Looking for a Few Good Women

A guest blog article by Brian H. (student, world citizen)

The battle of the sexes has been a war that humans have fought for a long time and continue to fight in daily life.  There is income inequality, the fight to restrict a woman’s right to choose, the backlash against the expanded role of women in the workplace, and many more issues women face today.  There is one issue that is rarely touched upon, and that is the role of women in the United States’ Military.  Women may be biologically different from men, but the differences between the two are often used as reason to prevent women from having a front line role in combat.  The debate over women’s roles in the military is based on outdated and ill-considered evidence used to wrongly place women behind the men in an honorable role.

Many men argue passionately against women being brought to the front lines of battle.  They feel that it is wrong for women, the more “frail” of the two sexes, to be subjected to the physical intensity of combat because women elsewhere want to argue for gender equality.  These protests, however, are often societal assumptions that are difficult to defend.  “An issue is a public matter: some value cherished by publics is felt to be threatened.  Often there is a debate about what that value really is and what it is that really threatens it.   This debate is often without focus if only because it is the very nature of an issue . . . that it cannot be very well defined in terms of the immediate and everyday environments of ordinary people” (Mills 5).  It is true that women are biologically different from men, but there are women who would be more than capable to take on those responsibilities (just as there are men who would be less than able to take on the roles expected of “men”).   The group of women who would not be initially prepared to fight on the battlefield may outnumber the women who would be ready, but society’s willingness to over-generalize evidence for simplicity’s sake completely ruins the opportunity for those who are ready and only waiting for an opportunity to participate.

In G.I. Jane (1997), Jordan O’Neil is given the opportunity to participate in the training course for the Navy Seals-like “Combined Reconnaissance Team”.  A senator with a political agenda handpicked O’Neil from all of the possible candidates because O’Neil looks more feminine than the other candidates.  O’Neil struggles at first, but does not give up and soon begins to succeed while many other men drop out.  The nation becomes enthralled with the mysterious “G.I. Jane” being discussed in the press, but soon, the senator’s political agenda forces her to sabotage O’Neil’s training (through lesbian-accusations in the press during the reign of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy).  Despite the setback, O’Neil manages to get back into training and successfully completes a real-life rescue operation to become an official member of the CRT.  Portrayals of sexual harassment and glass ceilings are accurate in this film; however, the fact that O’Neil had to become more manly in order to start succeeding and gain the respect of others still illustrates the fact that women are seen as beneath men in the military and that they have to become more like men in order to finally become “accepted” in the organization.  Yes, O’Neil made progress for women everywhere by successfully completing the program, but the progress is limited if it is still a “man’s game” the women have to learn to play.

The issue of women having to overcome men’s expectations in order to be accepted in equal military roles is, in fact, more of an issue than the common “biological differences” debate.  Yes, women may be different than men, but they should not have to become the epitome of masculinity in a woman’s body in order to finally become an accepted part of the military.  This idea only serves to further limit society as a whole.  In the presence of this harmful ideological mandate, it is unconsciously accepted that being a woman is lesser than being a man.

Bibliography

Mills, C. Wright.  2000 (1959).  The Sociological Imagination: 40th Anniversary Edition.  Oxford University Press.

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59 thoughts on “Looking for a Few Good Women

  1. While I agree that it is good for women to be a part of the U.S. Military, I do not believe they should be in the front line. There are other ways for women to be involved in the military. I do not say this to be sexist, but I do not believe women are strong enough to do such a thing. Being in the front line of a battle requires strength, and although a women might be mentally strong, but are they really physically strong enough to fend for themselves without putting another U.S. soldier at risk? Yes, women can be physically fit and built, but not as strong as a physically fit, built man.

    1. Katieb, you have written well but you feel that women in the military should not be given front line role in battle due to the fact that you feel they are not physically strong enough because you are not in the military. Generally, women in any field always believe that whatever a man in that field can do, they can do and even better and this also include the women in the military They should be given the opportunity to prove themselves so they will not feel marginalized in any way.

      1. Agreed, pepestico. It is an over-generalization that men are always stronger than women. There have been plenty of women stronger than plenty of men, and even if they did lag behind, it would be nothing fitness tests and exercise cannot help.

        Regardless of individual preference, it is important that women are given that opportunity. It is the only way they can prove themselves and eliminate age-old stereotypes like that.

