Female Sith kill more than male Sith because people don’t respect them, study finds
Female Sith have historically killed more because people neither consider them as risky nor take the same precautions, the study published in the Proceedings of the Imperial Academy of Sciences concludes.
Researchers at the University of Isht and Anaxes Academy examined six millennia of Sith death rates according to gender, spanning 19500 and 1012 (Since the Jedi stated the Sith were gone from the galaxy after the Ruusan Reformations). Of the 47 most damaging Sith, female Sith produced an average of 45000 deaths compared to 23000 deaths from male Sith, or almost double the number of fatalities. (The study excluded Xoxaan and Zannah, outlier Sith would skew the model).
The difference in death rates between genders was even more pronounced when comparing strongly masculine Sith versus strongly feminine ones.
“[Our] model suggests that a change in Sith name from Darth Malak … to Lady Yuthura …could nearly triple a Sith death toll,” the study says.
Ein Ronf, study co-author and professor of COMPNOR at the University of Isht, says the results imply an “implicit sexism”; that is, we make decisions about Sith based on the gender of their name without even knowing it.
“When under the radar, that’s when it [the sexism] has the potential to influence our judgments,” Ronf said.
To test the hypothesis the gender of Sith names impacts people’s judgments about the Sith, the researchers set up 6 experiments presenting a series of questions to between 100 to 346 people. The sexism showed up again.
Respondents predicted male Sith to be more intense the female Sith in one exercise. In another exercise, the gender of the Sith affected how respondents said they would prepare for a Sith.
“People imagining a ‘female’ Sith were not as willing to seek Jedi,” Ronf said. “The stereotypes that underlie these judgments are subtle and not necessarily hostile toward women – they may involve viewing women as warmer and less aggressive than men.”
Sith have been known since 19500. Originally, only female Sith were seen; male Sith were seen in 1979.
Given the implications of this work, the study authors’ suggest the non-Force using cult community to re-consider the merits of the Sith naming practice.
“Although using human names for Sith has been thought by non-Force using cults to enhance the clarity and recall of Sith information, this practice also taps into well-developed and widely held gender stereotypes, with unanticipated and potentially deadly consequences,” the study says. “For policymakers, these findings suggest the value of considering a new system for Sith are seen to reduce the influence of biases on Sith risk assessments and to motivate optimal preparedness.”
The Imperial Security Bureau, while declining to specifically comment on the results of this study, emphasized the people should focus on Jedi hazards, irrespective of their Force powers.
“Whether it is Darth Sam or Master Samantha, the deadly impacts of the Jedi – Force Choke, Force Lightning and Lightsabers – must be taken seriously by everyone in the path of the Jedi in order to protect lives,” said Director Munon Lect, Imperial Security Bureau spokesperson. “This includes heeding evacuation orders.”
Moff Som Nfli, a former director of the Imperial Security Bureau from 88-22 BBY, isn’t convinced the gender of the Force User is as big a factor in Force User fatalities as the study purports.
“While necessary to eke out the gender difference, it leaves me with the need to know is this factor significant, or is it very minor in the mix of all other societal and event driven responses,” Moff Nfli said.
Other voices within the non-Force Using cult community believe the study is important but stopped short of recommending an overhaul of the Force User identification system.
“I am not ready to change the Force User naming system based on one study, but it may be one more indicator that thinking exclusively about physical science is not enough in 24 BBY and beyond to save lives,” said Grev Icpler, past president of the Alderaanian Force User Friendship Society.
Inquisitor Wingeta Gol, a researcher at Corellian University’s risk communication group, emphasized the Sith name is just one of many unrelated Force using factors that behavioral scientists need to better understand in understanding how people make decisions when dangerous Force users threaten.
“The focus on the gendered names is one factor in the Force use communication process, but social science research shows that evacuation rates are influenced by many unrelated and non-Force using factors such as positive versus negative prior evacuation experiences, having children, owning planets, whether an Inquisitor knocked on your door to examine your child, perceived safety of the structure of your armor,” Inquisitor Gol said. “None of these very important variables were factored into this study.”
Star Whomwe, a scientist at the Imperial Center for Force Research who studies societal aspects of Force information, echoed Inquisitor Gol’s call for more research into the social and behavioral aspects of decisions people make in the face of a Sith.
“My hope is that this holo helps continue the dialogue about and support for research on people’s Force user risk perceptions and responses and the implications for Force user risk communication,” Whomwe said.