Do people take hurricanes more seriously when they have a male name rather than a female name? The Internet sure thought so yesterday.
Writing about the situation, National Geographic explained that according to a study, “Thanks to [gender] biases, people might take greater precautions to protect themselves from Hurricane Victor, while reacting more apathetically to Hurricane Victoria.” This in turn would mean more people die from female-named storms because they take them as seriously.
But not everyone is jumping aboard with this study, as National Geographic also explains. The National Centre for Atmospheric Research’s Jeff Lazo has some critiques, including the fact that it wasn’t until 1979 that hurricanes started to get male names. So, yes, female-named storms may have killed more people, but it doesn’t necessarily have to do with sexism, he says.
Initially the news was reporting the study as fact, but after Lazo spoke up, it began to report on that, too. Why would people automatically believe the first study? Well, probably because sexism is so commonplace. Even if the hurricane stats might be off, there are so many facts about sexism that are unfortunately too true.
+ Worldwide, 1 out of 3 women is physically or sexually assaulted at some point during her life. One out of three, people.
+ On average, for each dollar a man makes, a woman brings home 77 cents. Even this year some politicians fought against assuring women equal pay.
+ 1 out of 3 American women will exercise their right to an abortion. Despite the fact abortion is a common medical procedure for women, and despite the fact it’s legal, there have been constant attacks on the practice and on people who call themselves pro-choice.
+ Studies have shown that if a man and a woman both try for the same job and have an equally good résumé, the man is waaay more likely to be hired. He will also probably be paid more.
+ Women with careers and who have exposure on the Internet often face sexual assault threats.
+ When it comes to people earning the big bucks at Fortune 500 companies, only about 14 percent of them are women. And it’s not because women aren’t trying to get to the top of companies.
+ Something referred to as “rape insurance” exists. That’s right, ladies — if you live in Michigan, you have to plan ahead for your sexual assault and pay for it up front.
Now what was that thing about hurricanes?
Head to lookdifferent.org for more examples of bias, what you can do about it and additional resources.