Sunday, January 15, 2006

As I long suspected ...

Turns out if you stop telling them what they can do and just get out of the way, you find out what women can actually do. (via Instapundit) I had my doubts about the whole "women are inherently weaker than men, even when they are a foot taller and more muscular" argument since college, where I had a good (male) friend in Army ROTC. I could bench-press his scrawny ass and tie him in a pretzel without breaking a sweat, and I freely admit to being out of shape at the time. So ... why was *I* the one who couldn't handle the Rigors of Combat(tm)?

Not to say they won't find some actual differences, but I am glad to see that researchers are casting suspicious glances on the tired old bromides. They used to think women shouldn't study math because the blood would leave the uterus and go to the brain instead. Yes, really. I can assure you (math minor) that is not the case. So now I look forward to studies where they compare the physical abilities of similar-sized men and women. I'm suspecting that a lot of the differences will fade. And they will fade over time as well, as women discover it's fun to be strong.


Blogger John of Argghhh! said...


"Women definitely have a place in the military," she said. "But we should look at men and women differently."

But we aren't allowed to, now are we?

I've commanded mixed units. There are other studies that suggest that yes, woman can be as strong as men, but it takes more, and specialized, training to get there and keep it there.

I would rather look at military jobs (and the performance of women in OIF and OEF) to figure out what who does well, and what who does not, and set standards that are essentially gender-non-specific for those jobs.

I'd also like to see some real, useful, studies done on the issues of the sexes living as they do now, to see what the pluses and minuses are, so we can make some informed judgements.

But I *don't* want PC-driven studies that lead to fore-ordained conclusions (or are stifled because they don't) anymore than I want bromide-driven policy.

For example, on the issues of gays in the service, I think the "let 'em serve, and serve openly crowd" are too dismissive of hetero discomfort over the issue of *knowing* the guy next door is scoping me out. Most responses to that (such as Uncle Jimbo's chorus at Blackfive) seem to basically fall back to "If you feel uncomfortable nude in front of people who find you potentially a sex object then it's you who have the problem, you bigot, and should either get over it or not be allowed to serve" - at least for males, though I haven't found many who say that we should go so far as to be completely unisex. Somehow, woman keep getting allowed to feel uncomfortable in front of men... but somehow the same sense of discomfort on the part of male hetero's is just bigotry.

Of course, that's a different subject... 8^)

12:11 PM, January 15, 2006  
Anonymous billt said...

Or, to phrase the argument more bluntly, when you crawl out of your foxhole at o'dark thirty to attend to a bodily function, you want to be reasonably sure that your (gender immaterial) buddy is focusing on the baddies and not on your anatomy.

7:11 PM, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Snarkatron said...

I appreciate your perspectives, really, and I know they are derived from experience. So are mine ;-) First they said women in college would "just distract men" (guilty, but we still managed to survive as a civilization), then it was women's delicate constitutions couldn't handle the rigor of voting/doing medicine/flying airplanes/running for public office/being a cop/being an astronaut/taking the fight to the enemy, et cetera ad infinitum. Maybe it's just me but I'm seeing a pattern here. I've been in a "mixed unit" situation too, and it is amazing what you can get accustomed to if a framework of discipline and respect is present. No double standards. Set the requirements, and let ability sort out the rest.

8:04 PM, January 19, 2006  
Anonymous BillT said...

Hmmm. It appears that at least one Swede agrees with you:

12:35 PM, January 20, 2006  
Anonymous MCPO Airdale said...

Snarkatron -
Nice officer's perspective. Come on down on the deckplates where the muscle meet the mission.

Through no fault of their own, the majority of women can't carry as many tie-down chains, load bombs/missles, throw a fuel hose, or shore up a failing bulkhead.

Having said that, I'm fairly sure that most can fire an M-16, track a bogie on a radar screen or pilot a rib boat.

It isn't women in the military that I object to, it's woman in the wrong career fields.

9:30 AM, January 21, 2006  
Blogger BostonMaggie said...

I love how these discussions (women in the military or homosexuals in the military) always have someone commenting about being ogled in the shower or head or some such. Do men actually, truly imagine that every gay man and every women, given the chance is dying to get a look? It's the silliest thing I have ever heard! Not every gay man wants every man they see. Do you want every woman who crosses your path? Of course, I must add the caveat that *I* will always look.

10:15 AM, January 21, 2006  
Blogger Barb said...

Airdale - I believe the concern about women who can't "carry as many tie-down chains, load bombs/missles, throw a fuel hose, or shore up a failing bulkhead" is covered by "Set the requirements, and let ability sort out the rest". If people are getting into jobs they shouldn't and aren't qualified physically to perform, that's the fault of the job attributes/requirements setting folks. If the job description says the troop should be able to haul 50 pounds of tie-down chains, then a woman who can do it (along with the rest of the reqs) should have a chance to prove herself in the job.

Bill - I respect your opinion, so I'll ask you to consider the choice of sharing your foxhole with either a highly motivated and well-trained female sharp shooter -or- a not-as-great shot male troop, potty breaks notwithstanding. Not to mention that twit (gender immaterial) who is dumb enough to care about what your anatomy looks like when there are baddies to look for prolly didn't survive the run to the foxhole in the first place!

11:04 AM, January 21, 2006  
Blogger Snarkatron said...

MCPO Airdale: Officer, shmofficer. I've been doing hard work and heavy lifting since I was a wee bairn, and it hasn't stopped since. I come from a long line of peasant women who occasionally had to pull the plow if the winter had been unkind to the family ox, and I look like it ;-) Come on, lad, broaden your horizons (oo! a pun!) There are honest-to-god women out there who don't just sit around filing their nails. Check out the crowbar in the post below. *I* wore the paint off that sucker, I bought it new. I'm sure there are men in the service who also can't handle the heavy lifting you mention but they aren't excluded from even trying -- are they?

Barb: thanks for watching my six!

12:11 PM, January 21, 2006  
Anonymous MCPO Airdale said...

Snarkatron - You are correct. It is the standards setting folks (not a First Class Petty Officer among them). Those folks, along with the PC police, keep ensuring that we get 5 foot nothing, 97 pound female ABFs that can barely lift a fuel nozzle, let alone drag it, and the hose, across the deck.

I *have* met the few, exceptional woman who can do these types of tasks and do not begrudge them their positions. Having said that, the DACOWITS nazis and their ilk continue to interject woman into jobs they are unfit to handle.

When you truly measure requirements and stop making those reuirements "gender neutral" (less stringent), I'll start broadening my horizons.

Welcome to my world!

3:39 PM, January 21, 2006  
Anonymous billt said...

Barb - Problem is, I don't *get* to choose who I'm in the firing pit with. Ummm--either you or BCR volunteering?
Mmmmpf. Prolly not. You already know the reason for the 27" zipper...

Maggie - I'll take any ogling I can get--but not under tactical conditions.

10:23 PM, January 21, 2006  

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