Women and children first?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Queso, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. Queso macrumors G4

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    #1
    Not quite sure how, but during one of my many thought meanders I arrived at the accepted concept of how to evacuate in the event of a disaster. It appears that "Women and Children First" is the way we're supposed to do it.

    But....

    Having seen the way women often struggle with their children under normal circumstances, wouldn't it be a much better idea for the physically larger and stronger men to look after the kids whilst the women look after themselves? Surely it would result in a much speedier evacuation for all? Is the accepted system just some courteous hangover from another age that actually doesn't have much common sense behind it? Or are my tangential thought process going off on one again without much basis?

    Your thoughts please
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #2
    I assume this works off the idea that if you needed to repopulate (or were totally stranded for 10s of years which was a real possibility 100-odd years back) then it's better to have lots of women and children with few men than the other way round.

    Children grow up to become breeders, older people do not so the children are to be protected (as well as the normal biological drive to pass the genes on). One or two men and lots of women works in terms of having more children, lots of men and one or two women only works if you want to make specialist films.

    Of course this all leads to a deep but narrow gene pool which tends to lead towards strange mutations and hereditary diseases which is not great...
     
  3. Markleshark macrumors 603

    Markleshark

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    #3
    I don't see why it should be women and children first anyway, regardless of physical attributes. Children, ok, maybe. But Women? What happened to equality? Or do we just have that when it suits?...

    Slightly more on topic tho, you do make a good point. My guess would be a hangover from an era where a lack of common sense was order of the day.
     
  4. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

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    #4
    I’m not sure how far back into history the term originates, it’s probably a hang over from the olden days were ladies were considered to be liable to faint or something in the face of catastrophe. It was probably thought best get the ‘delicate females’ out of harms way as quickly as possible.

    Of course, if it’s something like an abandon ship situation, they’d have needed men on the lifeboats anyway to do the rowing while the women folk held onto their bonnets and parasols.

    EDIT: Apparently (according to Wikipedia at least) the phrase has its origins in the 1845 sinking of /HMS Birkenhead. So there you go!
     
  5. walangij macrumors 6502

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    #5
    I think the women and children first comes from old school chivalry. You were a gentleman, and assisting women/children to escape danger was the honorable thing to do. Even today, it holds some gumption. Imagine if you were a dangerous situation such as a building on fire, most men (I assume you are a male of appropriate age to not be a child) would assist others to exit before exiting themselves. At least this is what I would hope would happen, I can't imagine seeing grown men screaming and pushing kids/women out of the way (but then again I could see it :(). Even in "equality", I know that women would appreciate help in the event of a disaster.
     
  6. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #6
    It sounds as if you're assuming everyone will survive in the end. If that's the case, your system does make sense. However, if it's the case of a sinking ship (for example) where many will ultimately die, I think the notion of "women and children first" stems from the idea that it's the husband's duty to care for his family, even if it means giving his life to ensure that his family will survive.

    The belief that mothers can care for children better than fathers may also have something to do with it.
     
  7. dcv macrumors G3

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    #7
    It's just so you can look at our arses :D
     
  8. Markleshark macrumors 603

    Markleshark

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    #8
    Which of course is far from the truth.

    I knew there would be a decent reason. :D
     
  9. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #9
    I think your using false divisions here,quite a lot of peoples first reaction would be to help those that needed help if they are men or women would make no difference and adults in general would assist children in difficulties.The children and women first thing is a hangover from the ages of misogyny.Of course some people men and women would think only of themselves and to hell with everyone else children or not.They hopefully would satisfy the hunger of the sharks or whatever other danger the rest are trying to avoid.:)
     
  10. Markleshark macrumors 603

    Markleshark

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    #10
    But surely the first and most basic human function is to look after number one. Saving anyone else for me would be a bonus after saving me. ;)

    How anyone can comment on how others would react in the face of extreme danger is beyond me, how most can even comment on how they would react when they haven't been in that situation is also beyond me. But hey, who am I?
     
  11. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #11
    Well that's a complicated and difficult one to answer bringing in all sorts of ideas.Yes essentially self preservation comes first in order to help others although history is littered with examples of people sacrificing themselves to save others (or even just to comfort others at the time of their death).I disagree with the idea that self survival overrides group survival,again they're lots of examples. I can think of lots of examples which would tend to show people co-operate in times of extreme danger,unfortunately I also know of some were they didn't. A favourite example was the behaviour of doctors during the last smallpox epidemic in India they were the first to leave (not to say some brave individuals didn't stay).Verily tis a mindf*cker.
     
