Friday Feminist Fuck You: The U.S. Army

…for awarding a female soldier a Silver Star for heroic acts, and then removing her from combat because she’s a woman.

And just a note, something I didn’t mention in the video, I think it’s possible to oppose both the Iraq war and the Army’s ban on women in combat. Yes, I believe women like Pfc. Monica Brown should be allowed to serve alongside men in combat situations. No, I don’t support the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Samhita said it really well two years ago:

I don’t know how to write about this issue without first saying that I hate the military, I don’t support the war in Iraq at all, and the US government allowing women and people of color to advance in the military is strategic(ally fucked) and not in *any* way indicative of an actual commitment on behalf of our leading patriarchs to advance the peoples. But these women claim to still be facing obstacles as they are clearly performing well (in gunning down Iraqis) but still not advancing in their positions.
See the military isn’t any good for anything.

Along those lines, when we talk about issues of women in the U.S. military, it’s important to keep in mind that they aren’t the only women in combat zones –and to talk about the effects of war on female civilians.
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90 Comments

  1. more.joy.less.shame
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    I would recommend everyone read the Washington Post article linked to at the top of this blog. Very informative and pro-Pfc. Brown.

  2. Posted May 2, 2008 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    This is an argument I think we don’t see enough, and I’m getting a little tired of the “Shut up! We’re at war!” line. While I’m personally very critical of our military actions (and expenditures), I still think that those who want to serve should be given every opportunity–even if they’re women, or queer.

  3. hungerheadache
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    the video clip that accompanies the Washington Post article was interesting too. Thanks for posting about this, I didn’t know about this policy until recently, I’m definitely going to check into whether Canada has the same stance.

  4. Qi
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t say “I hate the military”. The military has no choice but to go where the President orders them to go. Rank-and-file members do not get say. There was a survey done by an army magazine a few years ago which found that more veterans were against this war than any other previous war. There was another poll done by Zogby in 2006 which found overwhelming opposition among multiple branches for the length of the mission:
    An overwhelming majority of 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and more than one in four say the troops should leave immediately, a new Le Moyne College/Zogby International survey shows.
    The poll, conducted in conjunction with Le Moyne College’s Center for Peace and Global Studies, showed that 29% of the respondents, serving in various branches of the armed forces, said the U.S. should leave Iraq “immediately,� while another 22% said they should leave in the next six months. Another 21% said troops should be out between six and 12 months, while 23% said they should stay “as long as they are needed.�

    http://www.zogby.com/NEWS/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1075
    Obviously, Samhita was trying to say that she hated people in the military rather than what it is doing as a collective body, but blanket statements like that could easily be misinterpreted and used as ammunition against feminists.

  5. Qi
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, that should have read, obviously she was trying to say that she hated what it was doing as a collective body rather than people in it.

  6. Carrie
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    The thing that strikes me oddly with the Washington Post article is that a platoon leader describes her as “was one of the guys, mixing it up, clearing rooms, doing everything that anybody else was doing.” From what I have heard, the strongest part of a military unit is the teamwork. It’s the importance of trusting one’s fellow soldier…the bonding that is created in training seems the most important part of the unit’s success.
    To pull one member out, who has been commended by the highest military honor for bravery, seems counterproductive.

  7. Nora
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t the justification for keeping women out of combat that women will distract and potentially endanger the men? From the testimony of Pfc. Brown’s peers, it doesn’t sound like they felt distracted or endangered by her presence – in fact, they commended her as a valued member of their unit. It’s too bad that Army officials insist on clinging to biased and unsubstantiated views of women instead of listening to the stories of the men and women who are working together and risking their lives for one another and for their country. From the sounds of it, the only men who wanted Pfc. Brown out are men who hadn’t met her and weren’t working alongside her.

  8. Nora
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    And actually (thinking more about what I just posted above), why is it so problematic to think of men being motivated to do unadvisable things to protect or save a female compatriot? Throwing one’s body over the bodies of wounded soldiers through extended and dangerous fire (as Pfc. Brown did) isn’t exactly advisable, but it is 100% heroic. Why does it stop being heroic and start being a problem when it’s a man risking his life to save a woman?

