Posts Tagged ‘combat’

why women in combat are beside the point

January 23, 2013

Females are allowed to serve in combat now, and this is supposed to be a great thing for females and a win for feminists.

It is not.

Of course it is fantastic that soldiers will be judged on their skills and ability rather than on their sex.  And, of course, females may struggle to qualify for these positions that have opened up– after all, most males don’t qualify for those positions.

Panetta’s decision was obviously a correct move– as long as the qualifications don’t change.  It is a mistake to deny anyone opportunity and prestige before they are even tried.

But it’s still beside the point, and here’s why.

It encourages this idea that females are only good enough if they can do the things males can do.

So if male work is worth more, female work is valued less– just by virtue of it’s being done by a female.

Obviously females should not be rejected from lines of work, or activities, than males traditionally do. 

But think about a nurse, homemaker, secretary, librarian or elementary school teacher.  They are probably female. 

Now if you think about a doctor, lawyer, or university professor, those professions are probably are lot less gendered, but leaning male.

But maybe a computer technician, sports commentator, truck driver– you think male, right?

And if you see a female in those professions, you might think she’s pretty special, because you know she’s probably worked twice as hard for half the credit.

Pilot vs. flight attendant.

Lawyer vs. paralegal.

Doctor vs. nurse.

Do you see where I’m going with this?  The problem isn’t that females aren’t participating in male professions– that can be overcome by females working hard and proving their value.

The problem is that males aren’t participating in female professions.  That would require an enormous change in the way we all value work and gender.

Haven’t you met a male who was great with kids– who would have made a great mother?  But I wonder: as much as he loved his kids and enjoyed making a home and raising them, how long do you think he could stand it, after a lifetime of people teaching and reinforcing the idea that males are providers— that they just don’t do that Why?  Just because!

Have you met a male nurse?  Didn’t you wonder why he wasn’t a doctor– if there was something wrong with him; if he couldn’t cut it, if he was just lazy, or ran out of financial aid or something?

But I bet you didn’t think that about a female nurse.

Myself, I’m a librarian.  And while most of the librarians I’ve worked with have been female, how many library directors do you think were female?

Ah… now we might see some advantage to being a male in a female profession.  But that’s a bit off-topic.

Right now, I’m glad females have another opportunity.  But it still makes me wince.

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