Hurricanes and Feminism
Last night while I was waiting out the most intense part of Hurricane Sandy (thus far) with my fellow dormmates our discussions led us down many paths, but inevitably towards the hurricane. And even more specifically to the question of, "why does it seem like the most destructive hurricanes have female names?" The friendly discussion turned to anger and could be summed up in one of Bryn Mawr's favorite sayings, "Death to the Patriarchy!" So I had the intention today of starting my post as a rant that would take a similar route of the discussion I had last night, that is, talking about the seemingly sexist nature of the hurricane naming system. However, I was proved wrong. Upon further investigation and according to Time.com (http://nation.time.com/2012/08/24/the-most-destructive-u-s-hurricanes-of-all-time/) the most destructive US hurricanes seem to be fairly evenly named. The list cited hurricanes Ike, Floyd, Hugo, Charley, Ivan and Andrew as the most destructive hurricanes with masculine names and hurricanes Opal, Jeanne, Frances, Camille, Besty, Agnes, Rita, Katrina, and Wilma. According to this list, 6 out of the 15 most destructive hurricanes have masculine names, or 40%. Feminine named hurricanes make up the other 60%. While these numbers are skewed towards the feminine named hurricanes it still does not show the huge gap that I was anticipating. Add Sandy to that list and the ratio is more like 37.5% male and 62.5% female, which widens the gap, but by much. So, it doesn't appear that extremely destructive feminine named hurricanes are that much more common than masculine named ones. That's what the numbers tell us, but why then were my friends and I all of the same opinion that the numbers seemed far more disproportional? What could be the reason that feminine named hurricanes seem so much more common? Are they really more destructive? Do they hit more densely populated areas? Or are my friends and I just overly sensitive to it all? Thoughts?