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Women in combat

Women in Combat Military Women

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#21 Rhea

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 05:14 PM

Godeskian, on May 13 2003, 06:45 AM, said:

Ah, but how do you get past a society that has rejected the very notion of putting them in harms way for so long.

Lynch has proved that a great many people still feel that's the right way to do things
I guess they'll just have to get over themselves. It's learned behavior. It can be unlearned, and should be.

Women who want to serve and are able to do so should certainly be allowed to.
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#22 ElJay

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 05:26 PM

Well, I guess it's time for a female veteran to weigh in on this one.  No, I never saw combat myself -- I was support troop in Germany during the last gulf war; half the unit stayed on station, half went to the gulf -- BUT although my career field was "non-combat" I was trained as part of a Base Emergency Engineering Force; that means that when the spit hit the fan, my unit would be sent into combat zones to build landing strips and bases, not to mention patching up said landing strips after enemy attacks.  On field maneuvers, I was part of a fire team, designated as an automatic rifleman.  All of this occured during the 80's while the ban on women in combat was still firmly in place.  If my base came under attack, I would have been in the thick of things; defending my team-mates, then helping to get the base infrastructure up and running again so that we could strike back.  Later, I was also trained as a nuclear/biological/chemical warfare decontamination troop.  

I took great pride in being very good at all of those things!  I knew that if it ever came down to it, my performance could save (or COST) the lives of other people, not just myself.
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#23 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 06:14 PM

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StarDust: Women are just as tough, probably tougher.

To play devilís advocated for a second; It depends on what role you are talking about.  Women on average make better pilots and have a higher tolerance for g-loads than males.  Then take a role like handling large artillery shells and I doubt you could find large percentage females who are going to be able to lug large artillery shells around for an extended period.  That is more based on biology and muscle mass then anything else.  

If you are going to have both genders in the military you have to continue to pick roles based on the physical capacity of the person to do it.
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#24 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 06:47 PM

I agree with CJ Aegis on this one.

Last year the MoD published its report into the performance and suitability of women in close-combat roles. Out of of 2,367 female recruits attempting to join the Army in a 12 month period only 62 met the requirements for entry to the Combat Arms had they been eligible and wished to apply. Further it was found that less than 1% of women can match the average strength of a man.

If they meet the requirements, by all means, but men and women are significantly different creatures. ;)

EDIT: On the very low chance that anyone is interested, the MoD report can be found here: http://www.mod.uk/issues/women_af.htm

Edited by Talkie Toaster, 13 May 2003 - 06:48 PM.

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#25 ElJay

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 08:05 PM

To be trained in my career field (552X2 - Metal Fabricator) I had to be able to lift 70 pounds over my head.  I was 4' 11.5" tall and weighed a whopping 120 lbs at that time. Strength and muscle mass are, like so many other things, very individual traits.
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#26 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 08:20 PM

ElJay, on May 13 2003, 05:52 PM, said:

To be trained in my career field (552X2 - Metal Fabricator) I had to be able to lift 70 pounds over my head.  I was 4' 11.5" tall and weighed a whopping 120 lbs at that time. Strength and muscle mass are, like so many other things, very individual traits.
Well I think that goes with the case that Talkie Toaster and I are trying to make.  Some women can do those roles but not a majority of them or even a large number.  You need to see that a person can meet the qualifications rather than relaxing them to let them in.
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#27 Kosh

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 08:48 PM

CJ AEGIS, on May 13 2003, 01:07 PM, said:

ElJay, on May 13 2003, 05:52 PM, said:

To be trained in my career field (552X2 - Metal Fabricator) I had to be able to lift 70 pounds over my head.† I was 4' 11.5" tall and weighed a whopping 120 lbs at that time. Strength and muscle mass are, like so many other things, very individual traits.
Well I think that goes with the case that Talkie Toaster and I are trying to make.  Some women can do those roles but not a majority of them or even a large number.  You need to see that a person can meet the qualifications rather than relaxing them to let them in.


Anyone could do almost all of them if they were in shape to do them, as they should be coming out of boot camp.






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Edited by Kosh, 13 May 2003 - 08:49 PM.

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#28 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 09:05 PM

Kosh, on May 13 2003, 06:35 PM, said:

Anyone could do almost all of them if they were in shape to do them, as they should be coming out of boot camp.
From the MoD report:

Quote

Men and women exhibit similar gains in fitness as a result of training, but women may not have the same overall capacity. In part this is due to a lower capacity for increasing muscle bulk because of lower levels of testosterone. Differences between men and women are less among trained soldiers than among recruits, with women narrowing the gap in levels of aerobic fitness...