      2. It is a good oppurtunity for women to step up and eliminate the stereotype but I’m just wondering if thats enough. This topic has been brought up and circulated for hundreds and hundreds of years and while we’ve made great political advances with civil rights and the like, I fear that we have plateaued on this issue when it is still relevant and needs to be discussed and fixed. It’s not so much about the rights anymore but about the world view on women. How do we change this?

      3. I believe that women can be just as physically strong as men, with enough excerise it does not matter that men are usually genetically stronger. However, maybe the issue is not can the women fight as well as men in the front lines, but can society and more immediately could the people fighting in the front lines get over the stereotype that women are weaker and more fragile. Do you think that if women were out there on the front lines it would be too distracting for the men on the front lines? I do not mean sexually but the fact that they would be more interested in making sure women who were fighting in the front lines were safe. I think that naturally men want to protect women, I also think that society has, for a long time, made people believe that a man’s role in society is to provide and protect his family, women and children. This may be slowly changing with the women’s rights movement but it is still very much a concept in society.

      4. Christina makes a really good point. I have been following the story of the women that were training to become Marines. This is the first year in which women will graduate from the intense training program. Clearly, women have proven that, even though they may have to work harder to get there, they can achieve the same physical level that men in the same program do. I agree with Christina in that I believe certain men’s socialized instinct to protect women could potentially get in the way of how they perform in a war type situation. Although this seems to be evolving, it could pose an issue for certain people.

      5. I agree with you Pepestico . If a woman is able to prove herself to be mentally and physically fit for the task at hand why should a woman be restricted to do a “mans” job. I feel that every women should be given the opportunity to prove she can do something that is not expected of her.

    2. Katieb is right, women can take a different role outside of the frontlines and still feel a sense of fulfillment and duty-bound to our country. They are not any less honorable because they are not sent on the frontlines. However, I do believe other country wou;d respect “America” as a whole if they saw equality even in the military. So I guess it can go both ways.

  2. I’m on the fence on this issue. On the one hand I believe women should be on the front line if they want to and their superiors feel they are capable and on the other hand I personally would be terrified of getting killed. I can be of better use in the back ground in a support role.

    1. I definitely understand your fear, personally I’d much rather be strategizing back at home than the first guy into a gunfight. However, there are a lot of women that are willing and able to join the front lines, but they’re discriminated against by getting forced into less-demanding positions just because they’re women. While it may not be the popular choice, the fact the choice isn’t there is an issue, especially when it’s based on outdated numbers and biological differences that are easily overcome by lifestyle changes, such as simple exercise.

    2. That’s where this “equal” rights gets tricky. You are not the only one feeling this way. Most women have these thoughts but if you want equality women should be put on the front lines and sacrifice their lives just as men. That is true equality after all, right? What makes women different? The genetic make-up? Can’t be, given women have disputed this issue for years. If a man can sacrifice his life and be put on the front lines, a women can do the same.

    3. I invite you to think more on this topic. Of course no one wants to die but many of these soldiers in frontline companies have their reasons for choosing those jobs. Those reasons will also change over time while serving. Sure, initially I wanted to serve my country and be part of something greater than myself, but currently that is not why I continue to do it. The current reasons for me to do that type of job instead of a desk job is that I know the people I work with need backup. Someone needs to have their back and I know I can do that. I know how they fight, what they’re going to do next, and how they will respond to various situations and they know the same of me. If they end up making a mistake it’s up to me to do what I can to help them out of that situation and make sure they don’t die. You watch their back and they do the same for you and if all goes well, you both go home alive. The bond formed in jobs such as these can run deeper than blood and often do. I’ll follow those people to the gates of hell and back because they’d do the same for me. That’s why I do what I do.

  3. While I agree that women are treated differently than men in the military and are not allowed on the front lines, is that such a bad thing? I am all for women’s rights and the fact that women can do anything a men can, but I think it is nice that there are some things men do and some things women do. For me, it kind of goes along with the idea that men are never to hit women, men can hit men however. Women are special, we have the babies and take care of them. That’s not to say that a man can’t take care of a baby, but he can never give give birth to a baby, or produce the milk that feeds the baby after it is born. There is such a thing as formula, that’s besides the point. It’s also not to say that women can’t work and have children. I am a single mother and work, but I also was lucky enough to be able to take time off of work when my son was first born, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. I know that not all women are the same, and maybe those women who feel like they want to be in the front lines should be able to, that’s the point of freedom of choice.

