Re: Brave maidens

Julian O'Dea (jodea@MAILHOST.DPIE.GOV.AU)
Fri, 19 Jul 1996 17:08:32 +1000

Michael Tlusty wrote (on the Ethology list):

>Julian - How frequently do these acts occur (young maidens engaging in
>acts of bravery)? They may be very rare, are they "outliers"?

This is a good question. There do seem,though, to be as many brave young
females as brave young males. Also a lot of the brave older males are
professionally brave (firemen etc). I am not denigrating them, just
pointing out that they will be in more heroism-requiring situations.

The brave acts which win young women awards are rare, of course, but they
may represent the "tip of the iceberg". That is, many brave acts by young
women probably occur which are not recognised. So I am not sure to what
extent one can say the acts are "outliers".

I recognise the danger in trying to draw sociological or sociobiological
conclusions from rare events. For example, there is a book "Sole Survivor"
which attempts to draw sociological conclusions from a handful of cases of
people who have murdered their entire families. I certainly wonder about
the validity of that kind of analysis.

>There may be some benefits of heroism by young females. there are the
>usual status and wealth. However, of the six cases you list, the sex of
>the person being saved was given in two of the cases. Both were male. Thus
>I will raise the possibility (although I'm not sure if I believe it) that
>female heroism may be a way to meet potential mates.

Maybe, although it seems a rather desperate way to meet a mate :-) Also,
it would hardly apply to my 10 year old example. (Julian O'Dea)