  9. ellestar
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    I always saw the military’s refusal to let women in combat situations as a result of patriarchy. Women are still objects and ideas to be protected by fathers and husbands. Women dying in combat reflects poorly on the men in society who failed to protect them.
    See Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: http://books.google.com/books?id=NEaz8I0KAk4C&dq=elaine+scarry+the+body+at+war&pg=PP1&ots=vk6nChyHr5&sig=Gu0RM2nKIt7NFmjpRz3R6dYSNSI&hl=en&prev=http://www.google.com/search%3Fq%3Delaine%2Bscarry%2Bthe%2Bbody%2Bat%2Bwar%26ie%3Dutf-8%26oe%3Dutf-8%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26client%3Dfirefox-a&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title&cad=one-book-with-thumbnail#PPP1,M1
    However, this is just a fucked up attitude. Women can’t be worth more than men in that losing the lives of women is seen as “worse” than losing the lives of men and at the same time be worth less and not have the opportunities to advance in a career in the military if that is what they have chosen to do.
    It’s so frustrating. Women should be allowed in combat. Maybe if the powers that be had to be concerned at losing both their sons and their daughters on the battlefield, they would think more carefully before starting wars.

  10. FeDhu
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like the military and I have no problems saying so. Just thought I would toss that out there, it’s not really germane to the discussion.
    I think it’s a waste, but if someone wants to join the military and are fully aware of the consequences of doing so, then they should do so, whatever their gender, religion or sexuality.
    People who say women or gays or atheists aren’t suited to combat really need to read up on their history. Women may never have been an organized army the way we recognize, but they have defended many a castle, town, castle and field. On the battlefield, no one is going to stop and ask you what your orientation is and a bullet fired by an atheist will kill just as surely as a one fired by a fundie.

  11. astorianmontyfan
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    There’s a great documentary about women serving in Iraq called Lioness (http://www.lionessthefilm.com/) playing at the Tribeca Film Festival and hopefully more widely available soon.
    According to the film, having women in combat is a violation of U.S. Policy – but it seems that the Army does a lot of tap-dancing around the rule. I don’t recall the exact details, but one of the interviewees said that a conservative member of congress tried to make women in combat an issue (as in, trying to get them out to comply with policy) and was immediately squelched from much higher up in the administration b/c if they lost women in combat they would be screwed in Iraq.
    Although I’m generally not a fan of war, and specifically against this one, I was very inspired by the female soldiers in the film – it’s clear that they are very capable and valuable soldiers – and (imo) that the policy should change so that they can openly serve in combat and be openly acknowledged – without immediately removing them thereafter.
    I just went to the dod.mil website. I think it is annoying that they do not have an obvious “policies here” button. Maybe they are buried deeper in the site?
    (Yes, I’m the woman in astoria who spotted Monty outside the drug store, but this is my first comment).

  12. jen
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    I actually wanted to second Qi’s comment…I’m kind of surprised at the number of posts that say they hate the military/the armed forces. I am not in any way pro-war and I am certainly deeply concerned by the US involvement in Iraq, but I still have great respect for people who are willing to die for their country. As Qi said, they enter the military not knowing what they’re assignment will be but willing to do whatever is necessary. Some of the people closest to me in this world are in the Army (and I come from a very liberal, hard-core democrat family). I can’t imagine anyone saying that they hate them. You can hate their actions, but they’re just following orders. Besides, the US Army has a strong peacekeeping tradition in various parts of the world.
    I do, of course, find it very sad that events like this happen. The reasons women are kept from combat are very archaic. Interestingly, women can serve in the Military Police, which as we all know, receives a great portion of the casualties and deaths in Iraq. So this conflicting ruling appears elsewhere, not just with medics. Additionally, I find it short-sighted to lump the military’s concern with gays and women (I have never heard this anti-atheist sentiment before) together. The military does not have a problem with gays, but let’s face it, in the average platoon in the army, there are 36 men. If even one of them is homophobic, and someone comes out to the group, the platoon could be compromised. I’m not saying this is a good thing, or how things should be, but it’s how things are. I wish that people could be openly gay in the military, but I don’t think our culture is ready to take it.
    I don’t really understand the issue with women in combat. One soldier I know suggested that if he saw a female comrade injured, it would distract him more than if a male counterpart received the same injury. I thought that was interesting, but who knows for sure?

