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 Lynchs 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 whos dream had always been the Air Force
It was shattered when the special operations unit she craved was still designated all male. The articles 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 harms 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 "harms way, only provide support.
Ah, what does she think the military is? She wants it both ways: feminist equality.
The anchor didnt have the courage to ask the obvious question. Are you saying women should return to the kitchen and only supports mens 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 havent seen a sabertooth tiger for months? Species survival is not an issue now. Shouldnt 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. Hed 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 dont 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?
Todays 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 theyre 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.
Shes 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
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