William Thien

On the Subject of Women in Combat

Posted on: June 14, 2012

Yesterday on talk radio the host brought up the subject of “Women in Combat.” Apparently the matter is up for review somewhere in The US Military Force Structure and once again open for public debate.

The various talking points we have all heard again and again came up such as the fact that women have less upper body strength as well as the various distinctions between male and female anatomy which make men more suitable for combat. Callers were asked to chime in and of all the women who telephoned not one supported the idea of women in combat. Female military veterans who called did not even support women in combat. The wives of military men did not support women in combat. It was clearly unanimous. Women, all of the callers agreed, should not see combat.

Primarily all of the rationale supporting the position that women should not see combat were based on the distinction between the male and female anatomy.
Contrary to all of my experience working with women in the military which would lead me to believe that there would not be a problem gradually introducing women into combat roles, the mere question as to whether women would be able to perform their roles without sacrificing the safety of their fellow soldiers is still an issue.

And even though it really, truly is an issue, and even though female veterans themselves or the wives of soldiers don’t apparently believe women should see combat, I am not certain I myself am in agreement with all of them on the matter.

I do agree with all of them, though, that women should not see combat. I agree with all of them, except that I agree with all of them for an entirely different reason.

The reason I don’t believe women should see combat is entirely different than all of the other reasons we hear so frequently. I myself believe women should not see combat due to our social values and perhaps even a natural order that we have in place which provides protection not only to our women but to our children.

Women birth and raise our children. Women and our families hold a special place behind a protective social barrier in our society which is why even though laws have been created that say we should treat women equally in the work place and the real world, we still hold the door for them from time to time and push their chair in or stand when they get up from the table. We offer to carry heavy items for them. We do this because of our nature, because of a natural order, because we know it is not good for a pregnant woman to be carrying heavy objects, for example, or to be doing certain physical tasks. It is not because we think men are better than women. Anyone who is raising that issue is just making trouble.

When you erase all of those distinctions between men and women by putting women in combat, all of those social norms and behaviors that we use when interacting with women in public by putting women in combat, still believing men are better at combat, when you do that you erase all of the social protections we provide our women and even our children.

The argument could be made that since the addition of laws that say men and women should be treated equally in the work place and society in general, you could say there has been a corresponding increase in violence against women. Men treat men differently than men treat women. Men fight each other. They do all sorts of things to each other that we don’t want done to women. Do we really want to see an increase in such behaviors to women? It will happen as we move one big step closer to totally erasing the social distinctions between men and women by putting women in combat.

Putting women in combat does in fact make men and women equal in a way, yet it also destroys that natural, social order, that protective social barrier which our society provides for our women and children to exist within. Therein, ladies and gentlemen, lies the real danger in putting women in combat.

As it appears to be unanimously believed even by women themselves, putting women in combat may not be the best idea for the soldiers due to the anatomical differences between men and women, putting women in combat is simply not good for the society we live in. That is the real danger of putting women in combat and why I do not believe women should see combat.

The physical differences between men and women are the minor distinctions between men and women when it comes to the argument of whether or not women should see combat. The social differences are the major distinctions.

Copyright © William Thien 2012

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