Male bravado is often blamed the tendency of men to do extraordinarily dangerous things to impress others.
But daredevils come in all shapes, sizes, and sexes. Women can and have been just as able to throw their own sense of self-preservation away to do really cool tricks.
Helen Gibson is generally considered the first stuntwoman in Hollywood history. Because her father had wanted a son, he encouraged Helen to pursue tomboy activities.
After seeing a Wild West show, she signed up to be a rider, after first learning how exactly to ride a horse.
She managed to ride so well that she could pick up a handkerchief from the ground while riding a horse at a gallop, despite the danger of being kicked in the head.
After this, she married a rodeo performer, and the couple earned their money by winning races where they stood on the horse’s back.
Helen Gibson entered the film industry by starring in Hazards of Helen, a series of 12-minute films about a quick-witted heroine constantly placed in peril.
In one episode, Gibson had to leap from the roof of a train station onto the top of a moving train.
She later called it her most dangerous stunt. She managed to land on the train, but the motion of the locomotive almost launched her off and under the train.
She managed to avoid death by grabbing an air vent, but, like a consummate professional, let herself hang over the edge to make the scene more exciting.
She later worked as a stunt double and was honored in her later life for helping to make Hollywood the film making center that it is. She died at the age of 86.