    1. I think that is part of the issue that was not touched on in the article. Women and men are different. There are certain things that women will be better at than men and vice versa. I don’t necessarily see it as a bad thing that women would be treated differently. At the same time, I do not think someone else should be able to decide for a woman what she can or cannot do. If she wants to be on the front lines of a battle, she should be able to without much difficulty.

  4. I completely agree this article for several reasons. You stated that women should not have to become masculine to be accepted in the military and I couldn’t agree more with this statement, for women should have the ability to look and act like a women but fight like a warrior. This applies to all fields, not just the military. I feel that feminists these days are degrading themselves by dressing and looking butch rather than flaunting their beautiful attributes as a woman. It’s not just the military itself that has this issue but in the workplace in general. Society creates this stigma that because a women is a strong independent CEO at a company she must act and be like “the man.” It’s insulting to women yet they chose to act this way. Its a very backwards double standard if you ask me. I firmly believe that society needs to hold the same expectations for a man and a women. Like Christina Carlson stated above, women have the ability to have children and men don’t, but that certainly doesn’t mean that a man cant care for a child. Men biologically are built stronger but that doesn’t mean that a woman can’t fight on the front lines.

    1. I agree with you Tibet Azar, women should not have to act “like Men” in order to get the same job as a man or to be in the front lines. It is very insulting to ask anyone to have to change how they are for something, especially when it has nothing to do with the outcome. Men and women do have biological differences but every human is different, some men are stronger, some are weaker, some women might even be stronger than some men depending on their genes and how they take care of themselves. Everybody is different from one another.

      1. The issue goes much deeper than merely addressing the physical strength of males or females. It speaks to the gendered roles men and women hold in society. There is an expectation that men and women perform certain behaviors. When men and women go outside their predetermined expected behaviors, problems are created. Unfortunately, this reality is nothing new. Women are indeed capable of doing the jobs men can do. They can build muscle and train their bodies in ways that allow them to do everything men can. The problem is whether those in society think they should do it or not. The other problem is the lowering of standards for women due to their perceived lower physical capabilities. Those two things are the bigger issues at hand. Society needs to begin to truly see men and women are equals if they wish to do the same jobs. And jobs need to not make things easier for women – equality is equality. If a woman wants to do the job with a man, they BOTH need to do it at the same level. Period.

      2. To a certain extent can women do the same jobs without harm to themselves. Childbirth and motherhood has to be taken into consideration when talking about the differences. Yes, all individuals have their own genetic make-up; however, women can prevent themselves from child birth or rearing the children they have. This is relevant if they are single parents perhaps, fighting on the front lines wouldn’t be as ideal as a man in such a case. This will be more of a disservice. This is the difference between a father on the front lines and a mother. Death or permanent consortium can effect the outcome. Take into consideration ALL biological malfunction and gender roles that can potentially harm that will impact.

  5. While I do completely agree with allowing women into the front lines, the argument of them being “the epitome of masculinity” confounds me.
    Regardless of what individual women may feel about entering the military, those that do want to join the front lines most certainly should get the opportunity. And for their own sake, they should do the same training and undergo the same tests as a man, not because they should be like men, but because expecting less than men from them both insists on stereotypes and puts them in danger.
    Now I understand the idea having to “be more manly” in order to succeed, because a woman would have to get rough, tough, buff, and willing to get dirty. But why exactly is that “manly”? In my opinion, that’s just as much a stereotype as saying wearing makeup, dressing nice, and staying clean is girly.
    I don’t really consider it a “man’s game”, I consider it a soldier’s game. A soldier is going to have to be plenty of traits that may be considered masculine if he/she wants to survive. That being said, there are plenty of men that may not have those traits, and I don’t think of them as not as much of a man. But they wouldn’t be much of a soldier. To name these traits as masculine and assign them to a specific group of people is counter-productive.
    Certain things are expected from soldiers, such as the ability to take a hit and get dirty. I think women should definitely comply with them, because, frankly, they want to be soldiers. However, I don’t think that any such traits make them more manly or less womanly. To assume so only furthers stereotypes on both sides.

