Titanic Survivor Demographics As A Slice-Of-Life Peek Into Gynocentric Culture

We think about gender relations early 20th century British society, many of us think of Downton Abbey’s highborn Lady Sybil attending a women’s suffrage rally and being assaulted by vicious, brutish, selfish men. Later in the show, when those men were either dying in the trenches or being shamed by White Feather activists, the connection to suffragettes (or the fact that affluent suffragettes refused to back universal suffrage that would have enfranchised both poor men and women) was glossed over.

These First-Wave feminists painted Edwardian society as a male-oriented tyranny that had been stabbing women in the back, treating them like second-class citizens through systematic suppression. This second-class treatment is most obvious in the way men were expected to stand when women entered the room, to hold their chairs out for women like footmen, and hold doors open for women like servants.

Feminist historians of the period, like Pat Thane, even complain that women were disadvantaged because they lived longer than men, thus leaving them to live on with their children. Nothing more indicative of privilege than dying first.

TITANICSpeaking of who gets to live and die, let’s take a look at a classic Edwardian crisis: the sinking of the RMS Titanic. If women really were considered second-class citizens compared to privileged men, gender should be a clear predictor of survival. After all, one has to be alive to enjoy privilege.

Luckily, there is a quite thorough analysis of casualty figures from the Titanic disaster online. Of course, this is but a small sampling of Edwardian society, but a dramatic sampling that shows who really mattered when push came to shove… that is, pushed toward a lifeboat vs. shoved into the icy waters to die.

Unfortunately for feminism, the figures do not support an androcentric culture. Not only would you have a 460 percent greater chance of survival as a woman than as a man (74 percent compared to only 16 percent) but women were 50 percent more likely to survive than children, whose chances were 50/50.

This is what gynocentric privilege looks like, when men and children die so you can live on.

Most inconvenient for the grievance myth of the Patriarchy is the fact that the chance of survival for the most socio-economically privileged of men (First-Class male passengers, at 32 percent) was still lower than women in steerage (49 percent) and even worse than non-British Third-Class female passengers (35 percent survival rate). In other words, being the focus of misandry was a greater predictor of death on the Titanic than being the focus of socio-economic or ethnic bias.

Sam (with help from Jody)

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