The Thinking 

Isn’t This What Feminists Wanted?

January 16, 2012


PASSENGERS of the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that sunk off an Italian island on Friday, told The Daily Mail that in the chaos after the ship was wrecked, men rushed for the lifeboats and gave no priority to women and children.

As she waited for a flight home from Rome, grandmother Sandra Rogers, 62, told the Daily Mail: ‘There was no “women and children first” policy. There were big men, crew members, pushing their way past us to get into the lifeboats. It was disgusting.’

Modern women have no grounds for expecting deference. There is no reason why they should go first.


— Comments —

A reader writes:

Women, at large, are gathering the fruits of their misandric seeds. Men are wounded wild humans in a corner: it’s survival time for them and they know that the NPD-Sisterhood won’t be of any help.

So, why should I bother to save any of them? Chivalry is plainly derided, seen as a men’s weakness to be profited upon. We’re far away from the the nobility and sanctity of women, which they sabotaged themselves by downgrading to abortions-on-demand and devaluation of men-kind. Deference to them is out.

This boat hit the point of the hidden iceberg: the survival of men is self-chivalry. Because there’s now no good reason to risk a man’s life to protect a woman in a brawl or even defend a nation for the benefit of men-haters. Matriarchal society shall be defended by those who benefit exclusively from it: only sisters sacrificing in the frontlines. Thus allowing men to regain a new self-huMANity.

Laura writes:

Chivalry was never ultimately for the good of women, but for the perfection of men. So whether women deserve it anymore or not is beside the point.

I agree that this kind of behavior is an understandable outcome of feminism, but “self-chivalry” is pathetic and never justifiable.

Pan Dora writes:

I can’t say if this represents what feminists wanted or not, but if you are referring to men pushing their way past women to lifeboats on sinking ships we’ve had that long before modern feminism came along.

Seeing as you’ve previously written about sorry excuses for captains (a la Holly Graf) I would imagine the actions of Captain Francesco Schettino will outrage you even more.

Laura writes:

Feminists have always wanted women to be treated no differently than men. Obviously, they did not want to be shoved aside on sinking ships, but that’s the logical outcome of their arguments.

There must have been incidents of men pushing aside women on sinking ships in the distant past (do you know of any?), but there have been many examples of the opposite, most famously on the Titanic.

Why would I be interested in Schettino? First of all, he appears to have navigated the ship too close to the rocks. There is no evidence he regularly spat at, assaulted and cursed at his crew as did Holly Graf. Nevertheless even if he had, everyone knows that male commanders are imperfect. Literature is filled with Capt. Blighs and Capt. Ahabs. But we live in an age when women are placed in traditionally male positions of command and yet we do not have this history of recognizing their imperfectibility as commanders. In fact, we live in an age when the moral perfectibility of women is widely assumed. The case of Holly Graf shows this to be a lie.

Karen I. writes:

According to the article, pregnant women and children were also pushed aside by men exiting the boat before them. Pushing children aside was a despicable, cowardly thing to do and the children must have been terrified.

Pan Dora writes:

I have far more interest in Schettino than Graf. His actions have killed people. I don’t believe the same applies to Graf.

Check out the behavior of male passengers on the Lusitania if you wish to see behavior that doesn’t exactly lead to the perfection of men. The Lusitania sinking was a mere three years after the Titanic.

Laura writes:

I would think people in general would be more interested in the actions of Schettino right now given the seriousness of the consequences. And they should be. But his case is irrelevant to my point about the unsuitability of women as commanders of ships.

The behavior of the men on the Lusitania violated standards of the time. The behavior of the men on Costa Concordia is in keeping with feminist egalitarianism.

Jesse Powell writes:

Chivalry is for the benefit of women but is an expression of the man’s virtue. Chivalry makes no sense within the feminist frame of mind and the abolition of chivalry would indeed go along with the goal of “gender equality” but to that I would simply say that feminism is wrong and that gender equality is a nonsensical concept. Chivalry is a man’s duty within a patriarchal value system and since the patriarchal value system is always valid chivalry is always a virtue and a duty that men owe towards women under all circumstances.

