General Question

Myndecho's avatar

What are your views on the procedure of “women and children first” in an event of abandoning a ship?

Asked by Myndecho (945 points ) March 28th, 2009

The children I agree with but I’m sticking with no for women, if you want to be tread the same that I agree with, you can’t have this special treatment.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

79 Answers

Dansedescygnes's avatar

I agree with that. The children part, I can see. They are physically weaker and may need more help getting off the boat. Also, since they haven’t grown up yet, people may deem it more important that they survive (I agree with Vincentt). The women part, I can’t see myself agreeing with. And no feminist should agree with that either. To me, it seems sexist.

Vincentt's avatar

Well, on the other hand, women are physically less strong so are more likely to get run over. In that light it is perhaps better to let them go first.

On the other hand, another reason for letting children go first is that it’s more important that they survive. That doesn’t really count for women, IMNSHO.

Zen's avatar

Agree.

willbrawn's avatar

I agree with it, if a boat i was on with my wife and child was sinking. I would without a question put my child and wife on the boat and stay behind. I love them to much.

Dog's avatar

I would gladly die in a disaster if it let my husband and kids live.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

That saying has always bothered me. I do not want to be treated like, well… A weak, incapable child, because I am not one. Children always go first, but as for men and women, men have equal rights to live, in my opinion. Unless, of course, there’s a baby and the mother is still breastfeeding or something, because the survival of the baby would depend on her.

Myndecho's avatar

@Vincentt
My views on why children should are not the same as sexy Dom’s.
If this really was about physical attributes why not let weak men go and disallow strong women? Because it not really about that.
The reason I would allow the children to go is because children are vulnerable in almost every way I can think of, the older passenger have had years of living when their lives have just began.

casheroo's avatar

So, you’d let a little kid get off the boat by himself? Are we gonna have a rescue boat full of children and no adults? You’ve got to send at least one parent with the kid…are you saying the kids can go, the parents cannot..but you get saved?
I think “women and children” together, refers to mother and child, but usually women do get saved first.
I believe when the plane crashed into the Hudson recently..even though people were getting out, it seems most wanted to save the youngest passenger a 9 month old
If you’re in a situation where you see a helpless child, and you’re an adult..wouldn’t you save the child? I would hope people would do the same for me and my son.

EmpressPixie's avatar

I think it is important to keep in mind the historical context. In Victorian times, when this saying originated, a woman in all her skirts and corset would not be able to swim or really help bail out the boat. She would have no way to save her life and her dignity. Plus, someone had to go in the boats with the kids to keep them calm. Whereas, the men were stronger and more able to try and bail out the boat or swim.

Now? Now I think we should save the children and keep one parent with them at least, but not necessarily the mother. You know?

Myndecho's avatar

@casheroo
No just not women whole first, the priorities should be the children then men and women equally.
If the saying was “Mothers and children” I would agree with it more as it’s the fact your a mother but it’s women and children.
Wiki(saying) As it says in Wiki women of all ages not just mothers.

Poser's avatar

Fuck feminism. I’ll always let women go first, be it lifeboats or doors.

Myndecho's avatar

@EmpressPixie
Isn’t that her own fault?

casheroo's avatar

@Myndecho I’m not assuming you would know exactly how you would react in a situation where “woman and children first” comes up, but do you really feel, if you were in a plane crash, and a woman was sitting next to you with a 9 month old, you’d jump ahead of her, and not even bother to help her? If people tried to get the baby ahead, would you ignore their efforts and push your way forward? How do you think you’d be received by the public if that got out?

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Poser

Then you go ahead. But I would not support you if you felt people who didn’t do that were somehow “wrong”.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@casheroo

Casheroo, this question states that he would put children first automatically. If that child is with a woman, I think it entails that the woman and child would be saved together.

casheroo's avatar

@Dansedescygnes If you read the link I posted earlier, a mother did get helped forward, but then dropped her child into a life boat. There were multiple men on the plane yelling at people to save the baby. So, they let the mother go forward, so the baby would be saved. She did not get on the boat at that time with her child (from what i gather from articles)

casheroo's avatar

geez, now i know who i’d want to be on a plane or boat crash with. i’ll know my child would have a chance!