  6. While I agree and support that women should be given the chance if they want to be part of the front liners on the battlefield, I think that one of the problems with this idea is that naturally it will bring distraction and drawback for the men soldiers because no matter how physically fit or strong a woman may be, there is this tendency that the men would want to give them this extra attention of trying to protect them and unconsciously always looking out for them in the battle ground thereby causing this divided attention that may be uncalled for unlike when every soldier in the front line is a man it will be all man for himself.

    1. I agree with you pepestico. I feel that in order for there to be true equality, women essentially need to stop playing the victim. I feel that in order to be an honest feminist one must address the issue of a double standard. Women portray themselves as being weaker and more sensitive. What people don’t realize is that the issue that your referring to stems from within the female community. If we as women want to be thought of as strong and independent we need to start acting in this manner. Women now are being depicted and viewed in this light which is a beautiful thing but it needs to be the majority view on women.

      1. While I do agree with you about the issue at hand, women generally “play the victim”, I can’t help but feel the blame is more shared. While women may ask for it at times, many men are often willing to want to protect and look out for them regardless of how the woman acts. It has been practically instinct since the days of chivalry. If the female soldier was to act tough and suggest no need for protection, the men would still be inclined to help out because it is considered a man’s role to do so in society.

        If we want gender equality in this respect, changes have to be made on both sides. Women can’t continue to portray themselves as weak, as you said, but at the same time men have to learn to give them a chance to prove they aren’t. And fighting on the front lines may a great chance to do so.

      2. Yes Tibet and Dustin, in the issue of “play the Victim” and that of double standards, It is easier for women to act like men just because they want to prove they can do it which really a lot of them can but it is not easy for a man to treat a woman as if she were a man as the society will see him as being harsh and insensitive even if they are competing for the same thing.
        Also, even if I agree that women should always be given the opportunity to prove themselves, I do believe that in every field or job, there are roles for women and there are roles for men and also there are roles that both sexes can fit in so I also suggest that women should stop “playing the victim” and try to focus more on roles that are more feminine in their every day life so that society will continue to treat them with according respect that they deserve.

  7. Women are equally strong as men are, the differences between the two sexes in the military is not just based on discrimination but also on the issue of overall performance. The issue with women being in the front lines is biological but not in the sense that is portrayed by the author of the article. The biological issue is men are by nature more gravitational towards an injured female instead of a fellow male. In combat that would create a disparity on who needs the help more based on severity of injury, by nature men would jump to help a female regardless of her injury instead of helping a fellow male that might have worst injuries. In order to eliminate this problem there should be an all-female combat unit. The problem is the majority of combat forces are male and that would expand the problem, the effects of the micro on the macro and vice versa.

    1. I don’t know if I would consider that a biological issue. Of course, most men would be quicker to help a woman in need than another man, but is that rooted in our DNA? In my opinion, it’s much more of a social issue. Men are socialized to help the weaker, and women throughout the ages have been considered the weaker of the two. Obviously the fact we don’t allow women on the front lines only insists on that, and the only way to change is to resocialize. If women are put in the front lines, through the same training as men, it could be assumed the military would attend to that and teach the soldiers a priority of defending and helping that has nothing to do with biological differences. And while women are out there proving they can hold their own, hopefully it would result in the beginning of the end to gender discrimination and considering someone helpless and weak because they happen to be a woman.

    2. I agree with Mario when he says that men are more inclined to protect women then other men in the front lines and that that is the major conflict with having women in the front lines, rather or not it is a biological trait or one that society has created is a good question. I believe it may be more of a socialized trait like Dustin said. As far as having an all female combat team on the front lines, well that makes me wonder if the soldiers on the female combat team would be able to use the fact that they are female as a strength against their enemies, because they would be males and may not want to kill female.

      1. I think it is both biological and social. While men tending towards helping women over men in combat is a social issue that would be incredibly hard to change, if not impossible. It is the fact that women aren’t held to the same fitness standards as men passively prevents them from fully filling a combat role. Men are held to a higher fitness standard and are usually more adept in combat than women. Don’t forget to take into account the amount of physical strength and endurance used while in combat. Dragging someone else with all their gear is no easy task. And in response to an all female combat team, it would not be a good idea, at least not in our current conflicts. Afghan culture would not accept females as being an acceptable representative to talk to on missions. They would want to speak to a male, even if they are lower ranking. We do have Female Engagement Teams that will go out into the local environment and talk with the females for more information, but those teams will do only that. They will not do things like Key Leader Engagements, where a group of soldiers will meet with a town or tribe leader to make agreements, stop attacks, gain information on upcoming events, etc. These KLEs are essential to most missions that take place on a regular basis. Females have their places in the military, but frontline firefights are not one of them.

