Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Mens Titanic Society

The Men's Titanic Society actually exists. It is a testament to the sacrifice of men in what was the greatest modern maritime tragedy of all time. Over 1500 passengers lost their lives when the Titanic1 sank early in morning of April 15, 1912.

(Image courtesy www.titanic.com)

I first read about this eccentric society at AngryHarry, as he had found a reference to a tribute of the memory of the men of the Titanic. It was engraved from "the Women of America". The memorial was located in Washington DC, at a seldom-visited site on the Washington Channel near old Fort McNair and was erected in 1931. The Society was founded in 1985 and an account of it was in The Washington Post.

He was right in striving to correct the impression NOT given by the popular 1997 movie "Titanic" (starring Kate WINSLET and Leonard DiCAPRIO) - that women and children were given priority for the few life boats and many of them managed to survive the catastrophe. Men from all classes died disproportionately.

  • The overall death toll was 9 men for every 1 woman.
  • By percentage, third class women did far better than first class men.
  • 1300 men - passengers and crew - perished.

The main point - is that men throughout history have sacrificed themselves for their women and children - in war and peace - it's what we do. It is to some degree hard-wired into our DNA. I find it interesting that "modern feminism" today chooses to demean those whose "selfless service" is deemed unusual. Evidence for this unavailable, but the disparaging innuendo remains.

I have found accounts from Edwardian era "suffragettes" (early forerunners of Feminism in the UK who lobbied very hard to achieve the right to vote. Emma PANKHURST was a well known Trans-Atlantic member) who held similar poor views of men as far back as 1889 when she helped form the Women's Franchise League with prominent American suffragette Elizabeth Cady STANTON. To a large extent this misandric bias was also supported by many men - as it is today - and with this generous support brought the suffragists their enfranchisement (and soon after, Prohibition).

1) The White Star Line's Titanic was the largest luxury ocean liner in the world at the time. It foundered after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic 400 miles east of Halifax at 23:40 on April 14, 1912. It only took 2h40m to sink and in a grievous act of hubris, the ship did not have enough lifeboats to accommodate all passengers and crew. There were only 16 lifeboats capable of holding 1,178 whereas the fully loaded complement of crew and passengers was 3,547 in total. Of the 2,222 passengers and crew on board, 705 were saved (57 children, 316 women and 332 men). More than 1,500 passengers and crew - mostly men due to the "women and children first" protocol - went down with the ship after a relatively orderly evacuation.

The Titanic took 10 years to plan and build. It was four city blocks long and 11 stories high on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. At 0410h the RMS Carpathia
arrived on the scene and began to rescue survivors. By 0830h she had picked up the last lifeboat and then set sail for New York.

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