Friday, May 20, 2005

Women Barred from the Battlefield, part 2

On the subject of the bill I blogged about here, the mainstream media outlets have started picking up this story ... or at least bringing it more to the forefront. CNN discusses this atrocious proposal here. Since this story broke, I've been wondering whether or not a single backer of the policy is willing to elucidate for the general viewing public exactly what it is about women in the battlefield that worries them so. Is it that women are too weak and unable to wield a firearm? Is it the same "troop morale thing" that demanded the implementation of the ridiculous Don't Ask Don't Tell policy? Or is it some puritannical bullshit about women being childbearers? Have any of the supporters of this bill been willing to actually put into words the true sexism of this piece of legislation? Unfortunately not. Supposedly, women in the battlefield is such a "common sense" kind of issue that no politician is actually willing to give us a logical rationale behind the proposal -- apparently it's okay to take a crap on women's rights as long as no one says that's what they're actually doing. The closest I've found to a politician actually saying why they're barring women (and thereby saying men are more deserving of frontline death) is this:

"Many Americans feel that women in combat or combat support positions is not a bridge we want to cross at this point," said Rep. John McHugh, R-New York, who sponsored the amendment.
"Not a bridge we want to cross?" What bridge is that? The bridge to real institutionalized gender equality? A bridge to realizing that women really are as good as men, and shouldn't be, let alone need to be, catered or coddled by the government for their childcarrying abilities or whatever it is? Sure, it might seem nice to have fewer women being killed in combat, but this is only a marker for acceptance of a larger stratified sexist society -- if we say it's okay for women to be legally prevented from serving on the front lines, how can we even hope to have a gender-equal society when those female troops come home from battle? Update: Amanda at Pandagon has a pretty interesting debate on this going on. UpdateII: Thanks to young from the comments section for posting this link to a telling forum where there's a healthy discussion of women in combat between male and female soldiers of the US army. Gotta love this email that member cowgirlamy got and re-posted:
You're correct Jessica, it is a different Army and it's not for the better. I served in Vietnam in the 101st Airborne Division (as a paratrooper-not today's "leg" Air Assault soldier-that do not deserve to wear the "Airborne tab") and I'm darned glad that no female was my partner. Like it or not, you were made the weaker gender and your social expierement just keeps males soldiers dying to appease womens ego's. Men and women are indeed "equal" but "different" and perhaps one day you will recognize and celebrate that fact. Nevertheless, thank you for your service to our country. I give you credit for being a good American but political correctness just costs lives unnecessarily. (emphasis added)
Yeah -- that's the kind of attitude that we're talking about... exactly how that can be allowed in a supposedly "gender equal" society is beyond me? The emailer does a great job of pointing out exactly how sexist and disgusting this bill really is.


Anonymous Young said...


Here's a forum where military women are arguing the point of being allowed in infantry units. Thought you might be interested.

5/20/2005 04:31:00 PM  

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