According to a recent study by the University of Illinois and Arizona State University, hurricanes with female names have a higher death rate compared to those with male names. Why is this so? Because sexism! Examining the death rates from 1950 to 2012, it turns out that of the 47 most deadly hurricanes, female-named hurricanes averaged around 45 deaths compared to 23 deaths in male-named ones. ‘[Our] model suggests that changing a severe hurricane’s name from Charley … to Eloise … could nearly triple its death toll’, the study says.
In separate experiments, the researchers tested participants’ level of storm prepping based on the names of different hurricanes. Results showed that people were more fearful of male hurricanes than female hurricanes. ‘People imagining a ‘female’ hurricane were not as willing to seek shelter’, says Sharon Shavitt, the study’s co-author. ‘The stereotypes that underlie these judgments are subtle and not necessarily hostile toward women – they may involve viewing women as warmer and less aggressive than men’.
Shavitt adds that this is the result of ‘implicit sexism’, decision making based on the gender of the storm without even knowing it’s sexist. ‘When under the radar, that’s when it [the sexism] has the potential to influence our judgments’, she said.
Here’s a great idea: scrap the female and male names, altogether. Let’s just name our hurricanes, ‘Hurricane Mass Murderer 3000’, or ‘Hurricane Gory Deathzilla’, or ‘Hurricane Pain and Suffering Apocalypse’. That’ll get everyone evacuating in no time.
Via Washington Post