A review of female recruits entering the Army in 1999 showed that if current selection standards were applied retrospectively, only 0.1% of those applying would have reached the standard for entry to the Infantry or RAC. Of trained female soldiers, 1% would reach the standard.

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#29 Ro-Astarte

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 09:06 PM

CJ AEGIS, on May 13 2003, 01:07 PM, said:

Well I think that goes with the case that Talkie Toaster and I are trying to make.  Some women can do those roles but not a majority of them or even a large number.  You need to see that a person can meet the qualifications rather than relaxing them to let them in.
But that is not a gender specific qualification.

Plenty of men can't meet it either.

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#30 Norville

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 09:44 PM

Interesting discussion here; excuse my long post. ;) I know a few people here think I'm a clueless pacifist because I was getting into my Quaker influence in wartime -- too bad. I've also been unlike many of the women I tend to meet (who tend to be horrified and uncomprehending that I don't just read romances and women's fiction), in that I've studied war in attempts to better understand the reasons for it. I realize that it's human nature and we're never going to overcome it... but some of us can try. Oh well.

Anyway... at some points in my life, I was interested in the idea of serving my country in a military sense. I was raised in a rather odd way, I guess -- sort of, oh, you're female; that's no problem; go do what suits you in life. I wasn't raised so that my only use would be as a wife and breeder (sorry, mother). That didn't exactly prepare me for the contempt and sometimes total hatred I'd get from some simply because I'm female and think for myself. When I figured out how often men complain about having to serve with women, because they're a dangerous distraction, I guess that was instructive enough to prevent me from trying it, because I could find better things to do with my life than be around people who didn't want me there.

However, those women who want to do it... why shouldn't they be allowed to serve their country? What, only men should be allowed to do that? Whenever men start in on how dangerous military service is, that it's the men's duty to protect the women, I think, okay, so you're basically saying that you're cannon fodder, that a man's natural evolutionary role is to be killed, and your life doesn't mean as much as that of women? And you're also saying that "country" is only a concept that should matter to men, that women "shouldn't bother their pretty little heads" about it?

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Why is the life of a father of less value? If I were a man, I'd be pissed.

Exactly. As someone who's never been interested in having children, I even have a problem with the utter obsession that women are natural mothers and should be nothing else. In one way, motherhood is obsessively exalted; but it's also treated with contempt -- consider the medical profession and how it used to say (and maybe still does) that whatever's wrong with a baby is the mother's fault. (That's the treatment my mother got when she was trying to help me survive as a baby.) That's another subject, but it does tie in to all this mess.

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Why don't I hear anyone bemoaning the deaths of male soldiers who had small children at home? Why not mourn the men who left behind pregnant wives and feel sympathy for the children who will never know their fathers?

Indeed. The deaths of husbands is also unfortunate because women may not be able to find someone else willing to help them (or their kids, if they have them). I hear a lot about "the surrendered wife" (letting the man do everything and never interfering because it might hurt his ego), but it's good to learn something just in case you find yourself on your own and having to care for kids. (I know that there were women who'd never done their own finances who lost husbands on 9/11 and were completely helpless. I don't know about you, but I think that expecting your partner to be useless in protecting herself simply because she's female is really wrong.)


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To say that we are less capable or willing to defend our country, or fight for our country, is ridiculous.

I've found it offensive. Despite certain people trying to call me unAmerican for some of my views, I've been quite a nationalist at some times of my life (seemed to be strongest at 12 and teen years), and *wanted* to serve my country. I'd certainly work to defend it in such a case as invasion.

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There's something wrong with a society that thinks the minority has to protect the majority, or that the minority is more capable of protecting the majority, or that the majority not only doesn't need to learn to protect itself but shouldn't be allowed to.

*snort* The concept that women don't need to learn to protect themselves... yeah, right. Maybe men are natural predators and consider women to be natural prey, and therefore, prey shouldn't protect itself? Good grief...


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Please remember that this isnít just any job, fighting is protecting your country and the lives of people you love. In some countries this isnít as direct and obvious as in others, but patriotism is still an issue. Telling women that their country doesnít need their help, that all the patriotic propaganda is for men, is more than jut not hiring them to a job. Itís humiliating. It doesnít matter what your view of militarism is, they have the right to have the same stupid drams men their age have.