Myndecho's avatar

@casheroo
It’s hard to say how I would react, but I would hope I will help her, but not because she’s a woman but because she is a mother.

casheroo's avatar

@Myndecho What if the mother doesn’t have her child with her? Are women without children less worthy of being saved? They can fend for themselves?
This all boils down to who people feel has the right to live. Most would choose a child, because a child is innocent, they haven’t gotten to live their life, they cannoy save themselves. People also help the sick, because they cannot help themselves. And the elderly (although some would say that they have lived a long life, why help them?)
You contradicted your earlier views on this, by saying you’d save a woman because she’s a mother.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@casheroo

I don’t think gender should even be a factor. A child, a mother with child, a father with child, an elderly person, a disabled person, etc. those are the ones that I think should be saved first if saving someone first is even an issue. I don’t think that a woman should be saved first just because she is a woman and I don’t think a man should be saved first just because he is a man.

Poser's avatar

@Dansedescygnes I don’t need support from anyone to uphold my own values, but I do think that men who would save themselves before any woman are wrong. Chivalry may be dead—and if so it is certainly feminism that nailed its coffin shut—but it was men who failed to rescue it. And that in itself is wrong. It isn’t the job of women in society to keep chivalry alive, it’s the job of men. Not out of a belief that women are inferior, but out of deep respect and honor.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Poser

I don’t think women deserve any special treatment. I just don’t and I never will. Treating women like they are weaker and need protection is not fair. I disagree with you. I think everyone should help save other people before they save themselves regardless of gender. Chivalry should be about respect for other people in general, not respect for people based on gender.

Myndecho's avatar

@casheroo
I really don’t know. I would love just to say an answer but I feel uneasy about making it.
It awfully difficult to make decisions on who has more rights to live and die.
As this isn’t down the physical strength as I stated earlier to let women go on the fact they’re women look an awful lot like sexism, and when it comes to saving mothers and other issues such as fathers who look after their children mostly this because a very difficult subject.

Poser's avatar

@Dansedescygnes I never said anything about treating people like they are weaker and need protection (in fact, my last sentence explicitly stated the opposite). Certainly anyone who is more able-bodied should work to save those who are less-so before themselves regardless of gender. But there are inherent differences between the sexes, and, as men, I believe we ought to respect the special role women play in society. Pretending those differences don’t exist serves no one’s best interest.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Poser

What do those differences have to do with holding the door open for someone? If my boyfriend wanted to hold the door open for me before he would for a female friend then I would whole-heartedly support him. It isn’t about gender. It’s about individual decision and choice. I view people as individuals, not as genders. I look at person’s non-gender related qualities before I look at their gender.

chyna's avatar

@casheroo In this situation, I’m screwed. i have no children. I agree with you.

3or4monsters's avatar

What about children, the disabled, and the elderly first, and all other capable adults after? They usually are a small group combined when compared to all others who are grown men and women.

To the question, though—women and children? I’m gonna get flamed to death for saying this, but—- I’ve spent the last few years learning a hard truth. I consider myself a feminist. My major hobbies, besides going toe to toe with men a foot taller and 100 lbs heavier than me in ice hockey, is lifting weights, heavy and hard. I struggle and strive and I know I’m stronger than a lot of women out there, and I push to be stronger every day and fuck how “bulky” or “manly” I become….

…..and a fat, out of shape dude who never hits the gym can still overpower me, lift more than me, move more heavy shit than me, be more physically capable than me. I get this proven to me regularly, and it chafes my ass and makes me angry and ashamed and horrified. I know that I’m stronger than many women and some men, but the average dude who doesn’t even try is still going to be stronger than me. I hate it. I HATE IT ALOT.

But in an emergency situation, that shit has to be put aside, and it is up to the strong and the capable to help everyone else to survive. EVERYONE should be trying hard, but the ones with the most strength are likely going to be healthy men and a few women, and everybody weaker and less capable than them is going to need help from the stronger ones to fight for survival.

Poser's avatar

@Dansedescygnes How can you see someone’s non gender-related qualities before you see their gender?

The differences between men and women don’t have anything to do with holding the door open. Holding the door is simply an example of the expression of respect for those differences. When men no longer have that respect, I fear that society has lost an extremely valuable quality.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Poser

What are those differences? Why does a man have to hold the door open for a woman before he would for a man? What kind of differences would influence that? You just keep saying there are differences, but you’re not even explaining what they are.