    3. I understand what you mean by this because I never thought of it that way, that a man would go to women because we appear to look more hurt than a man would and it could cause a lot of deaths on a macro level. Because you might not see some one that is dying because they are helping a woman that is just a little hurt.

  8. Just from a Devil’s advocate prospective. Actually the presumption that women are equal isn’t technically accurate, although on a humane level, women should be treated equally. Women are genetically weaker than men and when engaging in rooms of testosterone dominate Homo sapiens you will naturally be looked as being “the weakest link” because you are the minority. The problem isn’t men’s perspective; the problem is the women attempting to desire the same rights as men when it’s convenient for them but when it’s inconvenience want to act in a nice feminine role. An example, women fought for equal rights which entail the service of our country when demanded. However, whenever the discussion of the “draft” women automatic assume that males will pick up the torch. Equality is not a given right, it’s an earned right that will not be appreciated until women actually take it more serious and set themselves equal in every aspect not just when it’s convenient. Anything worth having is worth defending and fighting for, other minorities had to based there stance against injustice and inequality the same way. To date, African Americans and gays are dealing with working twice as hard to be “accepted”. What makes women so special that we are exempt from this principle? Stop exploiting sex and promote intellect and competence and maybe the world will take the average “American Woman” for more than a common bimbo. Stand against the media depiction of women, it simple, EARN the right to equality, don’t just complain about it.

  9. Although I agree that women should be awarded the opportunity to take part in the combat aspect of the military, there are some facts I believe should be considered. As a communications support in the United States Army, I have seen my fair share of discrimination against women all over. Men generally think they are superior to women in the military for one simple reason, the standards are different for men and women. Take the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) for example. In order to pass the APFT any soldier needs to meet a minimum score of 180. This score is based off of the number of push-ups and sit-ups they can do, as well as the time it takes them to run two miles. According to the APFT standard scoring charts, women need to accomplish substantially less than men on this test. Take the push-up requirements for example. In order to meet the minimum score (60 points), men need to complete forty-two push-ups with good form and execution. Women, on the other hand, need to complete only nineteen push-ups with good form and execution. Granted, the amount of push-ups someone can do does not make them a good soldier alone, and I have seen female soldiers accomplish this task many times, but it is the simple fact that the standard is different for the two genders. A man would be discharged from the Army with a push-up score of nineteen.I see female soldiers, as well as male soldiers, all of the time, who struggle with just passing their APFT altogether. If I was in a combat situation, I would want each and every soldier by my side held to the same standard as I was, to be able to do whatever I could do, regardless of their gender. It is not that I believe women are inferior, I simply cannot put all of my trust, while in a combat zone, to anyone who cannot meet the same standard as me. We are all soldiers with that uniform on. Until we can all be held to the same general standard, I do not think that anyone is ready for an integrated combat field.

  10. I agree with the article that women are just as “Battle ready” as men are. I believe that one of the reasons we do not see more women in the military is because of that ” Dont ask, dont tell” policy. Women in the military are subjected to mistreatment and are constantly being sexually harassed and sexually assaulted by other military members including high ranking officers. If there was actually a fair policy, maybe more female officers we would see the rise in women joining the military

  11. I for one; have plenty of female friends in the military. The problem does not lie within the question are women capable or not it completely lies within what society expects them to do, and joining the military let alone being on the front lines sadly and simply is not socially accepted by society as a job for a female for a number of reasons that stem back hundreds of years. I am thankful that today woman are allowed and have the option to choose to join the military if they want to, however, i do think society has a long way to go in terms of accepting it as an equal job opportunity for men and women.

  12. While I think women should be involved in the military, I do not think they should be put on the front lines. I don’t think that women are a physically able to do this as men. Women can be just as strong as men and can hold their own, but I think men are more prepared for the job of being front lines of the military than women. But, I don’t think that in order for a women to move up in the military she should have to alter herself to be more like a man. In the article it said that some women are ready to join the army, so why should she have to change herself if she’s already prepared? I’m not saying that men are stronger than women, but for this issue I think the men are more capable for the job of being front lines in the military.

