To the surprise of everyone in the world, the decision to lift the ban on women in combat has been met with a lot of resistance. Of all the political issues, I really thought this one would go over without a hitch….Anyway, here are a few quick thoughts on the matter.
Most of the backlash has been centered on the idea that allowing women in combat will “lower the standards” of physical strength required to serve in the military.
First of all, the lifting of this ban was more of a formality than anything. Women are already directly involved in combat situations, they just haven’t been formally recognized as doing so until now. In a war where there are no front lines, you are going to be involved in dangerous combat situations whether it is officially recognized or not.
Second of all, women are not all alike in terms of physicality, and neither are men for that matter. On average, women are shorter and weigh less than men, this is true. There is also a lot of overlap in terms of physical strength, height, weight, etc. between men and women. This does not mean that no woman has the right physical qualifications to meet military standards. No one ever said anything about lowering standards anyway, so I don’t know why people are jumping to this as an argument.
All that being said, I do think it’s too bad that women have to accept this ban lift as a small victory. To me it seems a little like women are just being let into a boy’s club which is so prone to masculine ideologies in the first place, and no matter what a woman’s physicality she will never be compared as equal to her male counterparts simply because she is not a man.
Interestingly, similar arguments were made against allowing blacks to serve in the military, and allowing gays to serve openly. The fact is that while society’s ideas about gender, race, and sexuality have changed a great deal over time, the military mindset of what it means to be a good soldier has become antiquated. It’s unfortunate that a lot of people are more concerned with who should be allowed to serve in our wars rather than whether we should be involved in those wars in the first place.