Maria Kouloglou in Quillette:
“Male disposability” describes the tendency to be less concerned about the safety and well-being of men than of women. This night sound surprising given the emphasis in contemporary Western discourse on the oppression of women by men. How is it possible that societies built by men have come to consider their well-being as less important? But embedded in this kind of question are simplistic assumptions that flatten a good deal of complexity.
A 2016 study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science found that people are more willing to sacrifice men than women in a time of crisis and that they are more willing to inflict harm on men than on women. In 2017, an attempt to replicate the Milgram experiment in Poland provided some (inconclusive) evidence that people are more willing to deliver severe electric shocks to men than to women:
“It is worth remarking,” write the authors, “that although the number of people refusing to carry out the commands of the experimenter was three times greater when the student [the person receiving the “shock”] was a woman, the small sample size does not allow us to draw strong conclusions.”
A 2000 study found that among vehicular homicides, drivers who kill women tend to receive longer sentences than drivers who kill men. Another study found that, in Texas in 1991, offenders who victimized females received longer sentences than those who victimized males. There is at least some evidence that “women and children first” is a principle still employed during rescue efforts in natural disaster zones.