I agree entirely. I was deeply offended to realize that most people felt my help wasn't required because I happened to be born female.

Something that interested me in this war was noting the reaction of a submariner online -- while a lot of submariners are total pains about the idea of women serving (they'll do anything to keep women off their boats), this guy's Native American, and his eulogy for Lori Piestewa was that she was "a warrior mother" who'd "protected the children and the old ones" as a warrior should. (I wonder how many men freaked out when he said that...)


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Women on average make better pilots and have a higher tolerance for g-loads than males. Then take a role like handling large artillery shells and I doubt you could find large percentage females who are going to be able to lug large artillery shells around for an extended period. That is more based on biology and muscle mass then anything else.
If you are going to have both genders in the military you have to continue to pick roles based on the physical capacity of the person to do it.

That's always made sense to me. Assign people to what they can do. (I realize that it's probably more politically correct than that in practice... I tend to be more practical than PC quota-minded, though.)


Quote

Strength and muscle mass are, like so many other things, very individual traits.

Indeed. I'm often much more out of shape than I should be, but have no objection to lifting boxes at work. (I wonder what I could do if I bothered to get into shape... I might surprise myself. ;) ) While my body is complaining a bit (my knees are feeling some strain lately), I've always been stronger than I (at about 5'2") look; I've helped carry incredibly heavy bookcases up steep flights of stairs. I tended to panic when helping to carry Christmas trees down flights of stairs, but that was because I feared damaging them by breaking branches or causing them to lose all their needles. :lol:

BTW, with that whole "strength" thing, consider the cultures in which women do the hard work that men consider to be beneath them. (It's in our culture, too. Housework is women's work, not men's, and some of it is pretty physical.) Strength ain't a problem when it's slave-like work, just when it comes to "real man" sort of work, like military service? Yuck... :Oo:
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#31 Rhea

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 09:52 PM

Talkie Toaster, on May 13 2003, 09:34 AM, said:

I agree with CJ Aegis on this one.

Last year the MoD published its report into the performance and suitability of women in close-combat roles. Out of of 2,367 female recruits attempting to join the Army in a 12 month period only 62 met the requirements for entry to the Combat Arms had they been eligible and wished to apply. Further it was found that less than 1% of women can match the average strength of a man.

If they meet the requirements, by all means, but men and women are significantly different creatures. ;)

EDIT: On the very low chance that anyone is interested, the MoD report can be found here: http://www.mod.uk/issues/women_af.htm
Actually, that report says women are currently doing many combat tasks formerly done by men and doing them well. What they were specifically addressing was *front line combat* and some of the reservations about putting women into front line combat are societal rather than physical (and yes, some are physical). One example given was a fear that a cohesive combat unit couldn't be formed in a mixed-sex squad, although they were of the opinion that same-sex squads might work. :p :p
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#32 Kosh

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 10:16 PM

Talkie Toaster, on May 13 2003, 01:52 PM, said:

Kosh, on May 13 2003, 06:35 PM, said:

Anyone could do almost all of them if they were in shape to do them, as they should be coming out of boot camp.
From the MoD report:

Quote

Men and women exhibit similar gains in fitness as a result of training, but women may not have the same overall capacity. In part this is due to a lower capacity for increasing muscle bulk because of lower levels of testosterone. Differences between men and women are less among trained soldiers than among recruits, with women narrowing the gap in levels of aerobic fitness...

A review of female recruits entering the Army in 1999 showed that if current selection standards were applied retrospectively, only 0.1% of those applying would have reached the standard for entry to the Infantry or RAC. Of trained female soldiers, 1% would reach the standard.
It is difficult for me to believe that there is a job in the military, that a woman couldn't do, with the right training and conditioning. Men are born with a phyiscal advantage, when it comes to combat and combat training, but if a woman went in in good shape, and came out of bot camp in even better shape, what job would they not able to do?
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#33 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 10:30 PM

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Norville: while a lot of submariners are total pains about the idea of women serving (they'll do anything to keep women off their boats),

I was just waiting for this one to come up and it is a mess to deal with.  

Submarines are a pain to integrate because of the size restrictions and the current accommodations onboard them.  They arenít exactly the roomiest things out there or prone too much in the way of privacy.  Youíd be dealing with a major redesign of submarines in order to allow for the type of accommodations you have on surface ships.  Either way if you try for that type of integration you are looking at having to reduce the war fighting capability of the boats or having to build significantly larger boats, which are less capable than a single gender crewed boat (that doesnít have the extra facilities onboard) of the same size.  Space is at a premium in the sewer pipe that is a submarineÖ    

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Kosh: Men are born with a phyiscal advantage, when it comes to combat and combat training, but if a woman went in in good shape, and came out of bot camp in even better shape, what job would they not able to do?