  13. jen
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Just to clarify, I’m not sure how the homophobic vs homosexual issue should be handled in the armed forces. If it were up to me, all men and all women would be equal in the military.

  14. Posted May 2, 2008 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Women have been protecting men emotionally since the beginning of time. Why is it so hard to imagine that we can protect men physically too?
    Loved the video. Bravo.

  15. FeDhu
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Jen, for the atheism angle, a soldier named Jeremy Hall was threatened by his fellow ‘comrades’ because of his atheism and sent home early. Apparently he was also threatened by his commanding officer because he was not ‘holding up the constitution’ and was against what the Founding Fathers wanted for the country. My linking bites, but I’m pretty sure if you google the article name “Soldier Sues Army, says his Atheism led to Threats” you will find the NY Times article. This is only the most recent article, there have been others.
    (The Air Force seems to be the worst about religious fundamentalism, but all the branches get into it, as the article shows.)
    Since I’m an atheist, I tend to watch for stuff like this. :) When I was about to graduate from high school and the recruiting calls started, one of the ways I shut them up was to tell them I was an atheist.
    As for my feelings about the military, let’s just say I don’t buy into yellow-ribbon patriotism and immediately assume everyone in a uniform is an awesome, upstanding person. I don’t respect uniforms, I respect people and just because they are a cop, a firefighter, an elected official, a mother, a writer, an athlete, an actor or what-have-you does not mean they are anything other than a person who has chosen to do a certain job.
    I’ve met soldiers that weren’t worth crap scraped off my shoe and I’ve met soldiers who upheld the spirit as well as the letter of their service.
    I dislike the military as an institution and I do not trust most of the members of said institution, but that does not mean I want them in harm’s way for a pointless war…or even a just war, seeing as how most of the casualties tend to be civilians. It defeats the purpose of ‘freeing’ a country if everyone is dead or maimed.
    Yeah, I’m also a pacifist, so I’m a bit prejudiced.

  16. qwerty
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    I really do think this blog tends to over-simplify complicated issues.
    There are legitimate reasons for keeping women out of the military; chiefly being the issue of sexual harassment.
    As you all know, harassment in the military is a HUGE problem. It embarrasses the military as an institution, and clogs military courts with these kinds of cases.
    Then, there is the issue of pregnancy on Navy boats. There have been cases where due to women leaving on pregancy leave, there have been shortages in personnel on deck.
    It’s simply just so much more practical and easier to have the traditional single-gender system for combat.
    There are other ways to serve your country; and honestly, if you aren’t an officer, the military is really a shitty occupation.
    Oh, and if the military really was so sexist….why would they award this woman for what she did?

  17. SweetLittleSister
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    How can anyone hate the military? This nation wasnt founded via diplomacy and our continued existance is backed up by force when needed.

  18. ellestar
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    There are legitimate reasons for keeping women out of the military; chiefly being the issue of sexual harassment.
    Yeah, so let’s punish women with the inability to further advance their careers (more combat time, the more honors, the faster one goes through the ranks) because of the faults of men. When men sexually harass women in the military, we should punish the men, not the women.
    It would be like telling me that I shouldn’t go out at night after ten because I might be harassed and assaulted. Why should I have to stay at home because men can’t treat me like a human being?
    Then, there is the issue of pregnancy on Navy boats. There have been cases where due to women leaving on pregancy leave, there have been shortages in personnel on deck.
    If women can be flown out to take care of pregnancies, more personnel can be flown in. Punishing all women with lack of advancement in the military for what some women might chose is ridiculous.
    It’s simply just so much more practical and easier to have the traditional single-gender system for combat.
    More practical and easier for whom, exactly?
    There are other ways to serve your country; and honestly, if you aren’t an officer, the military is really a shitty occupation.
    Yet women cannot achieve the rank of officer as easily as men if they don’t have combat experience. People can serve the country in lots of ways. We shouldn’t bar the particular way each person choses they want to serve based on gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.
    Oh, and if the military really was so sexist….why would they award this woman for what she did?
    It’s not the award that makes them sexist. This is a woman who has proved herself in combat. It’s sexist that she shouldn’t be allowed to return there to further protect soldiers (as she has proved herself so capable of doing) if that is what she wants in her life.

