COVID19 Reasons WhY: Nurture Favors XX Survival (Reason 8)

Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD
8 min readNov 20, 2020


Women & children first” — not “Men & children first

Given the realities of Zoom Fatigue, NeoLiberalism, digital stress, & intertemporal choice, here is reason #8 pre-context.
(See below for Damsel in Distress context)

BTW: Here are our previous 7 reasons why, which focused on contraception & overall aspects of nature, plus short piece on Race & COVID Survival Rates. This is the first reason to focus on sex role theory, gender socialization, and overall nurture based outcomes. As is the common refrain in social science, & arguably the core tenet in my lab at UC San Diego, whenever it’s a question of nature or nurture, the answer is always, both. Some things may purely be nature, some purely nurture, but ultimately both are necessary.

Author Note: As what is known about COVID-19 evolves, so could the info contained in this & previous stories.

8♀. Nurture Favors XX Survival

8A. #AiForGood

People would prefer that a malfunctioning Ai self-driving car hit males & spare females (Awad et al., 2019, MIT).

p. 45

8B. Women Survive More Than Men in MMORPG

Women avatars like me are more likely to survive than men avatars in MMORPG regardless of the sex of the gamer (Zhang et al., 2018).

Zhang, S., Bakkes, S., Roijers, D., & Spronck, P. Avatars of a Feather Flock Together: Gender Homophily in Online Video Games Revealed via Exponential Random Graph Modeling.

This outcome is due to nurture given that virtual world avatars don’t have a sex like the corporeal world gamers controlling them.

8C. People would rather sacrifice to save women

FeldmanHall et al. (2016) tasked participants with deciding how much money they would pay to reduce or prevent painful electric shocks from reaching a target (a fake subject or confederate; but not a neocist or Civil War related). People spent more money (kept less money) when the target was a woman.

p. 545

8D. The Titanic

Of the 1,513 passengers who lost their lives, 1,352 were men, but only 161 were women and children.

While 80% of the men perished, only 26% of the women lost their lives.
The survival rate of the women was 3 times that of the men.

There may be a nature basis to this outcome too. Assume you have a lifeboat that can fit up to 15 people in terms of space & carry a maximum of 2,000 pounds. Most women are shorter than most men (only 1% of human women are 6 feet or taller, or perhaps it’s 5'11 or taller) so 15 women could fill the space more easily than 15 men. Most women weigh less than most men, so 15 women would fit under 2,000 pounds with greater ease than 15 men. In addition, if we assume all 15 women are pregnant (just for the sake of example), then having 15 women on the boat potentially saves 30 lives. Potentially more considering a couple of women are likely to have twins, and Hispanic/Black/Asian minorities are more likely to have twins than White women.

Lilienfeld, A. M., & Pasamanick, B. (1955). A study of variations in the frequency of twin births by race and socio-economic status. American Journal of Human Genetics, 7(2), 204.

Thus, much like the question of vaccine distribution, one may reach an outcome that appears biased when in fact it’s 100% fair. Consider the following:

Who should get vaccines first?
A. Women, so we don’t go extinct
B. Women, because chivalry
C. Football Players #GoCowboys #AmericasTeam
D. First responders

Obviously the answer is D.

Here’s the thing… most health responders are women. Thus, D produces the same action/outcome as A & B, but for a different reason. It has the appearance of bias despite being 100% logical. It only appears that way due to the careers people may be socialized into during childhood due to gender role socialization (nurture).

The Context

We’re socialized to assume that males are supposed to play hero. It’s in cartoons, sitcoms movies, videogames, & music… in every artistic medium that girls & boys consume throughout their childhood. It continues into adulthood in social media, expectations of attire & appearance labor, emotional labor, cognitive labor, gendered policy differences (see paternity leave debate), gender reveals, professional sports (8 of the 12 WNBA Head coaches are men… I’m sure that reinforces something), the big & tall sections which suspiciously seem to exist only in the men’s section… you get the idea. These socialization scripts are multimodal throughout life, and the more modalities in which something is transmitted the stronger the signal.

Even those of us who prefer deconstructive, egalitarian, & futuristic (hopefully) narratives are still reminded of the tired knight slays the dragon & saves the damsel in distress trope — if for no other reason than to present it for the purposes of dismantling it.

As a result, we become adults who are more likely to expect Mario to rescue Zelda from Bowser than for Zelda to rescue Mario from Bowser… just substitute ‘rescue her from Bowser’ for ‘rescue her from a flat tire on the 405 North’ and you get the idea.

