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Opening Arguments

Aww, what a cute little hurricane you are, Missy

I know I've called attention to a lot of frivolous research here, but this just may be the silliest study yet:

People don’t take hurricanes as seriously if they have a feminine name and the consequences are deadly, finds a new groundbreaking study.

Female-named storms have historically killed more because people neither consider them as risky nor take the same precautions, the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes.

Researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State University examined six decades of hurricane death rates according to gender, spanning  1950 and 2012.  Of the 47 most damaging hurricanes, the female-named hurricanes produced an average of 45 deaths compared to 23 deaths in male-named storms, or almost double the number of fatalities.  (The study excluded Katrina and Audrey, outlier storms that would skew the model).

[. . .]

Sharon Shavitt, study co-author and professor of marketing at the University of Illinois, says the results imply an “implicit sexism”; that is, we make decisions about storms based on the gender of their name without even knowing it.

“When under the radar, that’s when it [the sexism] has the potential to influence our judgments,” Shavitt said.

Never mind all the other factors that could contribute to a storm's deadliness or all the variables that could make people respond differently to differents storms in different times and places. It's "implicit sexism," and even when it's "under the radar," it's deadly. My favorite part is that they left out Katrina and Audrey because they were "outlier storms" that would "skew the model." Is there any other way to interpret that other than, "We wanted female-named storms to be seen as less-seriously taken, so we left out the two that were taken very seriously."

Oh, well. I suppose we can take comfort from the knowledge that a lot of misogynistic hurricane deniers at least got what they deserved.