Equal rights, when it suits you?

I’ve been thinking lately about the women’s rights movement and, in particular, the aspects of it that apply to the military. Now let me state up front that I don’t have any beef with women, or any group. This is intended as a benign discussion, not a “women belong in the kitchen” type post.

Now then, one of the major goals of the equal rights movement of late has been women on the military and to a greater extent, in combat. I see the noble side of this movement, as I believe in equality for all people, but I also see a side that is being selfish.

  1. Women are held up to a lower (physical) standard in basic training*, and in their anual physical review.
  2. Women are excused from the selective service.
    I cannot help but see it as selfish that a movement can demand equality, yet stop short of truly equal treatment when it comes to the downsides to their newly aquired rights.
    [sub]* based on my own (limited) knowledge of US AirForce basic training, may not apply to other services[/sub]

I with ya!

Equality for everyone, not just a few who can complain loudly enough.
And ya know what? I want my military to be a fighting machine. Get in there and kick some ass! I don’t want to hear, “oh I can’t do that because I’m a girl (ro too old, or too short,etc)”. If you can’t do the work, don’t get in there! Find another vocation.
All I want as a woman is the opportinity to do the same things that the guys do and get paid the same amount for the same job.
I realize that there are a few things I will never be able to do because I’m a chick. But there are things that the guys can’t do too!

I might be confused about the whole selective service thing, but isn’t that how they do drafts in wartime?

In hand to hand combat, one has to admit that men’s bodies are more built for physical aggression than women’s. And while the selective service is fine in assuming that the average male might be able to fight, the average woman could not. In fact, it seems like the smartest idea to let the women who are gung-ho about the whole idea join the military, but not to force those whose bodies aren’t ready for it.

Interestingly, I just read an article about women in the Citadel, and how their hips were injured in the attempt to stride along with men in long marches, etc. etc.

My solution would not be to register everyone with selective service, but first to modify the historically male body bias military drills into something we knew would be just as physically a benefit to women as they are to men.

No, I don’t think we’re ever going to get real “equality” and I don’t even think such a thing exists. And yes, I am a woman :stuck_out_tongue:

Your example of the draft is off-base. It ain’t women who have caused women to be excluded from the draft; it was the (male) military. IIRC, there were one or two lawsuits by women demanding equal opportunity in the military, acknowledging that part of this would be that women could be drafted. The military opposed these lawsuits, and won.


It’s really the whole “women get lowered physical requirements” thing that pisses me off.

The requirements in the Army aren’t set at the level for a “man”… they are set at the level for a soldier. When you’re in the Army, being a man or a woman shouldn’t matter… you’re a friggin’ soldier, and there’s a minimum level at which all soldiers need to be on.

As for the draft thing… Sua, I’ve heard conflicting reports over the years, some saying that some women want to be drafted, some saying that they don’t. Given the fickleness of human nature, I wouldn’t be surprised if both were accurate (after all, women don’t have a hive mind, despite what Married with Children says).

Several years ago, the Los Angeles Fire Department sneakily released a video clip of women trainees trying(and failing miserably) at some fire-type exercises. The point of the video was obvious. Women just don’t measure up!

It was a couple of days before a reporter or two asked to see the video of the men on these fire-type exercises. Turned out that there was no video of the fellas. They had never been asked to do these particular exercises that women had been attempting. These particular exercises were not part of the LAFD training program!

This, of course, proves nothing. Make of it what you will.

If I recall, Spooje, that video showed a woman trying to set up a ladder.

If she can’t set up a friggin’ ladder (admittedly, a rather tall ladder, but still…), I don’t want her rescuing me out of the fourth-story window. I don’t care WHAT gender you are, just save my sorry ass from burning!

This type of thing is all too common. A claim is made that some minority group is excluded from something only because of bigotry. The rules or the laws are changed to admit them. In many instances, the claim of pure bigotry turns out to have been correct. The admitted group performs as well as or better than the others. (E.g., when baseball was racially integrated, the newly admitted group performed better than average, leading to higher standards of play.)

However, in other cases, a significant number of the newly admitted group don’t meet the standards. Then the standards are quietly reduced, either for everyone or for members of this group.

There were quite a few other things. The point was the men weren’t asked to do it and it wasn’t part of the training to become a fireman. Maybe the fellas can’t do it either.
I need to get a copy of that video.

It has been awhile since the draft was in effect in America, but when last it was around I believe a topic of conversation that got bandied about was “what characteristics must a person exhibit in order to be disqualified from service?”

I do not believe it was the general consensus that if you could not do several dozen one-handed pushups you would be given a waiver. I do not recollect anyone saying that if you were incapable of running a mile with a pack on your back, they’d say “Go away, we can’t use the likes of you.”

If the draft is ever to exist again, women as well as men should be subject to it. Basic training should make each soldier the best soldier possible. (Some, given their physical starting-points and metabolic makeup, will make better soldiers than others).

All I know is that if my ass was on the line out there I’d rather have unequality in the military than be backed up by soldiers who didn’t have to meet the full army qualifications!

To lower the standards for ANY group is disrespectful to the men AND women who’s lives are dependant on their fellow soldiers.

— G. Raven

Try this thread…


In short, many feminist do not believe women should be exempted from selective service.

I also have no problem with them having to meet the same physical standards, as long as those physical standards are reasonable for the job (i.e. Firemen should be able to lift and carry a lot of weight, that makes sense, if that excludes a lot of women, so be it). I’m not sure why the Airforce would have such strigent physical standards that women wouldn’t be able to hold their own.

