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?
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.
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.)
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.
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...
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...)
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.)
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.
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...