  13. I feel that anyone that wants to help should be allowed to do so. While I think it would lying to say that a male and female at prime physical levels can do the same things, I know that a woman in terrific shape can do anything a man in shape can do. Most of these soldiers aren’t as strong and etc. as they could be (they are in conditioned well but not at their max levels) anyways so there is a good chance a woman might be able to do even more than some of them. As long as those tests previously above mentioned are equal and not different I see no reason to object.

  14. Equality should always be the main goal in any situation. In this situation of women in the front lines, we see a perfect example. Women should never be turned down just because of their gender. It makes me sick to think that kind of discrimination still exists in today’s society. If someone is willing to put everything on the line for their country, they should be allowed to do so.
    However, I have some issues with this idea. When women were allowed to become firefighters, they lowered the standards for how much one can lift and their ability to save the injured in a fire. I feel this would happen again an it is not a good thing. If someone wants to be a firefighter, they must be able to keep up with the already set standards. In life and death situations, having someone who cant do the job is dangerous and completely backwards. There are plenty of women who can surpass the current standard. If a man can not complete training he should not be allowed to fight. The same thing should go for women.

  15. This article really caught my attention because I never knew that woman weren’t allowed in the front line during a war. I always assumed that they were allowed but just maybe had to pass a certain physical or some type of shooting test to be allowed to. But yeah it’s not fair that a woman that is fully capable of doing something that a man can do should not be able to participate in. We have improved a lot on our equalities here in the United States to not be letting woman in our front lines if they are fully voluntary and capable of being part of it.

    1. There a few things that are stopping this equality from happening. One is that the fitness standards for men and women and drastically different and unfair. The PT test is much easier for a women to pass than it is for a man. This is one of the roots of the problem and would need to change in order for this to even be plausible.You must also take into consideration all of the females in the military. Changing the standards for one will change it for all and a lot of the females who would not be able to meet the new standards would be discharged from the military, even if they do their jobs very well. Another is that there are social issues that can occur inside units with both male and female. Relationships often form and can interfere with the combat effectiveness of said units. If a soldier is distracted by fighting within their own units how can they effectively fight the enemy?

  16. I work in what we would call a “man’s work place.” my job is a very physical job that some people just are not up to the task. But there are women that do work for me and some of them are my best employees completely beating some of the men in a physical job, so this is a difficult topic to take a side on. You can’t have a 100 pound girl whose carrying up to 50 pounds of gear plus a gun and other things. You couldn’t trust her in the field to keep up, and without trust your as good as dead out in the open like that. But in some cases like I said, I know women that can easily out beat men in almost any competition.Someone like that yes I would trust to have my back out there. that’s why this is a difficult to subject to decide on.

    1. The weight of gear thing is a big issue and I’m glad you see it. You are correct that while some women can do it, a lot cannot. The weight of all that gear is heavier than one might think. I have known a couple women myself who could fill combat roles very well, but there are other problems in allowing that restriction to be lifted. It’s a very difficult problem to solve to make everyone happy. Maybe it can’t be solved. Maybe the way it is now is the only way it can work. But until things are changed, this is the only way we know that works.

  17. Although we would like to get away from the past gender discriminations, it is obvious that there are biological differences. However, this goes far beyond the battle of who’s stronger. There are women who are more masculine than some men, as well as some men who are more feminine than some women. The preconceived idea that all men are masculine and all women are feminine is what’s stopping the military from putting females on the front line. Is the military really looking out for the women’s safety? Sure. But, it could also make their military forces look more feminine, and therefore “weaker”. I think the RIGHT thing to do would be to test every single man and woman mentally, physically, and emotionally if they can handle being on the front line. But the EASY thing is to exclude women.

