Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
By now, you probably have seen the new “scientific study” that concludes “female” hurricanes are deadlier than “male” hurricanes. Hopefully also by now, those gashes you got on your forehead from pounding it against your keyboard are beginning to heal just a bit, too.
Oh, and why are “female” hurricanes more d than the m? Because Patriarchy!
Meteorologists and geoscientists have called for greater consideration of social science factors that predict responses to natural hazards. We answer this call by highlighting the influence of an unexplored social factor, gender-based expectations, on the human toll of hurricanes that are assigned gendered names. Feminine-named hurricanes (vs. masculine-named hurricanes) cause significantly more deaths, apparently because they lead to lower perceived risk and consequently less preparedness. Using names such as Eloise or Charlie for referencing hurricanes has been thought by meteorologists to enhance the clarity and recall of storm information. We show that this practice also taps into well-developed and widely held gender stereotypes, with potentially deadly consequences. Implications are discussed for understanding and shaping human responses to natural hazard warnings.
I’m sure you’re thinking of your own responses when Jim “Mimbo” Cantore announces the approach of the next hurricane: How when he calls it by a male name your reaction is, “OHMYGOD, it’s ManStorm coming to do a Chuck Norris on us!! Ruuuuuuuun!!!!”; how when he calls it by a female name, your response is, “Whoa, there, little lady! Don’t be getting yourself worked up into a tizzy now and ruining my fishing trip! Heh, heh.”
Yeah, me too.
(As a matter of fact, I remember the original push to start interspersing masculine names into the annual list, the theory being that labeling all the storms female was sexist and stereotypy and suggested that teh wimmins are psychotic killer beyotches.)
Oh, and speaking of gender, do you realize that there is only ONE planet in our solar system named after a goddess instead of a god?
James Samenow over to the Capital Weather Gang has an article out this afternoon about the predictable scorn and ridicule (in which, I suppose, I am joining here) meeting this study. I don’t know anything about Samenow so I don’t know where his sympathies lie. On the one hand, he reports several objections to the methodology and conclusions. On the other, he does emphasis something I’ve seen from time to time in other contexts that I find monstrously insulting, namely the old “You’re a hater even if you don’t know it because it’s baked in” gambit:
But one of the study’s pivotal findings is that sexism lies beneath the surface – it’s ingrained in our thought processes. We just tend to associate women as less violent and dangerous than men.
“Such gender biases are pervasive and implicit,” said Madhu Viswanathan, professor of marketing at Illinois and co-author of the study. “We found that people were affected by the gender of hurricane names regardless of whether they explicitly endorsed the idea that women and men have different traits. This appears to be a widespread phenomenon.”
This isn’t even junk science, it’s politicks. Nothing but naked politicks.
And I think you lot know what I think about that.