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'Men are idiots' - British researchers conclude that males more likely to do stupid things

Published:Sunday | December 28, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Nadine Wilson-Harris, Gleaner Staff Reporter

Men are idiots. At least that's the finding of a study that has been published in the Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal.

Authors of the study concluded that men are often more likely to do stupid things, and used the Darwin Award nominations from 1995-2014 to support this claim.

Of the 318 valid nominees, 282 Darwin Awards were given to males, and just 36 awarded to females. The Darwin Awards are given to the individuals who best improve the gene pool by eliminating themselves from society through an extraordinarily idiotic manner.

"This finding is entirely consistent with male idiot theory and supports the hypothesis that men are idiots, and idiots do stupid things," the researchers noted.

Fuels development

That men are more likely to take risks when compared to women is not debatable for local psychologist Dr Leahcim Semaj. However, he argues that this willingness to take risks has contributed to development.

"Men drive faster, they have more traffic fatalities. Men own more firearms, men kill more people with weapons and kill themselves more with weapons. One of the interesting contrasts even with respect to suicide is that more women attempt suicide, but more men are successful," said Semaj.

"But at the end of the day, the world is a better place because someone will take the risk to try more new and daring things. It's just part of the price for living," argued Semaj.

The propensity of men to take more risks on the road is supported by the data. Director of the Road Safety Unit in the Transport Ministry, Kenute Hare, noted that of the 316 persons killed on the nation's roads so far this year, 81 per cent are males. Of the 59 motorcyclists killed, all are males.

"The males are more likely to take risks in the traffic environment in Jamaica. Apart from being exposed, which is risky, they engage in improper overtaking manoeuvres, they engage in speeding manoeuvres. They cross the roads anywhere they feel like crossing the roads," said Hare, adding that men are often the ones who drink and drive due to a false belief "that they can hold their liquor".

According to Hare, the bulk of the unit's road-safety campaigns are targeted towards men. However, in recent times the unit has been trying to get more females to have a positive influence on their male partners. "Our men listen to our women," he reasoned.

It seems men's risk levels are higher in every sphere of the society. Semaj pointed out that 94 per cent of those who die at work due to occupational hazards are men and 15 of the leading causes of death are topped by men. He also noted that in Jamaica, most of the race car drivers and jockeys are men, although there is a small number of women competing in these areas as well.

Willingness to take risks

While genetics is believed to play a part in men's willingness to take risks, the psychologist believes socialisation has a part to play as men are encouraged to tackle challenges. Like him, chair of the National Family Planning Board, Dr Sandra Knight, believes men oftentimes engage in idiotic behaviour in their quest to protect and provide for their families, and cautions against belittling them for this.

"The behaviour that the researchers are describing as 'idiotic' has gone a long way towards ensuring the proliferation of the human race. It has been shown that men do process danger less than women do, and this has been a necessary characteristic since the beginning of time," she said.

"Our men have needed some 'immunity' to danger because this is the only way they can carry out one of their main functions, and that is to protect the female and children," said Knight.