  18. I have personal experience in this topic as I am a member of the U.S. Army. I agree with having male only combat roles for a couple of reasons. The first is that while there are some women who can meet the same standards of PT as men, PT does not account for the extra stress or difficulty in moving a downed fellow soldier in combat. For example, I am six feet tall and weigh 195lbs. With a full combat load, including armor, ammo, weapons, and other mission essential gear, I weigh over 250lbs. Dragging someone my size or bigger out of a firefight to safer cover is a task that a frontline soldier may have to execute and is very hard to do depending on the size of the person being dragged or moved. Because of this, it is more effective statistically as well as easier to maintain a standard Army-wide if the soldiers in these combat units are all male. The other reason is that the battlefield is no place for a relationship. I’m not saying that a relationship will happen but if one does, it will have detrimental effects. A relationship would detract from the mission at hand being completed, which is the ultimate goal. Having relationship issues within tight-knit, frontline units will create problems internally and damage the cohesiveness of said unit, hindering their combat effectiveness. If you are not combat effective, you cannot fight. If you cannot fight, you cannot complete your mission.

    1. While I agree to a point with regard to the relationship side of things, I have to say that if a person, man or woman, can do the job at the same level as anyone else (without lowering the standard) then it should not matter is it is a male or female.

      1. I agree with you. But in this instance, the standard has already been lowered for females in regards to physical fitness. The U.S. Army’s Physical Fitness Test, or APFT, is meant to test muscle endurance while passively testing strength relative to the persons’ body weight. It does not support a women-friendly combat role because of the standards that are currently set. Women can pass by doing drastically fewer push ups (42 for men and 19 for women in the 17-21 age bracket) and run times for the two mile run are minutes slower (15:54 for men vs. 18:54 for women in the 17-21 age bracket). Unless this is changed so that combat units have different requirements or that the test standards are changed altogether, I don’t see how there can be a true, single standard. And if there cannot be a single standard for both men and women then the role must default to males for the simple fact that since they are held to a higher standard of fitness, therefore they are more likely to be fit for combat fitness-wise.

      2. I totally agree with you Steve H. I believe the standards should never have been dropped. When differential testing exists, we can only continue the discrimination and inequities that have existed for eons. Reality is, if a person wants to do a job, they should be able to do the job, not 3/4 of the job.

  19. I completely agree with everything in this. If a woman is capable of doing every other task in the work field, why is she not able to be front-line? If a woman is worthy of proving herself capable, just as a man would do, she should be able to be front of the line combat. Women have fought for their rights for years and though we have overcome several obstacles, just like many other issues, it is still far from being over. I do understand that not as many woman are interested in achieving this level, but to the ones that are and make it that far, they should be given the privilege and honor of defending our country.

    1. The problem that stops this from happening is there is no regulation for those select few and an under the table exceptions cannot and should not be made. Other things need to change in the military before this can happen the right way. There are also other problems that will arise if this change is allowed (like relationships causing problems with combat effectiveness), which must also be predicted and dealt with accordingly before women are allowed on the front lines. Also take into consideration that social issues in the civilian world are not always the same as in the military lifestyle. They are completely different environments. All of these thing must carefully be considered before such a drastic change in doctrine is made.

  20. I feel that the only reason why its like this is because men just have that feeling that they are the most dominant of the sexes. Another reason could be that they don’t want women to do jobs that could get them killed that women should be safe and the men do the hard work. I honestly think that women should be able to do what men do if they can keep up with the expectations with no special treatments. I see that if women were to do that then both sides would be on the same footing. Its just and opinion.

  21. If a women is capable to do a job better than or as good as a man she should deserve that position. I don’t think people should be sexist towards another gender. We are all humans and we are all capable of doing something, gender should not be a deciding role.

  22. I agree with this article because in the army some men do still see women as a weaker sex, mentally and physically. In the movie G.I Jane I didn’t even notice at first that she did have to become more of a man to fit in and show them all that can do the same thing they can, but now that I notice it I that she should have tried to still be a women because it would have had more of in impacted on all of the men that doubted her. I still do believe that she should shaved her head so in combat not would grab like they did in the beginning of the movie. When she didn’t talk about and they kept beating her that showed that she was stronger mentally than the other guys. What I am trying to say is that, that should become a rule that women cannot go into combat just because of gender.

  23. I would like to start off by saying that I am not feminist, I am in equal rights advocate; I do not believe that society owes women anything. With that being said, I agree with the message that the article is sending. The role for a military front line position should look at all of the candidates, men and women, and make an educated decision based on each person’s qualification. After this movement is taken into order, a woman should not get the job just because she is a woman, she should get the job if her qualifications trump all other candidates. If we want to stop discrimination against women, we must stop using it as a factor. Do not consider that element at all and we will accomplish great things. Giving an application to a higher power blindly (without including gender) will give all parties equal opportunities and will protect a man from being told that he “only got it because he is a man” and protect a woman from being told that she “only got the job because they feel the need to hire woman in response to this feminist movement”.