Some can do it but many canít as noted by the report Talkie Toaster posted.  Part of the issue is that they pick up muscle mass at a much slower rate than males.  During boot camp they are starting at a disadvantage compared to many males and that is further amplified by the fact that pick up less muscle mass during boot camp.  As for my big concerns when it comes to physical activities where I can see some problems artillery is always one that comes to mind (shells in the 100 lb range).

So if they can meet the same basic strength qualifications that males have then let females into those roles but if they donít then no lowering standards.
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#34 Laoise

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 10:54 PM

Why can't they just make the standards and let anyone who can match them serve on the front lines?  I'm a frail, arthritic, and short woman, and I can still life 100 pounds of dead weight with no training -- can't hold it for long, but I can do it.  Most people can learn if they're determined enough to.

Gender doesn't need to be brought into this.  It would be silly to let a man who can't lift the necessary amount of weight serve just because most men can, and it's just as silly to say a woman can't do it because most women can't.
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#35 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 10:56 PM

Rhea, on May 13 2003, 07:39 PM, said:

Actually, that report says women are currently doing many combat tasks formerly done by men and doing them well. What they were specifically addressing was *front line combat* and some of the reservations about putting women into front line combat are societal rather than physical (and yes, some are physical). 
I thought that this thread was about putting women in front line combat. If its about flying a desk, I've sevearly misread the first post! :p

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One example given was a fear that a cohesive combat unit couldn't be formed in a mixed-sex squad, although they were of the opinion that same-sex squads might work. :p :p

Several interesting points were raised, I thought. I do agree that some women do have the necessary ability to serve at the front line (in the same way that not all men would be up to the job); but I also think that gender is not an artificial construct.

Edited by Talkie Toaster, 13 May 2003 - 10:57 PM.

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#36 G1223

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 10:57 PM

Rhea, on May 13 2003, 03:01 PM, said:

Godeskian, on May 13 2003, 06:45 AM, said:

Ah, but how do you get past a society that has rejected the very notion of putting them in harms way for so long.

Lynch has proved that a great many people still feel that's the right way to do things
I guess they'll just have to get over themselves. It's learned behavior. It can be unlearned, and should be.

Women who want to serve and are able to do so should certainly be allowed to.
Yes it's learned behavior 10,000 yrs of it we should be able to unlearn it in what 5 maybe 10 min's
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#37 usmarox

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 11:09 PM

I'd go with what's been said so far, for the most part.  The one thing I am totally, utterly against is separate standards.  Believe it or not, male and female BPFA pass scores are different, which, to me, seems wrong.  If a woman can do her job - which means all aspects of it - as well as a man, then fair play, let her do it.  But in 2 years in the Army reserve, I haven't seen that much evidence that that is the case.  Now I only have anecdotal evidence for this, but women are not the physical equals of men.  That's not the same as saying they're not as good as, but when I end up carrying two weapons and two bergens because J. Random Female can't hack it, it makes me wonder what's going on.  Especially when one considers the fact that, at the time, I'd actually failed my last fitness test.  If I'm not good enough for the Army, then why am I carrying a bergen for someone who is?
I'll grant you, that's an isolated incident.  But it's one that highlights the futility of trying to "compensate" for differing male and female biology by rigging the fitness standards.  I recall a conversation I had with a troop commander at Larkhill, and he genuinely tried his hardest to avoid female gun crews.  Was he sexist?  I don't think so.  For any length of fire mission, a woman simply isn't as good at throwing shells around.  Now, you can do the political correctness thing and let them in if you like, but try and see it from a military perspective.  The infantry 10 miles downrange are counting on x number of shells being delivered per minute for their protection.  Again, this is anecdotal, unfortunately, but a gun with female crew does not provide the specified rate of fire.
So what, exactly, is the point I'm making?  Women in the forces.  Wonderful idea.  But absolute, iron-adherent non-sex-linked fitness standards for each MOS are required.  Hell, if I wanted to be perverse I could probably argue that I'm being discriminated against because I'm male, but I won't.  I'm not even going to try and address the psychological stuff, because I don't feel qualifed to comment.  FWIW, though, the women in my unit are, for want of a better way of putting it, "honourary men".  I'll leave it there, because what I've already written will probably bring down the wrath of the PC crowd anyway.
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#38 Ro-Astarte

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 11:20 PM

G1223, on May 13 2003, 03:44 PM, said:

Yes it's learned behavior 10,000 yrs of it we should be able to unlearn it in what 5 maybe 10 min's
Given the amount of male on female violence that occurs on a day to day basis, I don't think that lesson's been learned nearly as thoroughly as you think.