  19. SweetLittleSister
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    Maybe the military should be made of a majority of women?

  20. qwerty
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    “Yeah, so let’s punish women with the inability to further advance their careers (more combat time, the more honors, the faster one goes through the ranks) because of the faults of men. When men sexually harass women in the military, we should punish the men, not the women.”
    ————————
    The men ARE punished. Several military officers I know comment on how much of a headache/embarrassment it is to the military.
    Harassment is unfortunate, but unavoidable. Combining men and women will result in it.
    I meant that it would be more practical for the military as a whole.
    And while it is true that pregnant personnel can be replaced; it is still a headache for the military, having to burn fuel and organize flights. The harassment problems applies to Navy boats, too, you know.
    Again, as you said it, “barring” people is unfortunate. But what sounds good on paper doesn’t always fit into real life circumstances.

  21. SweetLittleSister
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    qwerty,
    The solution is simple, let women take over the military. Maybe then we won’t be fighting meaningless wars. You know that women can do anything a man can do (sometimes better) so the defense of our nation will be served as well (or better) with women in command.
    The idea that women should be punished because some men can’t control themselves is ridiculous but if you are convinced that this is a huge problem, then let women take over the military.

  22. qwerty
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    sls,
    The military is the slave of the federal government. Generals obey, and gender has no say in preventing or provoking war.
    And the rank of general is EARNED, not “let”, as you put it.

  23. SweetLittleSister
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 2:46 am | Permalink

    The CIC is also earned but not via warfare.

  24. lyndorr
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Why is hating the military equated with hating the people in it? Do we have to say we hate the part of government that controls the military and the money spent on it? If homophobic people are a problem, how about not letting blatantly homophobic people into the military…or extremely sexist people. Then they wouldn’t have enough people? Giving women and homosexuals more of a chance would give the military more people. I know I simplify but really I can’t believe homophobia is accepted.

  25. Posted May 3, 2008 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    As you all know, harassment in the military is a HUGE problem. It embarrasses the military as an institution, and clogs military courts with these kinds of cases.
    It’s a problem precisely because the military finds plenty of ways, some subtle and some rather blatant, of communicating to male and female servicemembers alike that the military belongs to the men, and that the women are basically fair game.

  26. Posted May 3, 2008 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    An overwhelming majority of 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and more than one in four say the troops should leave immediately, a new Le Moyne College/Zogby International survey shows.
    Which means that full withdrawal within one year is supported by only a slightly smaller proportion of the occupation forces than of the Iraqi population.

  27. Posted May 3, 2008 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    It’s simply just so much more practical and easier to have the traditional single-gender system for combat.
    The traditional faux single-gender system for combat. As much as some are loath to acknwoledge it, women have fought in just about every war in recorded history, whether officially or unofficially. The Soviet Army that was instrumental in bringing down Nazi Germany had women in many combat capacities. Guerrilla forces, partisans, and other resistance groups have often had at least some women fighting alongside the men. There were even a number of women who fought in the War of Independence.
    It’s interesting that so many of the arguments being advanced against the full inclusion of women in the armed services are actually just retreads of the arguments used to justify racially segregating the military.

  28. Alice
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Elise: It’s interesting that so many of the arguments being advanced against the full inclusion of women in the armed services are actually just retreads of the arguments used to justify racially segregating the military.
    A fact which reminds me of an interesting development in the US Civil War: Union soldiers who served with blacks in combat showed truly unprecedented drops in racism. It stands to reason that this would be the case, for is it not said that comrades-in-arms are often closer than brothers? Perhaps full integration would do wonders for soldiers’ sense of sex egalitarianism.
    But, I also wonder at what harm is being caused to that same end by the lowered physical requirements women are held to. That really ought to be done away with as well.

