One hitched a shopping cart to the back of a train and was dragged to his death. Another opened his own letter bomb. British researchers say it’s no coincidence that both were men.
They’re putting forward the “male idiot theory” —the hypothesis that men are far more likely to do dangerously stupid things than women are. It's the "hold my beer and watch this" school of behavior.
To prove their theory, Dennis Lendrem of Newcastle University and colleagues analyzed winners of the “Darwin Awards” — tongue-in-cheek “awards” given to people who kill themselves doing something stupid —and found men won almost 90 percent of the awards from 1995 to 2014.
“This finding is entirely consistent with male idiot theory (MIT) and supports the hypothesis that men are idiots and idiots do stupid things,” Lendrem’s team say in their report published in the deliberately facetious issue of the British Medical Journal.
“Winners of the Darwin Award must eliminate themselves from the gene pool in such an idiotic manner that their action ensures one less idiot will survive. This paper reports a marked sex difference in Darwin Award winners: males are significantly more likely to receive the award than females.”
The researchers took a look at what might account for the male dominance of life-ending moronic stunts. Alcohol may play a role, they said.
"Anecdotal data support the hypothesis that alcohol makes men feel ‘bulletproof’ after a few drinks, and it would be naïve to rule this out,” they wrote.
“For example, the three men who played a variation on Russian roulette alternately taking shots of alcohol and then stamping on an unexploded Cambodian land mine. (Spoiler alert: the mine eventually exploded, demolishing the bar and killing all three men.)”
Lendrem’s team said they were setting out to test their theory “in a Christmas party setting”.