I personally think that society losing that would be losing pointless sexism and that’s a good thing. I don’t think it’s valuable. It holds us back. It should be about courtesy towards anyone, not courtesy towards a certain gender. Losing courtesy is a bad thing, that would be the loss of something valuable. Losing preferential treatment towards one gender is not a bad thing. We need to stop looking at gender and start looking at individuals. If a woman wants to let a man go first, if a man wants to let a man, if a man wants to let a woman, they’re all okay in my opinion. It’s the limiting it to one that is required that I think is wrong.

Look, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. This isn’t going to go anywhere. You ascribe to an older social rule that I disagree with. It’s a matter of principle; it’s a matter of my personal values. They are not going to change and neither are yours. You just better not think I would hold a door open for my female friend before I would for my extremely cute male friend. I stand up for what I believe in and I stand against what I oppose. This is something I oppose and I will not give into it.

Myndecho's avatar

@3or4monsters
:P I would hope the elderly would know they’ve live their lives and would save people still living theirs. I did say in the first draft I was unsure about the elderly being one of the first…um
You could probably out do me in a arm wrestle :D still have muscle though I embrace my awkwardness in using my muscles. kiss

3or4monsters's avatar

@Myndecho I had wondered about that too, if the elderly would insist on the children and others first, or not. Perhaps many would.

I’m opening up a new and uncomfortable can of worms here, but modern western culture doesn’t put much value in our elderly. They’re often mocked, made fun of, treated badly, not taken seriously (dementia, you know) shut away in homes, and barely tolerated, forgotten. They are not high on the priority list because they’ll kick it any day now, right? Hopefully? So they can stop reminding us of our mortality and sucking up our social security? I am guilty of this thinking at times, and it sits badly with me, and I want to change my perspectives. I want to shift my thinking to believe they are valuable and loved elders who deserve preferential treatment.

I am NOT in ANY way implying that you have these negative views on our elderly! Your reply just reminded me that these things were already on my mind.

And I would love to wrassle you sometime! Physical challenges are fun and competitiveness usually causes me to feel a closer and deeper camaraderie with my opponent, whether I win or lose.

Poser's avatar

@Dansedescygnes Chivalry towards women doesn’t preclude courtesy toward men. But if a man is walking toward the same door as I am, I would either let him go first or walk in before him. If it was a woman, I would move to hold the door for her. Not because she’s weaker, inferior or unable to do it herself, but because she’s a woman. I’m a man. That’s just what you do. If she gets on a bus and there are no more seats, I’d give her mine (in fact, I did this recently, and noticed several of the men around me shift uncomfortably). If my being more courteous toward a woman than I am toward a man makes me a sexist in your eyes, hey, I can live with that. Personally, I think it simply indicates that I’m a man.

But, like you said, agree to disagree. I’m not going to change your mind, and you aren’t going to change mine. You don’t think women deserve special treatment, and I believe that, deserving or not, men ought to give them special treatment.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Poser

“I’m a man. That’s just what you do.”

It’s this blind adherence to social “norms” that I don’t like. But like you said, no one’s changing anything. I will never give anyone special treatment based on gender. That’s just something I stand for.

Giving someone special treatment based on gender IS the definition of sexism, so it does make you a sexist. No one said a sexist is something that should be equated with Hitler; it’s just a term.

Sexism: attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes of sexual roles.

You adhere to that. Like I said, “sexism” is not a “bad word”. It’s just something I happen to not agree with.

Facade's avatar

men should protect women (and children). call it sexism if you want

3or4monsters's avatar

@Poser I never really got why chivalry was counterproductive to feminism. I do the same to people around me. Parents with small children, the elderly of any gender, someone burdened with a heavy item—hell, they all get my seat. I hold the door open for everybody.

It isn’t so much chivalry is social courtesy, in my mind. If a man offers me his seat, I always offer an out (“no really, it’s ok! my back hurts less standing than sitting” which is true) and accept if they insist a 2nd time. It’s no skin off my nose, and if it makes the guy feel that he’s done the right thing, that is fine with me.

