crossposted at loosegarments.wordpress.com
I had an abundance of strangers and friends ask me in complete shock and disbelief over WHY I would ever want to join the military, when I had told them that that’s what I was doing with my life. I had a million reasons to respond with really (I myself had a great childhood because I was an Army brat), but the only one that stood out was that I had always wanted to show the world that no matter what the circumstances and obstacles, women could do the same damn job as a man could…and they already did, but much more invisibly than their male counterparts. I wanted this to change; I wanted women to finally get credit for their sacrifices, risking their lives too, their ability to save another human being in situations, or the fight to help liberate women and their rights in countries where they were repressed and abused, their god damn hard work, period. I thought that if I was one more woman in the military doing a bad ass job, and being really good at it, that that would in some way make a progression toward woman’s equality. There are significant psychological implications like toppling the highly built prejudice against women by our patriarchal culture about what a woman is capable of: physically, emotionally and psychologically. People asked me: “Well, do you know what you would be fighting for? DO you believe in the war?” Yes and No. I would have been fighting for women’s equality in the world and here in the U.S. and that was reason enough for me. As a woman I would have done my job as 25V Combat Documentation/Photographer damn well. I still think about re-joining in a few years as an Officer, but now I have a daughter and inevitably certain things changed, like putting myself in harm’s way instead of considering my daughter.
In March 2011 a recommendation will go to Congress about lifting the ban on the military putting women into combat. Newsflash! Women are already fighting in combat and on the front lines in combat zones in the Middle East, they just don’t get credit for it because of this military code that supposedly “keeps them out of harms way and from effectually distracting and hindering the male soldiers from doing their jobs.” WHAT?! Yes those are a couple of their reasons. Crazy. Women have been in dangerous combat zones fighting along with the men since WWI, as nurses and medics right on the front lines. In 1917 the Russian Provisional Gov. actually deployed female combat troops in large numbers! How often do we hear about that? In WWII in America, several hundred thousand women served in combat units and especially as pilots and anti-aircraft units as gunners! All over the World starting during WWII, women were being mobilized in war efforts, in combat units, volunteering and every other position that a man was performing…so why do women barely get accredited with any recognition?
In a sense, this recommendation to lift the ban on women in combat is sort of infuriating. It’s almost as if to infer that women aren’t already in combat and deployed there specifically, not by accident. Another technique to disrepute or disassociate women’s work and abilities perhaps? Wouldn’t be surprising really!