over who had jurisdiction. The police had helicopters, which allowed them to see from virtually eye level that the towers were in danger of imminent collapse. The firefighters, on the ground, reportedly refused to heed intelligence from the NYPD (or even monitor their radio frequencies, some say), and protecting their franchise as much as trying to help, stayed in the building longer than they should have. Result: a resonant number of dead that obscures issues that signify hard-headedness, not heroism.

Ally S
8 years ago

Oh god, not Wendy McElroy. An anarcho-capitalist “equity feminist” who is almost as pretentious as Camille Paglia and just as intellectually dishonest as Christina Hoff Sommers.

Anyway, her argument is based on a straw man because the feminist concern about equal representation stems from the notion that misogyny (internalized and externalized) discourages and/or prohibits women from being equally represented in certain positions. “Women just have their own preferences” is a useless argument that fails to take into account any systemic disadvantages that women face.

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

Huh, Sam went to the Good school of dropping links that don’t quite support whatever he’s on about.

Viscaria
Viscaria
8 years ago

Don’t you feel Sam’s concern for men who die in catastrophes just leaping off the screen?

Yup, I am also bored with this one. Enjoy posting links no one will click into the void.

cloudiah
8 years ago

Clearly Sam has no answer for my links. I think this means I win.

Ally S
8 years ago

From Sam G. Good’s article:

But it was ‘Phillip’ who lost out not only in applications for secretarial jobs – traditionally stereotyped as ‘female’ – but also for jobs in accountancy and computer programming.

This is evidence of patriarchy, actually, but I know you don’t give a shit about understanding power relations so there is really no reason to argue with you.

jp371
jp371
8 years ago

“Ally S, and yet because men obviously aren’t allowed to cry that’s why there are tons of male politicians and other figures crying and being emotional in public and they are praised for it. ”

Name one. The only male politician I remember crying is Boehner and he got mocked for it. A lot.

lion09
lion09
8 years ago

” Because of male privilege, a man is actually capable of justifying his crying by coding it as masculine. They can avoid calling it “crying”, “weeping”, etc. and instead use a pro-masculine euphemism such as “manly tears.” ”

That really only works in a handful of circumstances, mainly when it’s a few tears shed, and the guy doesn’t break eye contact with anyone. Tvtropes has info on the many circumstances this doesn’t work.

“Very true. You’ve only got to go back a few centuries in European history (aka the only type I know much about) to find crying and other expressions of emotion entirely acceptable in men.”

That doesn’t mean it’s just as acceptable today.

lion09
lion09
8 years ago

Ok maybe they can break eye contact but it can’t be used to justify crying from pain, or fear, or uncontrollable sobbing.

Wish this site had an edit button.

Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Here, have a video of Bush getting choked up (skip to just before the 2 min mark) —

http://youtu.be/k_gM30YoGC0

Tina S
Tina S
8 years ago

Thanks for doing this. I am tired of seeing the Titanic trotted out constantly. It’s like these guys know nothing about the Titanic at all.

Thatonegirl
Thatonegirl
6 years ago

Wait…what’s the correlation between the Titanic and 9/11? Men died yeah but…?

Seems kind of random. Also what does it say about these guys that they watch the Titanic so much? I thought they were supposed to be against feminine things?

Paradoxical Intention
6 years ago

Thatonegirl | July 12, 2015 at 8:08 pm
Wait…what’s the correlation between the Titanic and 9/11? Men died yeah but…?

Seems kind of random. Also what does it say about these guys that they watch the Titanic so much? I thought they were supposed to be against feminine things?

SPEAKING OF RANDOM~

Why the fucking fuck are you necroing all these old threads? This is over a year old. We’ve moved on.

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