  12. smokeyrabbit macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Check out this table below:

    It is from here and if you compare the number of men on board the Titanic to the number saved, you will see that there once existed chivalry, or honor, or whatever. Obviously there's class division, but in each class the men who chose to stay far outnumber the women and children. Take that Hollywood.
     

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  13. MBPchef macrumors member

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    #13
    Im a firm believer in self survival before group survival. Just the way I am I guess. Case in point, take a ride on an airplane. When the Flight Attendants do their spiel about "... in the case of lost cabin pressure..." blah blah blah, "... secure your oxygen mask BEFORE helping others." I will do everything I can to help another person, but you have to look out for number 1.

    I think the "women and children first" is definitely a hangover from generations prior, not to say it is a bad thing.

    My $.02
     
  14. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    #14
    Like people have said, it's just a holdover from historical codes of honor ('chivalry'). Men are expected to put women ahead of them and die, suffer or struggle to shield women from hardship.

    This has been a somewhat of a problem for women's lib/feminist movements, because they will claim to want absolute equality, but at the same time don't want to lose the luxuries afforded to women by these kinds of honor codes. :p
     
  15. mariahlullaby macrumors 6502a

    mariahlullaby

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    #15
    I think they say that because if a mother faints or whatever while putting the mask on her child, then they are both screwed. So put hers on quickly, then help.
     
  16. Gymnut macrumors 68000

    Gymnut

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    #16
    I barely recall a Seinfeld episode where George was at party and he saw smoke and assumed there was a fire. He yelled, "Fire!" and as the women and children tried to exit the room, he pushed and pulled them aside to save himself. It actually wasn't a fire but it sure was funny.
     
  17. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #17
    See, this is politically incorrect, but I'm not sure on equality. Men and women play different roles naturally. I am completely anti-discrimination, and they should be treated with equal respect especially as far as employment, but mentally, physically, and emotionally, men and women are different with different needs and I think that needs to be acknowledged more.

    I have met women that demand special treatment when it suits and equality when it doesn't; I've met others that would rather take the traditional role (stay at home mom, for example) and just go with the special "womanly" treatment, and I've met women who demand equality and want to be out in the workforce doing the exact same thing as everyone else.

    I'm fine with the latter two, but the ones who demand both are just taking advantage of people.

    The women and children first goes on the traditional role of women as the childbearers and the ones who raise the children. If you want the children to survive, you want the mothers to survive to care for them.

    Additionally, it matches nature, as the males generally protect the females who in turn protect the children when threatened. Is it instinct?
     
  18. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #18
    I think the basic concept behind that is that you can help people more effectively if you're not struggling to maintain consciousness. Get your mask on first, so you don't pass out while helping someone else and then you become the victim.
     
  19. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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    #19
    Left over thing from a different time....Childern I understand why, but women? If women are equal(and I do think they are) then they have to face a downside of that too.
     
  20. adroit macrumors 6502

    adroit

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    #20
    I think that feminists are overrated and only apply to a very small group of women. I don't feel that most working women are at all feminists or think that men and women should be treated the same.

    For most families it is necessary to have two people working due to financial reason. I believe that most working women would expect equality in workplace because how would you feel if there is someone, either a man or a woman, who does the same work (and in essence have the same role) with you but being treat differently?

    I don't need any man to give me a special treatment but I think a men and women are fundamentally different and we still play different role in the family. For this reason, I believe that men and women should be treat differently.

    My 2 cents.
     
  21. MrSmith macrumors 68040

    MrSmith

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    #21
    I think chivalry, in a modern sense, is largely a non-issue. How many men would give up a bus seat to a healthy woman of the same age? Probably no-one. But many would give up their seat to an elderly person of either sex. I suppose how we treat people is more pragmatic now. On a sinking ship I guess the physically stronger men would still get the lighter, weaker women and children off, but for those practical reasons, not through any code.
     
  22. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #22
    Yeah, I started a thread about this on another board like 6 years ago. We decided that it was stupid to let women and children go first. Children would probably not survive without their parents, and letting women go first simply because they have breasts? No thanks.
     
  23. sikkinixx macrumors 68020

    sikkinixx

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    #23
    Women and Children First?

    It's a pretty bad ass Van Halen album.
     

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