  24. The benefits of empowering women and granting them equality are almost painfully obvious. One needs only look to history to see that when women are empowered, regional stability increases, along with a multitude of other positive changes. There is no reason that an equally capable women in the work place should be making any percentage lower in her pay grade than her male comrades. There are specific instances in which the obvious physical limitations of women should play a role, for example in being allowed to participate in the infantry, however, in corporate America, there is no reason for inequality and it should not be tolerated.

  25. Women in today’s society are treated equally, to an extent. I feel that women today are expected to have an education and a reliable job, something that was not common back in the 1950s. SO women have obviously stepped up in the world. Women’s Rights have most definitely improved from the past, however, I also find myself reading articles on how women want to be treated equally. I as a women feel I am treated with respect from people who matter to me, I don’t feel that people look down on me because I am a woman. Anyways, there will always be things that women can’t necessarily do, while there are things men can’t necessarily do, like curl hair for instance. When it comes to the military I believe women have a right to join, but I feel they need to be able to pass the same requirements as men, I mean that’s as fair as it gets. I am familiar with the requirements some branches of the military desire, and women have less requirement goals as the men. Women are required longer running mile than the men, they are allowed to do less pull ups in a minute, and so forth. So whenever I hear something about women having the right to be a part of the military as a way equality, I feel that the equality measurements for the requirements. Especially if women are trying to be a part of war combat jobs.

  26. I agree with you Brian H and here is the reason why. For one me being a women I know the pedestal woman have been put on for having to play the “feminine” role and having to obtain that image of being a house wife or a girly girl. Women back then were not treated as equal as men, as of today it has gotten much better and the equality of women’s rights has increased. Regarding the statement of women being in the army I do agree because as a women you are looked as being lesser than a man and that has to change. We fought for women’s rights back then so why even take away anything that can make a women feel less then a man. We are human too.

  27. I agree with you Brian H and here is why. For one me being a woman I agree with this post because women in my opinion are still being put on a pedestal on being lesser then a man. I feel as if a woman can prove herself to be able to perform the tasks required there shouldn’t be any restriction. Just like a man should prove himself a woman should be able to also. Women back then had to obtain this image of just being a house or portraying a girly girl image and there’s certain things men could do but women couldn’t due to the reason of a man being stronger physically and mentally which is unfair. Inequality should never be tolerated. We fought for women’s rights so why even take away anything that can make a women feel less.

  28. Having been in the military, I have seen women take different roles in their career. I have seen women who are trying to prove something to someone, women who are looking for a change in their life, or just looking for a husband. Either way, they go through boot camp with men, doing the same things we do. They wake up, eat, and sleep at the same time we do. After boot camp, they go to tech training and work everyday just like we did. As far a being on the front lines, I don’t care if you’re male or female, as long as you watch my back, and we both come home alive, that’s all that is important.

  29. There are different opinions on whether women should or shouldn’t be allowed on the front line, and the truth of the matter is, if they are physically equipped and trained properly, then why wouldn’t they be able to? Being a woman I find it frustrating to know that I am considered to be less of a person just because of my sex. If you got my back then i’ll have yours. If men and women go through the same training then why shouldn’t they be able to complete the same tasks? Everyone goes into the military for different reasons, but one thing is common, to fight for our country and to give the residents of the country freedom. Why make a solider any less or any more of a person based on their sex?

    1. I completely agree with you Lizet. A woman can do anything a man can do, sometimes even more and vice versa. If a woman wants to go into front line combat or any military she should be allowed too. Fighting for our country can’t be solely be placed on the mans shoulders, or the honor that comes with it. Sex is not what you should be judged on when committing to the military.

      1. Thanks Abby! Sadly some people find women incapable of fighting on the front line. Which really sucks, you go through all this hard work and for what? You’re pushed aside and seen as “fragile” and not allowed to do what you set out to do in the first place. That really discourages women, affects them more than they actually think and makes a lot question their self worth.

  30. I think having women in the military right next to men is a great idea. Even though women might not be as strong compared to males we can be more agile and can fit in places men might not be able to. Women should be allowed to fight right next to men. We have earned the freedom in everything else wht is stopping us form this?

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