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MONDAY, AUGUST 21, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Poll suggests women, men usually behave as expected

It's one of those "Well, duh!" polls — for the most part, it ratifies traditional wisdom. Conducted by Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University, it shows that men and women do usually act differently, and as we expect them to, on certain familiar issues.

Many more men than women report that they've been told they are reluctant to stop the car and ask directions. More men than women have run out of gas. More men than women have eaten food that fell on the floor without washing it again. More women than men enjoy shopping or going to the mall. Men prefer beer and women prefer wine among those who have a preference.

But one question, which is not one that people think about often, revealed that attitudes may have changed over the years:

"You may recall that male passengers on the Titanic agreed to give up their places on the lifeboats for women and children. If there were a similar life-or-death situation today, do you think men should be expected to die and allow women to live or is this an old-fashioned idea?"

Sixty-three percent of men, but only 39 percent of women, said men should be expected to die. Forty-three percent of women, but only 23 percent of men, said the idea is old-fashioned.

Perhaps this indicates that both sexes are more altruistic, and less likely to rely on assumed sexual roles, than they once were. It could have implications for such issues as whether women as well as men should be drafted for military service if the draft were reinstated.

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