The idea of “self-chivalry” is completely nonsensical as chivalry is directed outwards from the man towards the benefit of the woman; it is precisely the outward focus of chivalry that makes it honorable and heroic. “Self-Chivalry” is inward focused, it is simply a man benefiting himself; such a selfish orientation could never be deserving of the awe and honor and pride that is rightly associated with chivalry.

David writes:

The men acted exactly as they should have, and I would have done the same. A woman is not more valuable than a man. There is nothing heroic or admirable about saving your own hide, as Jesse Powell says, but then it is not wrong to fail to be a hero or to fail to be admirable. If it was pitiful, as Laura said, that these men put their own lives first, then the women were just as pitiful. What is despicable is the spoiled princess mentality of women — their taking offense that others didn’t die for them. This is a sickening degree of egoism, and only women are capable of it.

Laura writes:

“The men acted exactly as they should have, and I would have done the same.”

I find it hard to believe you think that, but will take you at your word. Men are stronger, bigger and more adept at rescuing themselves and others in an emergency. Women are often hampered in fleeing by their protection of young children. There are ample reasons why men should save women and children first. These reasons have nothing to do with men being less “vauable” than women. Is a child more “valuable” than a man? No, but any decent man would save a child before himself. In addition, many men feel an instinctive protectiveness toward women and children. But there are plenty of examples of animalistic behavior so it’s obviously not universal.

I don’t agree in this case about “the spoiled princess mentality.” The women passengers were traumatized and it was normal for them to talk about it.

Laura adds:

As I said earlier, by the logic of feminism, male deference is male oppression and should be done away with. In her 1792 book, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, which laid the foundations of feminist philosophy, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote,

I lament that women are systematically degraded by receiving the trivial attentions, which men think it manly to pay to the sex, when, in fact, they are insultingly supporting their own superiority. It is not condescension to bow to an inferior.

Diana writes:

“A woman is not more valuable than a man.”

Depends on the woman, and the man.

Biologically, a young woman of child-bearing age IS more valuable than a man, because her reproductive capacities are limited. One man can impregnate innumerable women.

I have always had a problem with the “women and children first” mentality. Is the life of a 60-year-old woman more valuable than that of a 25-year old man? I don’t think so. It’s unpleasant and unsettling to think this way, and I recognize that in the philosophy of chivalry, this shouldn’t matter. But to me it does, and in any case, chivalry is as dead as a doornail.

Laura writes:

Okay, is a person in a wheelchair more valuable than a person who can walk? No, but most decent people would defer to someone in a weelchair in an emergency because he is incapacitated. Men traditionally defer to women in an emergency because women are weaker and because they are often protecting and holding young children. It has nothing to do with whom is “more valuable” than the other.

Nothing could kill chivalrous instincts altogether, not even men’s rights.

Clark Coleman writes:

I would like to ask those commentators who defended the self-centered men a couple of questions. (1) What did children do to deserve the modern man’s indifference or scorn? (2) How will self-centered men push past women to the life boats while being careful not to push past any children? That sounds like a pretty fine line to draw. I look forward to answers, or to public retractions of previous comments, assuming the commentators still possess some integrity.

Laura writes:

The same question should be asked of men’s rights advocates who say men should not marry. What did children do to deserve their indifference or scorn?

Jesse Powell writes:

I see that there is a men’s rights basis for being opposed to chivalry and a feminist basis for being opposed to chivalry. The men’s rights supporter doesn’t like chivalry because of the “special obligation” it imposes on men on behalf of women; the feminist doesn’t like chivalry because it implies dependency on men and goes against the idea of “equality”. A supporter of patriarchy and traditional gender roles will be in favor of chivalry because chivalry allows the patriarchal social system to work. Women should indeed be dependent on men and men in turn have the duty and obligation to be dependable and people who can be relied upon. Men must take care of women precisely to prevent women from feeling the need to take care of themselves; a woman who feels the need to take care of herself is exactly what a feminist is.