  29. spike the cat
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    “As you all know, harassment in the military is a HUGE problem. …Then, there is the issue of pregnancy on Navy boats… ”
    Actually sexual harassment, assaults and unwanted pregnancies are not limited to interactions within the military.
    Civilian females are the biggest losers here. In fact didn’t I just read the other day about yet another incident in Japan?
    C’mon, where is the logic here, people. You find the common denominator and you deal with that.

  30. spike the cat
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    “But, I also wonder at what harm is being caused to that same end by the lowered physical requirements women are held to. That really ought to be done away with as well.”
    Funny you should mention this, because there is an article on Slate about how the Army is lowering intellectual standards. For example, they are accepting more people who didn’t complete high school and who have achieved low scores on aptitude tests.
    So while on could debate the logic of this choice, clearly lowering standards is not limited to physical requirements for women.
    Also I suspect that as technology continues to advance, at some point physical capacity should become less and less important in the scheme of things.

  31. ellestar
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Harassment is unfortunate, but unavoidable. Combining men and women will result in it.
    Even I, a full-fledged radical feminist, believe that men have the self-control and innate ability to treat women respectfully when they want to.
    Harassment is only unavoidable if you believe that men are animalistic beasts with no internal controls over their behavior. And if that’s truly the case, maybe we shouldn’t then be giving these guys guns.

  32. SweetLittleSister
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I neither hate the military nor the people in it. The military is required for the defense of a nation. Without it, would we all be speaking some other language today? I don’t understand hating the military.
    The lowered standards should be done away with. It is a statement that women are weaker.

  33. qwerty
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    first off, what the CIC? Im curious.
    ——————-
    It’s interesting that so many of the arguments being advanced against the full inclusion of women in the armed services are actually just retreads of the arguments used to justify racially segregating the military.
    —————-
    My argument has to do with sexual harassment. Race plays no role in this; only gender. You’re implying that im racist, which is ridiculous.
    Being a history buff, im well aware of what women have done in history. But I find it ironic that you cited Stalin specifically.
    Stalin was so enraged by Hitler for stabbing him in the back that he would send unarmed men into combat whenever there was a rifle shortage. Stalin was so enraged that he resorted to breaking the single-gender system, the first country to do so.
    Im not saying that women aren’t capable of combat; im arguing they stay out for practical reasons.

  34. Cassie
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    It’s simply just so much more practical and easier to have the traditional single-gender system for combat.
    It would also be so much easier to re-institute single-gender voting. Half the voters, half the paperwork!
    Here’s the problem with this theory – even if you don’t think that women are people, and inherently deserve to be treated equally, even at the expense of increased bureaucracy, it’s extraordinarily dense to think that women can’t do their jobs well. Seriously, check it out – women are doctors and lawyers and engineers and presidents, and they all are just as good as men. So as far as I’m concerned, if we’re going to send people off to possibly be killed, I want the best people sent with them. And sometimes those people are women. It’s truly shocking, but sometimes, the best medic available is a woman, or the best sniper, or oceanographer, or whatever. Apparently, you’d rather put those soldiers at greater risk in the field because you don’t want to be bothered with dealing with sexual harassment, and I, surprisingly, disagree. A great military filled with great people, whether black or female or gay, and a mediocre military is filled with people chosen by arbitrary restrictions, rather than skill or talent. And mediocre militaries get people killed unnecessarily.

  35. allegra
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    LOL @ person who claims the solution to sexual harassment in the military is to just “get rid of” all the women. Hey, I have an even simpler solution: How about the men treat the women like humans and stop sexually harassing them? And how about we stop placing the burden on women to police men’s “naturally” wild, uncontrollable inclinations toward insulting and sexually degrading people?
    Anyway, what a load, all of this. I’ll have to read more about it, but I wouldn’t doubt that another reason the law against women in combat zones is still clinging to life is because of the old biological determinist argument that women are actually physically weaker, and who would want to be in combat with someone who wasn’t strong enough to pick them up and carry them, etc. What would happen if you had to be saved from a burning building and the only person there – a woman – was too “weak” to do it? Bullshit, et al.

  36. SweetLittleSister
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    CIC = Commander in Chief, the President of United States.