IIRC, as it stands now, all of the jobs in the army are not open to women. Infantry and other front line combat units are limited to men. Given that women are excluded from the MOST strenuous jobs (not that non-combat roles are safe, easy, or even necessarily non-combat), one could argue that it is not necessary to hold them to the same standard

  1. We shouldn’t be. Likewise we shouldn’t be exluded from combat just because of gender.

Do people really think that if women were held to the same standards as men, there would be no women capable of meeting them? Bulls**t. My little sister, “Missy”, is 6 feet tall, 170 pounds, and built like a linebacker. Sure, she probably wouldn’t do as well as the biggest, tallest, most fit men, but I doubt very much that she would do worse than all of the men.

  1. We shouldn’t be.

Personally I think point one is moot when discussing point two. Even if women aren’t allowed in combat (because of the differing physical requirements) they shouldn’t be excused from the draft. Equal rights, equal responsibilities.

Of course, I don’t see this situation changing at any point in the near future, but that’s not the fault of feminists.

The really bad thing about exempting women from the draft is the practicality if we actually have a war. Ok, a small percentage of our army is female. After a draft, that will be an even smaller percentage.

So we send a huge male army, many of which are fresh draftees, overseas, and send with them a small collection of women, who have been held to a lower physical standard than the men.

The word gangrape comes to mind.


according to thereport issued on the “Federal Guideline Committee on Gender Integrated Training and Related Issues” (in 1997 To then Sec. of Defense Cohen):

(emphasis added) IOW - Some of the differences were because of the generalized differences in size - that a person of smaller stature will have a harder time climbing a tall wall or lifting large weights, than a person of larger stature.

It doesn’t report what specific things may be only gender specific (but I would hazard a guess that difference in stature accounts for most of it, federal laws already proclaim the prohibition of discrimination re: size, I don’t see anyone claiming that only tall, large men should be soldiers; other than stature related items, what’s left? difference in pelvic bones? Can some one can identify what ‘qualifying’ items are being changed, and for what reason (other than stature)?

The report itself identified other issues - one sited that the ‘male only’ groups tended to win more awards, leading to the perception in the male recruits that it was the female inclusion that was ‘holding them back’. Instead, the report indicated that a more likely rationale was that the ‘male onle’ groups had a different training regime - that all trainers and all recruits lived together totally 24/7, which led to a more cohesive team. anyhow, interesting read.

And, of course, FTR, Sua is correct about the Selective Service issue.

This is a little of track from the OP, but a few years back I listened to the GOP platform committee debating what their plank should be with regards to expanded roles for women in the military. It boiled down to a disagreement between those party officials who had teenage or college-age daughters and didn’t want doors to opportunity closed to them and those with very young granddaughters who feared these 4-year-old toddlers would be drafted and sent into combat.

If you watch the firefighter training video, the most commonly shown scene was of the female recruit struggling to erect a ladder. When she needs assistance, the (male) training officer takes the ladder, then waits for a second (male) training officer to help him with the ladder. If it takes two men to handle the ladder safely, it seems unreasonable to criticize the woman who had difficulty.

My second comment relates more to police requirements, but is somewhat related. In a Law Enforcement class I took in college, we discussed in one class period the changing requirements for entry into police academies. One police department had been criticized for requiring a lower minimum number of push-ups for female recruits, which had caused complaints of discrimination by male recruits.

The instructor, a 20-year veteran of the Chicago PD, had this to say (a direct quote taken from a cassette recording of the lecture): “They’re missing the point here. Push-ups are a strength training technique, not a job skill. In more than 20 years on the street, I never once had to do a push-up in the line of duty.” And later on the same tape: “Strength plays a role only in unarmed physical confrontations. Any police officer who gets into a lot of situations like that is a poor officer.”

The point was that job requirements, physical and otherwise, should be defined solely in terms of job-related skills. For example, the ability to bench-press a certain amount of weight is not a job-related skill for anyone other than a competetive power-lifter. Being able to carry a full pack a certain distance is. If the issue is unarmed combat, then a test should be developed to test an applicant’s unarmed combat ability. Those who pass are qualified, those who don’t are not. Sex should not be an issue.

I read an article once that said, IIRC that the biggest problem with women in combat was not physical, but psychological, and not on the part of the women, but the men. Men in combat alongside women, as happened in the Russian Army during WWII, tend to get overprotective of their female compatriots to the point of being distracted from their other duties.

I also think the public acceptance is likely to lag behind. I saw at least a half-dozen different reports during the Gulf War about the sacrifice of mothers leaving behind young children or babies, but not one about the sacrifice of fathers leaving behind young children. I think the American puplic is not quite ready to accept young mothers dying in combat as being a necessary sacrifice in the same way that the death of young fathers is sometimes accepted as a necessary evil.

Excellent point.

They get ONLY women Gyms… What kind of stink would they raise if somebody tried to make a MEN only Gym?

The lowering standards thing really pisses me off too, and I can easily forsee it becomming America’s downfall. Oh, bootcamp is so hard, people are complaining, give em binkies and some drool towels, that will make em happy. Oh, high school students are complaining that Algebra is not necessary to be taught in schools because no NORMAL person uses it. Give em a Blue’s clue book and make em happy. Pretty soon we have a bunch of whiney, fat, out of shape loosers with rusty guns(and no training on how to use em) protecting us, that cannot figure out an Algorithm.

Ok, so its an extreme view. But you just watch. It will come pretty damn close.