It’s a slight cultural difference that exists within our borders. If a man is raised to treat all women with some reverence, I’m not going to be a jerk to him over it. It’s not oppresive to me and shows that the person feels courtesy, however it is expressed, is important.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Facade

It IS sexism, Facade. That’s just what it is. How do you know that a man isn’t in more need of protection than a woman? What makes a woman automatically more in need of protection?

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@3or4monsters

Like I said, I don’t care if people do that. It’s this whole thing that because I’m male, I HAVE to do it. No, I don’t. And I won’t.

Poser's avatar

@Dansedescygnes

Sexism:
Noun
S: (n) discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of the opposite sex

It is a term, but it’s a term with Hitler-esque connotation, and it’s normally used with such intent.

My adherence, however, isn’t blind. It’s something that I’ve considered carefully, and have decided is an ideal with which I agree.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Poser

Sexism: attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes of sexual roles.

It has more than one definition.

3or4monsters's avatar

@Dansedescygnes Ok, that’s where my opinion splits off into two different directions. :) it’s one thing for a person to adopt old-timey chivalry for their own actions and beliefs, totally acceptable; it’s UNFAIR to push their ideals on behavior on other people who don’t feel the same.

I think you would let me open my own door because you know I’m capable. ;) You don’t bullshit with me.

Poser's avatar

@3or4monsters

I never understood that either. I don’t see how that reverence is oppressive.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@3or4monsters

The reason why it may have looked like I was pushing my ideals is because I don’t want someone to neglect to rescue me in a sinking boat just because I’m male. I’m not very strong; I’m small. Why should I be overlooked just because “women go first”?

Poser's avatar

@3or4monsters @Dansedescygnes

Isn’t it just as unfair to push the opposite ideal on someone? I’m being called a sexist because of my beliefs.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Poser

I’m calling you a sexist because of the definition of the word. You’re getting absorbed into the connotations of the word. For example, I’m intolerant.

You’re probably going to think I’m Hitler. But no. I’m intolerant of rape. I’m intolerant of genocide. I’m intolerant of hypocrisy. Words have different meanings. Break away from the connotations.

3or4monsters's avatar

@Poser @Dansedescygnes Aw damn guys, agree to disagree?

I’ll rescue you, dude. :)

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@3or4monsters

I’m not going to insist on using the word “sexism”, but I want people to know it isn’t just about paying women less. It can also be about preferential treatment based on tradition.

And thanks. I appreciate it. :)

Poser's avatar

Alright then, truce. I’m tired. It’s 5 a.m.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Poser

5 A.M. Man, where the hell do you live? lol

It’s only 1:10 P.M. here in California.

Poser's avatar

Currently in Japan.

Facade's avatar

because she’s a woman :)

3or4monsters's avatar

@Poser @Dansedescygnes This is a great discussion, I’m glad this question was asked. I need to remember to “lurve” stuff, for some reason that has been the hardest thing for me to transition into, so bad!

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Facade

And that is the definition of sexism. Like I said, “sexism” doesn’t have to be treating women or men like second-class citizens. But like I told 3or4, I’m small and not very strong. Why should I be overlooked because I’m not a woman?

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@3or4monsters

It was a good question. Props to Sean for asking it. P.S. I gave some lurve to some of your comments.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Poser

I’m a Japanophile, just so you know. I can read some of it, I love Japanese music, food, culture, etc. Japan is awesome.

Poser's avatar

@Dansedescygnes I’m only here for a couple of months. So far I haven’t been able to see much. Hopefully I will.

3or4monsters's avatar

@Poser cool! My cousin is on his first deployment in Japan right now, I won’t see him for almost a year or possibly more. All the cousins, we are envious that he gets to live and experience the culture first hand.

Myndecho's avatar

This sparked off a bigger discussion than I was expecting. Don’t forget to give lurve if you liked the question.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@Myndecho: Re: you comment to me waaaaaay up there. Are you honestly saying that in the Victorian era it was the fault of the ladies that their choices in the case of a sinking ship included drowning from the weight of their gowns or being ruined for floating by wearing a shift? That seems a tad unreasonable to me.

Jayne's avatar

On a practical note, even if babies are more deserving of life, and mothers are needed lifeboats to care for their children, or whatever the case may be, none of them should be given preferential treatment. If a boat or plane is sinking or a building is burning, time is of the essence, and the exit points will be jammed with people. Any attempt to move somebody who is in the back to the front of the group- that is, to give them preference- will slow down the process and screw everybody over.