  37. sgzax
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Qwerty… you say women should stay out for practical reasons but the reasons you list are all irrational. What’s the real reason you don’t want women in combat? Would it constrain male combatants from doing the raping and pillaging that makes up such a large part of warfare?
    The answer to the problem of harassment is to make it clear that it is unacceptable, punish perpetrators, and don’t persecute women who make reports. The military currently fails on all three fronts. That’s what needs to be fixed.

  38. qwerty
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    This is getting ridiculous. Suffrage and Racism have NOTHING to do with the issue of harassment. None of you are paying attention to what im saying.
    You can keep telling yourself “oh women deserve to be treated like human beings” but the truth is; harassers dont give a shit about what you have to say.
    Again, harassment is unfortunate, but unavoidable.
    Some of you are trying to silence and dismiss me as racist and sexist.
    I DONT DOUBT THAT WOMEN ARE CAPABLE OF DOING WHAT MEN CAN DO.
    There, i’ve bolded it.
    And our military is far from mediocre.

  39. qwerty
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    you say women should stay out for practical reasons but the reasons you list are all irrational. What’s the real reason you don’t want women in combat? Would it constrain male combatants from doing the raping and pillaging that makes up such a large part of warfare?
    ———–
    Again,you’ve disregarded a perfectly legitimate argument. Tell me why it is irrational.
    Women in combat wouldn’t restrain anything. The female prison guards at Abu Ghraib were more than willing to degrade thier inmates.

  40. SweetLittleSister
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    qwerty,
    You do agree that men who sexually harass women should be punished, right?
    Then why keep women out of the military (and/or in combat roles)? You already agreed that women can do the job as well as men so why keep women out?

  41. allegra
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Harassment is unfortunate, but unavoidable. Combining men and women will result in it.
    Your implication that harassment is somehow normal and “unavoidable” in gender-integrated environments is absurd. Harassment is not normal. Men and women live and work together in infinite contexts, and their simply *existing* together does not naturally result in harassment. If I am harassed on my gender-integrated college campus, I do not consider it a natural result of men’s presence there, brush it off, and go about my day. I consider it fucked up, report the perpetrator to law enforcement, and expect him to be punished.
    By this logic, it would make sense to simply lock men up in cages if they’re so unpredictable that women’s very *presence* near them could cause someone – probably a woman – to get hurt, degraded, or violated.
    This is not a result of “men and women being together.” It is a result of an American culture and military culture that normalizes the intertwining of sex and violence and considers women and the feminine inferior and therefore not worthy of the same respect a man would give his male comrades. Once again, this, my friend, is bullshit.

  42. ellestar
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Suffrage and Racism have NOTHING to do with the issue of harassment. None of you are paying attention to what im saying.
    We’re paying attention, it’s just that what you’re saying is wrong and ill-informed.
    The same tropes of “harassment” and “it’s just easier and more practical to keep them out” were used when the military first started racially integrating troops and platoons. It was true that Black men (and other people of color) were mistreated (and still are in some cases, I imagine) after integration. But it was no where near a big a deal as people thought it was going to be.
    Racism and suffrage have everything to do with this argument because you are using the same tired arguments that have been used across time in order to keep people out.
    The fact remains that some women want to serve in combat. They know they may face harassment. However, we should treat them as thinking adults who are weighing the pros of career advancement and pursuing a job they want and love with the cons of harassment (among other things). We are arguing that by prohibiting women from combat based on solely their gender is sexist and wrong.
    You can keep telling yourself “oh women deserve to be treated like human beings” but the truth is; harassers dont give a shit about what you have to say.
    So what? If women are allowed in combat and harassment ensues, punish the harassers. There is a system in place to do so and it should be more utilized.
    Again, harassment is unfortunate, but unavoidable.
    No, it isn’t. Period.
    Some of you are trying to silence and dismiss me as racist and sexist.
    From what I’ve seen, people are trying to point out that the arguments you’re making are the same arguments used by those who kept people from different corners of society based on racial and misogynist biases.
    And disagreeing with you is not trying to “silence” you. You’re putting forth faulty reasoning and we’re calling you on it.

  43. SweetLittleSister
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Here is an interesting question in regards to gender equality in the military.
    Should women also have to register with Selective Service when we turn 18?

