On Gender
Politics

 

Women In War


The latest Iraqi war has re-ignited debate about women in the military. Should they be in combat, or there at all? It highlights the continuing contradictions and moral struggles in the sound-good ideal, gender equality.

During peacetime, feminists demanded equal opportunity in the military. Progressively, they got it, even for most combat duty. But they got it by concessions like different height and fitness standards. To be equal, women were special.

When confronted with Jessica Lynch’s capture and the death of a mother, Lori Piestewa , suddenly more women than men were crying, “Not that equal.” Conservatives threatened to be prove right.

On one hand, a Baltimore Sun article published at the beginning of the war chronicles Emily Hummel who’s dream had always been the Air Force

It was shattered when the special operations unit she craved was still designated all male. The article’s message was clear: same old male oppression.

But once pictures of female POWs appeared, every call-in show was full of – mostly women – decrying a mother or women in harm’s way. Not a father in harms way, who, according to all studies is just as important to their children. Only mothers. Sounds a little sexist.

The best (or worst) was a woman interviewed on MSNBC. She wanted the military to reflect society (be 54% women), but not let those women near "harm’s way,” only provide support.

Ah, what does she think the military is? She wants it both ways: feminist equality.

The anchor didn’t have the courage to ask the obvious question. “Are you saying women should return to the kitchen and only supports men’s efforts, or that only meaningless men should be used as cannon fodder?” Feminist self-contradiction.

The morality, sacrifice-men-and-save-women, is an instinct for species survival. One man can impregnate many women, but each women can only get pregnant every ten months. Women are precious here. The question has long been, what role should this play in a 21st century industrialized society in which I haven’t seen a sabertooth tiger for months? Species survival is not an issue now. Shouldn’t women pull their own weight, or only have opportunities and not their incumbent sacrifice? Why should men still take all the brunt?

For feminists, equal opportunity in a peacetime army never included the draft. I have a friend who believes that gender affirmative action can only be first in the draft. He’d like to see 27 million female bodies pile up before one more poor guy has to sacrifice his life serving his country. That would be gender equality.

I don’t strictly agree but keep the argument handy in case some feminist gets annoying.

What do I think? I think two things. We will have problems with this so long as when, confronted with differences, we can only seek superiority, so deny that what has always made men and women equal are our differences. Second, what happened to individual choice?

Today’s US military is 15% female (not 54%). I think that will be a high-water mark for generations because women today feel pressure to prove they’re “just like men.” In reality, men and women simply have different interests.

But if any man or women wants whatever position in the military and are qualified, it should be open to them irrespective of gender, race, etc.

Jessica Lynch is a hero to me, despite what she may now be saying.

She’s a firecracker and selfless, just right for the military. Not all women are so inclined, but those that are should be welcome.

Not all men are so inclined, either, so mind very carefully what I am saying. Women being different need not mean special, nor mean oppression for men. If a man does not want to be a warrior, he should have the exact same right of choice. There should be no draft at all.

©2007, KC Wilson

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To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons. - Marilyn French

 

 K.C. Wilson is a social commentator and author of Where's Daddy? The Mythologies Behind Custody-Access-Support, and the e-books: Male Nurturing, Co-parenting for Everyone, The Multiple Scandals of Child Support, and Delusions of Violence: The Secrets Behind Domestic Violence Myths. For his personal life, he prefers anonymity. He writes as a nobody, for he is not your ordinary divorce expert with the usual credentials. He is not a lawyer or psychologist, he is not now nor has he ever been a member of the Divorce Industry. K.C. is simply a thinker and researcher, for the issues are not legal, but human, social and common to all. When change is indicated, should we turn to those that the very status quo which is to be questioned has promoted to "expert?" Society's structures are up to society, not a select few. So his writing is for and about you, the ordinary person. K.C. prefers to be known as simply one himself, and that is how he writes. Find out more at wheres-daddy.com

 



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