If it were, rape would be far less frequent than it is and domestic violence would not even be a minute issue.

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#39 eryn

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 11:34 PM

Random note: A theory in Anthropology as to why men are in combat moreso then women is because men are expendable. (Sorry guys ;)) If you think about it, you only need a couple of males to procreate the species, but you'd need many females to carry the children.

*Ahem* Now that that random note is finished. (And please don't assume that I believe this theory, thanks) :p

If a woman so chooses to be in a military role, she should be allowed to. However, my view is that both men and women should be held to the same standards when being tested.

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#40 Enmar

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Posted 13 May 2003 - 11:45 PM

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Gode: Ah, but how do you get past a society that has rejected the very notion of putting them in harms way for so long.

I have a secret for you: many people still think that kids should be physically punished, women should stay at home and gays are sick and dangerous. Theyíll get used to it at the end and theyíll get used to women in combat.

Quote

CJ: To play devilís advocated for a second; It depends on what role you are talking about. Women on average make better pilots and have a higher tolerance for g-loads than males. Then take a role like handling large artillery shells and I doubt you could find large percentage females who are going to be able to lug large artillery shells around for an extended period. That is more based on biology and muscle mass then anything else.

Artillery:  Canons are more and more automatic these days and even if they arenít theyíre still operated by a team, not a single person that has to carry everything. I think well trained women can be a part of such a team. Inside tanks, on the other hand, shells are about half the size of canon shells and smaller body can make maneuvering inside the tank to load them much easier.

Quote

Talkie Toaster: EDIT: On the very low chance that anyone is interested, the MoD report can be found here: http://www.mod.uk/issues/women_af.htm

Wow! Thanks :)


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CJ: Some can do it but many canít as noted by the report Talkie Toaster posted. Part of the issue is that they pick up muscle mass at a much slower rate than males.

IIRC there are two problems with this claim:
1. Training programs were designed for men and other programs, designed for them, might prove more effective for women. This isnít fair because it takes men as default and helps prove women canít do itÖ itís a cyclic proof.
2. Muscle mass isnít everything. Again, IIRC, womenís muscles are more effective when theyíre the same size as menís.

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G1223: Yes it's learned behavior 10,000 yrs of it we should be able to unlearn it in what 5 maybe 10 min's

HumÖ I donít know about you but I donít have genetic memory. And during the last 10,000 years there were many women that fought. It's like assuming women canít learn math because they havenít done so during some centuries and  they have a gap to bridge.

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Usmarox: So what, exactly, is the point I'm making? Women in the forces. Wonderful idea. But absolute, iron-adherent non-sex-linked fitness standards for each MOS are required.

:thumbs-up:

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Hell, if I wanted to be perverse I could probably argue that I'm being discriminated against because I'm male, but I won't.

Thatís a good point, be my guest. I hated it when it happened to me as a soldier. The men in my unit thought I was crazy when I tried to insist on having the same standards and the women were angry because they were comfortable with things as they were. The people in chargeÖ I guess they just got used to me as a comic relief

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I'm not even going to try and address the psychological stuff, because I don't feel qualifed to comment. FWIW, though, the women in my unit are, for want of a better way of putting it, "honourary men". I'll leave it there, because what I've already written will probably bring down the wrath of the PC crowd anyway.

:we donít seem to have a thumbs-down smilie:

I donít like "honourary men" or variations on it. It isnít cute, its about good=men and there's no other way to pronounce your appreciation, call me PC crowd if you want to, but please consider this. PC is sometimes tedious, but public opinion shifts slowly and it is an important tool to protect the people that donít get the respect they deserve. It helps all of us, even when weíre theoretically convinced, to internalize the knowledge.

Edited: What's wrong with my quotes? :eek: :(

Edit by AutoRov: I took the liberty of fixing your broken tag.

Edited: Thanks :) :blush:

Edited by Enmar, 14 May 2003 - 03:40 PM.

Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Women in Combat, Military, Women

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