Men sacrificing a seat on a lifeboat on a sinking ship is the most extreme example of the chivalrous principle that the protection and needs of women come first but the chivalrous principle itself is very broad and very important. A man who as a part of his regular day to day identity takes his role as provider and protector seriously will find it natural and obvious that he should protect women in the extreme circumstance of the sinking ship even at cost and sacrifice to himself because part of his fundamental identity as a man is that he is a protector of women. He protects women in mundane and routine ways everyday and so he will protect women to in the most extreme and terrible circumstance of the sinking ship. It is who he is, it is what men do; to do otherwise is unthinkable and shameful.

Chivalry, the man’s duty to provide for and protect women, is a fundamental value necessity for good relations between the sexes. The purpose of promoting chivalry on a sinking ship is not because there is a high social value to large numbers of men dying as long as that means small numbers of women die, the purpose is to promote chivalry overall as a constant value that applies in all circumstances, even in the extreme case of the sinking ship. The men who sacrificed themselves on the Titanic were not merely sacrificing themselves as individual men for the benefit of some individual woman, they were laying down their lives to uphold the societal principle of chivalry; that the protection of women comes first. This principle in turn sets out a moral example for all men to aspire to and it provides a signal of protection that all women can take comfort in and rely upon. Once chivalry is thus reinforced as a bedrock principle of society the social order is then secured.

There’s a reason why the heroic sacrifice of men on the Titanic became legendary and was celebrated far and wide for generations. It was the ultimate exemplar of chivalry; it was the strongest possible signal to womankind that they were safe and would be well cared for under the direction and authority of men.

David responds:

In response to Mr. Coleman’s challenge, I do not — nor do I think I said or implied — believe in any way that children deserve to be abandoned on a sinking ship. Obviously that is a terrible position to take. Certainly the men, and in my opinion the women alike, should have seen first of all to this important responsibility. If women and men share this responsibility, then it should only be as hard to put children first as it would be hard for a cooperating group of men to put women and children first.

In fact I tend to suspect that Mrs. Wood was right, that in an emergency situation I‘d drop the politics and work on helping others to safety. At least I like to think I‘m the kind of person who would do this. Along the way it might occur to me what a disgusting, hypocritical, double-talking, treacherous, manipulative group of worthless liars I was saving, children excluded.

I think my beef is first of all with the double-talk of our society. After hearing talk of equality from my childhood days it really, really rubs me the wrong way to hear any woman express shock or disgust at the behavior of the above men. How despicably solipsistic! What on earth could account for a woman’s surprise at this behavior? Have such women been living under a rock for the last sixty years? Where have they been? Women are really taking advantage of us men and it seems to me the only way to stop it is to force them to choose between one coherent set of rules or another — either the old world rules that consider men stronger than women and women worthy of male protection, or the new world rules that consider women to have equal standing with men and thus not needing any particular favors on our part. In order to force women to take one position or the other or some rational hybrid of the two (if such is possible), we men are going to have to say goodbye to chivalry and all the other old world privileges women have traditionally been accorded. We won’t want to do it, we won’t like to do it, but the alternative is our own continuing and worsening exploitation at the hands of women. If women want our protection, they first of all need to stop attacking us men, so that we no longer have to concern ourselves with protecting ourselves from them.

Laura writes:

First, the idea that men and women equally share in the responsibility of protecting children in disaster scenarios is ridiculous. Babies and children cling to their mothers. This is not always the case and children generally feel safe with their fathers too. But they are much more likely to want to be held by their mothers in a panic. For this reason, it is harder for women to save themselves and their children.

Second, do you honestly view all women as “disgusting, hypocritical, double-talking, treacherous, [and] manipulative?” Wow.

Third, we’re not talking about whether men should open doors or let women go first in an elevator. (Even with small things, it is beneath a man to reject manners but that’s beside the point here.) We’re talking about behavior in a disaster. David is saying that women should be endangered, their physical safety jeopardized, to prove an ideological point.

That’s revenge.

I find it fascinating the extent to which someone with your arguments ignores the tens of thousands of men who have argued, fought for, defended, championed, conciliated, appeased and put into law the forces of feminism. John Stuart Mill said of women in 1869, “[N]o class of dependents have had their character so entirely distorted from its natural proportions by the relation with their masters.”

You are intellectually blinded by resentment. You are no better than a feminist.

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