  44. Alice
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    The Soviet incorporation of females into their military on such a large scale (for its time) proved to be an extraordinarily successful experiment in feminism, as female combatants served with all the valor and competence that one could hope for, although Soviet society wasn’t actually very quick to take the results to heart after the war ended, unfortunately.
    In particular, the Soviet female snipers Lyudmila Pavlichenko and Nina Lobkovskaya come to mind, each being credited with over 300 kills.

  45. SweetLittleSister
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Using a Communist governments actions probably isn’t the smartest way to get your point across.

  46. Cassie
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Some of you are trying to silence and dismiss me as racist and sexist.
    Just as a note, people voicing their disagreement with you is not even close to “silencing” you. But I don’t read this blog enough, so our point of view may be new to you. What you’re doing is called victim-blaming. You’re looking at a situation which clearly has only one crime, and blaming the victim of that crime for existing in the path of the perpetrator. You’re saying, “But if women weren’t in the military, they wouldn’t be harassed.” We’re saying – being a woman isn’t a crime. Sexual harassment is. And, generally, we blame the person who’s committing the crime for the crime. I’m sure you’ve noticed this – if someone gets mugged in New York, the police don’t say, “Well, why were walking around New York?!?” Or if someone steal’s someone’s Porsche, we don’t say, “Well, the way to solve that is by outlawing Porshces.” We address the crime, as best we can, rather than punishing the victim of the crime, because joining the military is not a criminal offense.
    Yes, we agree that harassment is wide-spread in military. But essentially nothing is being done to stop it. As sgzax said:
    The answer to the problem of harassment is to make it clear that it is unacceptable, punish perpetrators, and don’t persecute women who make reports. The military currently fails on all three fronts. That’s what needs to be fixed.
    So that’s what we want to fix. We don’t want to “fix the problem” of women getting jobs, of women leaving the house, of women challenging some men’s opinions. We don’t think that’s fair to anyone, including men, because men benefit from having intelligent women working with them.
    And our military is far from mediocre.
    I have lots of respect for the people fighting, which is why I don’t want them to die. We’re currently firing talented personnel because they’re gay, while reaching record numbers of moral waivers for felons:
    http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/04/gns_waivers_040708/
    Combined with terrible political support (sending men on seven tours of duty is *not* supporting the troops), I’m not convinced that we’re doing all we can to get the best people into our military.

  47. Alice
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    SweetLittleSister: Using a Communist governments actions probably isn’t the smartest way to get your point across.
    The fact is, their actions proved that women can be competent combatants. Even if it had been the Nazis themselves who had done this, the lesson remains. Besides, in the case of the Soviet fighters, many of them only volunteered in response to the German invasion of the Soviet Union, which is to say that they were, first and foremost, defending their homeland against genocidal invaders, not trying to crush the Western world under the iron boot-heel of Stalinist rule. If you can’t appreciate the personal fortitude required to assault mechanized armies and the skill and dedication required to pull your own weight x300 in combat just because of the politics of the person’s homeland, well, that’s just sad.
    Should women also have to register with Selective Service when we turn 18?
    Insofar as it is proper that anyone should be required to do so, women most certainly should be required to do so.

  48. SweetLittleSister
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Alice,
    I never said I disagreed with you. Just saying that Communist rule is not something many people want to emulate. Using a Communist nation as an example is likely to fall on deaf ears.
    For example, I am sure that Hitler did some good things for Germany BUT most people won’t even give thought to those things. In the end, if Hitler did it, then most people want no part of it.

  49. Alice
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I see. Yes, I suppose that from a political perspective, the argument might be counter-productive. From an honest perspective, though, it is also the best, largest scale example of competent female fighters in a modern or near-modern army that saw frontline combat that I can think of.

  50. SweetLittleSister
    Posted May 3, 2008 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    As for the Selective Service question.
    I don’t really approve of Selective Service in the first place but I doubt it is going away anytime soon so I guess equal is equal. Just thought it would be an interesting question to ask.
    On a technical note, why does it take so long for a post to go through? It can take up to 2 minutes for a post to go through and the page to refresh.

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