Importantly, both women AND men are receiving these messages. Indeed, it wasn’t just women admonishing Harry Styles for wearing dresses → many men joined in. The ‘Man Box’ of our gender socialization narratives is also why Kevin Love’s ESPN special on Mental Health was praised as incredibly brave. It’s only brave because we’ve socialized males towards emotional agnosticism. Thus, men may come to expect this behavior in themselves as much as women may expect it of them.

Thankfully these norms have tangibly decreased in my millennial (GenY) generation, and all indications are that the iGen (GenZ) will show a similar trend towards more egalitarian norms.

Alas, until the social evolution of men & normative sea change towards mindful masculinity that I & my soul sister Elizabeth Plank dream of takes place, we must consider the epidemiological consequences of our current atavistic gender norms.

Symbol Codes

♀ = Nurture & β = Nature

COVID Sidenote 1 → Research suggests most people walk on sidewalks. Thus, walking in the grass…
- would be consistent with social & physical distancing
- would provide a greater sense of safety especially for when males aren’t wearing their masks over their nose
- would be safer than walking behind people who are talking

→ sometimes joggers/cyclists who aren’t wearing a mask travel thru the path I intend to walk through. Walking in the grass spares me from having to walk through their heavy exhalations (e.g., people breathe in AND out deeper when engaging in aerobic activity; please see more details below)

→ sometimes I’m behind someone who IS wearing a mask but audibly sneezes while I was walking downwind of them. Sneezing creates a higher concentration of emissions; arguably a sufficient infective dose (or inhaled deposited dose of aerosols) for even the least susceptible people. Thus, walking in the grass spares me from having to walk through that person’s sneeze plume.

COVID Sidenote 2 → On Exercise (Richard Corsi, 2020, obviously)
“The respiratory minute volume in units of air inhaled (L/min) is 5 to 10 L/min for rest to simple exertions like driving, to 50 to 60 L/min or more for aerobic exercise. Thus, the heavy breathing resulting from exercise can significantly increase both emissions from an infector and inhaled deposited dose of a receptor.”

COVID Sidenote 3 → Choosing a Self-Checkout Station.
Exposure itself is not inhaled dose. The inhaled deposited dose (IDD) of aerosols is how SARS-CoV-2 gets into your respiratory system. The inhaled dose from scanning your groceries in a spot where some nose-agnostic person just sneezed is a dangerously higher than the inhaled dose of scanning your groceries in the spot where some masked person was lightly breathing.

COVID Sidenote 4 → Mask Selection (Iahn Gonsenhauser, MD, Buckeyes)
“It’s best to use a mask that’s thick enough or has enough layers (two to three is recommended) that you can’t see light through it easily when you hold it up to sunlight. If light can get through it, respiratory droplets likely can, too.”

COVID Sidenote 5 → COVID considered Autoimmune disorder.

COVID Sidenote 6 → Introverts are still doing fine, but…

Obviously introverts were going to excel with social distancing, literally to the point that when people would ask how introverts are doing over Spring & Summer their answers would convey hardship for the sake of appeasement, with an empathetic awareness of how the general public was feeling.

…but now we’re going into a post-Halloween curfew. We know who was LESS LIKELY to be at Halloween parties in terms of personality.

We have discussed up males’ challenges when it comes to wearing a mask (especially when walking with women) & washing their hands.

We discussed how the person who lost the 2020 election disenfranchised his own voters
(A) by telling them not to vote by mail
(B) by trying to downplay COVID which likely lead to the hospitalization of many of his previous supporters who decided to vote for President Biden
(C) by refuting science which likely increased mortalities among many people who would’ve voted for him. Consider how close the vote is in Georgia, the COVID mortality count, & the impact of the widow vote (highly unlikely that widows would vote for science denial, and highly likely that most widows would be women due to XX advantage).

So if we can discuss those domains, shouldn’t we do more to disincentivize extraverted events/activities? It could be as simple as releasing more videogames (wish Playstation 5 came out BEFORE Halloween), releasing any/all upcoming Netflix/Amazon/Disney Plus etc shows that companies are sitting on… just do something to keep extraverts from going out around Christmas, New Years Eve, Valentines, etc.

Could machine learning technology be utilized to assess personality based on computations of how social people look in their social media profile history? The Ai could then determine which citizens to send alerts/reminders to not go out on Thursday-Saturday and/or certain holidays. And the Ai could send introverts an online gift card to buy a new book, like President Obama’s A Promised Land

…just an idea =^.^=



Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.