Much worshipped journalist Barbara KAY of the National Post provided another of her scintillating, clear-eyed analyses of the situation in this article "How Patriarchy ran into it's own iceberg".
The Titanic sank in 1912 after hitting an iceberg. Of the 2,200 people on board, 1,517 died (69%). The Lusitania sank in 1915, victim to a German U-boat torpedo. Of the nearly 2,000 people on board, 1,200 died (55%). In addition to carrying about the same numbers of passengers, the demographic composition of the two ships - adults, children, men, women, old, young - was also similar.
Two stark differences distinguish the tragedies. On the Titanic, most of the survivors were women and children: 75% of women and almost all the children were saved as against 20% of the men. While on the Lusitania, of the 639 who escaped it was likely only the fittest amongst both men and women aged 16-35 survived.Somebody chose to critically examine why this happened.
According to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the altruism of the Titanic and the length of time it took for the ship to sink are causally linked. Benno Torgler, study author and economics professor at Queensland University of Technology in Australia explains that circumstances dictate levels of altruism. According to the study, since the Titanic passengers had a few hours to consider their options, "there was time for socially determined behavioural patterns to re-emerge."As Ms. KAY suggests, the men who so willingly laid down their lives for women and children in the Titanic "had been brought up in the very heart of the same robust patriarchy that feminists today use as a shibboleth to frighten young girls with." Under current Feminist double-speak "They should all have been candidates for anger management, not a chivalry so breathtakingly selfless that they almost to a man went to watery graves in stoic humility so that total strangers might live - simply because of their sex."
For these men were the product of a particular culture, one that perceived chivalry and honour and duty as the highest values. And the highest expression of those highest values was the privileging of women and children's lives over their own. And they acted on that perception.And then WWI erupted. Countless thousands of men - really, only the best or at least the others who had not given their own lives on the Titanic - marched into the machine guns out of a sense of honour, chivalry and sacrifice (no matter how utterly senseless or misplaced). Again Ms. KAY:
The study reminds us that the heroism of the Titanic was a willed phenomenon, and one that feminists do not wish to discuss (I have tried).
Instead of fetishizing the victimhood of women at men's hands and the deviance from our cultural norm that Marc Lepine represented with man-bashing dirges across the land every December 6, would it not make more sense - and would it not be more ethically fitting and socially unifying - to celebrate the more representative manliness of men every April 15, the date of the Titanic's sinking?PDF1 Link
Footnote: Ed Kamuda, president of the Titanic Historical Society in Indian Orchard, MA also mentioned the 1873 RMS Atlantic disaster off Nova Scotia and 1914 Empress of Ireland collision in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.