A major problem in these situations is lack of cooperation. If people simply waited their turn or sought out alternative exits, many more people would survive than do in reality, where people fight to get out of the nearest exit or, paradoxically, the one with the most people. So, having people who think that they deserve to be let off first will introduce disorder into the system which will reduce cooperation still further and impair their own or other’s tendency to seek another way out. So the principle is counterproductive, if only on pragmatic grounds. Of course, if it was universally accepted, then it would provide an organizing set of rules that would help speed up the process, but partial recognition will have the opposite effect. So, ladies and gents, don’t try and institute this rule next time you are on a sinking ship.

I realize that this is not really what the conversation is about anymore. Just putting it out there.

Poser's avatar

@3or4monsters I’m also on my first deployment to this part of the world. I gotta say, I like it better than the “sandbox.” What part of Japan is your cousin in?

3or4monsters's avatar

@Poser I feel like an idiot for not knowing the specifics. I just sent him a msg on facebook asking! I know he told us, but me = memory like a sieve.

Poser's avatar

@3or4monsters I sympathize with the memory issue. I’m right there with you. Which service is he in?

ubersiren's avatar

You should let anyone weaker than you get on first.

3or4monsters's avatar

@Poser I’m ashamed to say I don’t know for certain. I want to say Navy.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Children definitely get out ASAP. A few adults of either sex to help the children. I’d probably urge people of either sex that I perceived as younger than myself get out ahead of me in an emergency situation. I’ve “had my chance” compared to them, you know? I get the feeling, though, that because I’m small and young-looking, others would try to get me out next after the children.

rooeytoo's avatar

If you send a boatload of kids out by themselves they will probably not survive, I think the lifeboats should be filled by people who have the best chance of keeping the boat afloat. That would mean a mix of women men and children. No good getting the kids off first only to have them not make it because they weren’t old enough to know what to do.

I personally have always striven for equality not feminism or special treatment such as first on the boat or paid maternity leave, etc. so I agree, women before men is not equality. And again not giving the best chance of survival because men are usually physically stronger and on a lifeboat, I would think you would need some physical strength.

Course I would like to see equality in all aspects of life, not just who gets on the lifeboat first.

Myndecho's avatar

@rooeytoo
And no one said that was.

Lupin's avatar

I always thought the women and children went first – to feed the sharks!

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I’m one of those old chivalrous blokes so.. yes.. that order is correct.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i don’t think women should get priority, unless a guy just would rather save a woman than himself. i don’t think it should be an unwritten rule though. i agree, if women want to be treated the same as men, that certainly shouldn’t be an exception. i’m not frowning upon the dudes who are willing to sacrifice their lives for a lady, but i think in general, it’s every man – or woman – for themselves.

it’s hard to argue that in a life or death situation, someone should be thinking to give up their chance at living for a stranger just because of a difference in gender.

Vincentt's avatar

By the way, I want to get this off my chest: women and men are not equal. Or at least not the same. Men just are physically stronger on average.

mamabeverley's avatar

@Poser You go dude!! Nothing makes me feel better than my hubby holding the door open for me or helping me to carry in the groceries. I know I can do it and so does he. He is being nice and considerate. I don’t want to be to be treated the same. I like being a girl. I am 5 feet tall, my hubby is 6’1”. He could flatten me if he wanted to, it is the fact that he doesn’t that makes a difference.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Vincentt – Then we must say that no anybody is equal because males are of varying physical strength, if that is the only measure we are using. You could have some strong person who doesn’t know which way land is, that wouldn’t be much help.

Myndecho's avatar

@Vincentt
So should strong women not be allowed to go off first?
And weak men first?
I don’t know who keeps upvoting reply just because they agree that women should go first but you are not proving anything.

Vincentt's avatar

@rooeytoo – yep, that’d be ideal. But there wouldn’t really be much time for that, so making groups based on sex is a quick and easy way.

@Myndecho – see above. Also, I wasn’t trying to prove something – this average difference has been proved.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Most men are stronger than most women and thus presumptively better able to survive. Children are our future. I’m just enough of an idealist to believe that “women and children first” is the noble thing to do.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther