Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Women in Combat

There's been a lot of talk in the news lately about female soldiers for a variety of reasons:

1) Women being allowed to fight on the front lines
2) Sexual assault claims
3) Special forces opening to women

I'm only talking about 1 and 3, although 2 plays its part.

Women in America have been pushing for a long time to be allowed to fight on the front lines and to try out for the Special Forces.

Think about that for a second.

To be allowed.

I don't know how to explain how wrong this issue is any better than that. Who is anyone to tell a grown woman that she can't fight for her country in the capacity she's capable of? We're told that "Americans do not want their women hunting and killing the enemy". Well sorry, nameless and faceless Americans, but I don't care what you want.

The main argument against fully integrating (yeah, these arguments always look so good later on in history, huh?) women into the armed forces comes from plaintive cries of WHY DON'T YOU REALIZE WOMEN'S PHYSIOLOGY IS DIFFERENT, THEY ARE WEEEEAAAAAKKKK. And it is absolutely true that a majority of women have different capabilities than men.

Were you listening? I said *different*.

See, what usually happens during the passionate spiels by men about how it simply does not make biological sense for women to be allowed (allowed) in combat, is at some point they will slip and say something like, "War is brutal and bloody. It's no place for women." and, "This isn't Women's Rights 101 for the feminazis". At which point I stop having any respect for their point of view, because it is clearly coming from a place of agenda. And the agenda is to deny the basic right of autonomy to 51% of the population in order to keep the status quo in place.

If these hand-wringers were actually worried about the optimal utilization of female soldiers instead of WE CAN'T LET THE WIMMENS JUST DO WHATEVER THEY WANT GAWD DO YOU KNOW HOW HARRRRD IT WILL BE FOR US TO DEAL WITH, they would be begging The Powers That Be not for restrictions on female soldiers, but to apply brainpower to finding the best use for female soldiers.

Because while most women are not physically capable in the same way as men, not all men are huge hulking brutes easily capable of tossing a 250 pound fallen comrade over their shoulder on the way out of a firefight. There are variations in build amongst men, and the military has shockingly seemed capable of adapting to use all these different men in the best possible way.

Fully integrating female soldiers into the military does require more serious thought - but not about whether we should do it. Women are not nails, and dear old Judeo-Christian patriarchy is not a hammer. Good leadership utilizes its assets by understanding the strengths of its individuals. If the military is unable to use female soldiers effectively, it's not the fault of female soldiers - it's the fault of shoddy leadership.


  1. I think the best way to integrate women into combat roles is for leadership to realize the importance of training the male mind to view women as fully functioning, combat-ready entities.

    So long as men in combat will irrationally risk an entire unit to save a woman comrade who had been abducted, the military will remain weak in readiness. It is not the women who are weak in this regard, it is our men in uniform who are instinctively trained to protect women and children.

    Until this mentality is addressed, women will be left out for the better security of the forces. At least that's always been what I understood the biggest issue to be, because you're right, there are women fully capable of physically outperforming some men, who by nature of their gender, get a pass to join.

    1. That's a very interesting point. I was under the impression that this was more a fear than an actual reality of combat - I haven't heard of any cases where this has caused huge issues from soldiers acting against orders individually.

      It *is* a huge systemic problem in the military itself, which tends to send guard troops along with female soldiers (eg. the Israeli Lionesses). That kind of behavior is, as you say, indicative of an unwillingness to view women as fully functioning combat-ready entities.

  2. And this is why my YA features a girl who goes to war and dies in combat. Because hdhfghdbgiwsjhtbfhgbdjk.

  3. Hmm, shows how much I pay attention to the real world. I didn't realize women still weren't allowed in special forces. I must watch too much Avatar. I always put my characters on equal footing, regardless of gender, though I admit, a lot of times the women kick more butt than the men. Lol!