Right Side: The War Over Women
If An American Citizen, Man Or Woman, Wants To Serve This Country In A Role Of Their Choice, They Should Be Able To Pursue That Noble Goal. However, Concerns Over Performance And Unit Cohesion Are Real.
A few months ago I posted a picture of bathrooms in the Atlanta airport. Some photographers are smitten with sunsets or fields of golden flowers. I have photos of airport bathrooms donning the walls in our home. The picture showed the men's and women's bathrooms, side by side, yet delineated by pink lighting above the women's and blue above the men's. While a conventional color scheme by any standard, I commented that this would be a thing of the past because it would one day be deemed as blatantly suppressive of gender roles.
Yes, a few others mocked the comment as well. But as I see what is happening overseas, specifically in Nordic countries, with the determined task of erasing gender roles, driven by the tingling of cultural enlightenment, the creeping temptation to do the same is lapping at our shores. We see this in the case of the Golden Urinal at Gloucester High School, where a female student who identifies as male has won the favor of courts to use the male restroom that was previously only visited by those who were physically male. Plumbing used to match the plumbing. We see this in new federal regulations (which have the force of law; an article unto itself) that compel school systems to allow students to use whatever bathroom suits their gender decision, rather than their chromosomes.
We are jumping, not stepping, toward the end result: that differences are divisive while oneness is diverse. The separating of humans by gender roles is the new bigotry. To point out the obvious, whether statistically or visually, is to shackle one with limitations. We must be free to decide our own course, nature be damned, for humans at this point should be able to have dominion over nature itself, right?
Which brings us to the meat (a terribly sexist innuendo) of this article, which is whether women should serve in the military, or specifically, whether women should be in front line units or in special forces. If that question is posed to different age groups, I have no doubt that those north of say, 50, would probably voice something like, "What kind of nation would send its mothers, daughters and sisters off to war?" While there are a few exceptions, most of history is replete with the common thread of women at home, men at war. The United States has been no different, barring the past decade or so. If you ask the same question to those south of 50, the answer usually is, "If they can do the job, they should get the job." Fair enough but only to a point.
The Pentagon has demanded that all branches of our military figure out a way to open its ranks to combat roles for women, including special forces. There have been a few successes so far within the Army Rangers, but the progress is slow elsewhere. The main concern is that women can't physically meet the demands that are put on men to lift, hoist, drag, pull and a bunch of other stuff that's really bad for your back. The other concern I hear often is that men will abrogate their duties in order to save or protect a female, which is yet to be proven en masse on the battlefield. There certainly is the issue of women being captured, then tortured or raped. While reprehensible, I have a hard time finding that violent act worse than the Japanese cutting off Americans’ genitals and putting them in the dead soldier's mouth just to send a message (a common tactic in the Philippines in the early 1900s). Among the sillier arguments are the concerns over menstruation and the fretting over women screaming too loudly when they get hurt, which is loudly laughed at by gynecologists around the world.
While I sympathize with the sentiment that if an American citizen, man or woman, wants to serve this country in a role of their choice, they should be able to pursue that noble goal, concerns over performance and unit cohesion are real. It's plausible those concerns could be alieved through training, exposure and experience. But there are inescapable truths that cannot be suppressed in a PT test or congressional testimony. The male and female body are not the same, nor will they ever be, despite what you may see on Bravo. There is a reason we have sports separated by gender. With few exceptions, men are stronger and faster than women. It has often been observed that even women who are at the top of their sports field would fare poorly against men near the bottom of theirs. With that said, I see women at the gym every day who are studs and would give many of the men there a run for their testosterone money. But those aren't the guys who are going through BUDS or any of the other special forces training regimens. Further, front line duties, say door bangers in Iraq, or those hoisting artillery shells, demand a strength that stems from muscle mass that women naturally do not have.
Are there some women who may be able to keep up, or even outpace, some men in the most demanding jobs our military has to offer? I have no doubt. But moving forward, we should all demand that while we may now accept equal access, we must resist the push for equal outcomes. Standards that are designed to forcibly weed people out should in no way be lowered as acknowledgement that women don't have the same upper body strength or can't carry same the kit, etc. These requirements are not arbitrary. They are in place to find and field the best, which is what we demand tour after tour of those we send overseas.
The only thing that matters is the effectiveness of the United States military. Effectiveness should be blind to feelings, diversity initiatives and concerns of bathrooms. Pardon me, I mean heads.