Thursday, January 24, 2013

And the Critics of Women in Combat Roles Speak!

Some reactions to the announcement that the ban on women in combat roles has been removed.  These are from one Eschaton thread but you should really compare them to my earlier post, to see how standard the arguments are and how much they are based on the assumption that war is unarmed hand-to-hand combat:

I hate to tell you this, Atrios, but women are generally smaller, weaker and slower than men. That's why even feminists don't bitch about sexually segregated sports tours. With rare exception, having women in combat means male soldiers will have to expend energy protecting women that they'd probably prefer using to defend themselves. What could possibly go wrong with that? Also, last I heard, combat was considered a hostile work environment.You know, Atrios, it must be so fun sanctimoniously denying reality like you do. You're really good at it. No wonder you consider so many other people to be assholes.



Among most mammal species, males are bigger and stronger because they fight more. Does this mean that males are better fighters and would that be a reason not to allow females to fight in armies?  Does the use of military weapons such as AR-15's negate the physical advantage of males and are females just as likely as males to use those weapons to kill the males/females of the hated foreign armies? Does Atrios - or anyone - know the answer to these questions? Anyway Atrios will apparently ignore the questions.

Skeptonomist Habilis

Here's what I wrote yesterday:

The older, and still prevalent, anti-feminist arguments about women in combat are that women are naturally and inherently incapable of the aggression that is required, that women are naturally and inherently slower, weaker and smaller than men and therefore will not be of value in military combat, and that men are (perhaps also naturally and inherently) always going to be chivalrous towards women so that female soldiers are a burden-to-be-protected in combat, not an asset.  The anti-feminists also don't think we can mix sexes in the military, and point out military rape as the unavoidable outcome.  How that goes with the chivalry argument is usually left unexplained.  Finally, the anti-feminists say that mixed-sex military troops cannot have the necessary bonding which only works among men.

Isn't all that precious?  By the way, I have no idea if most mammal species have bigger males than females because the males fight more.  I don't know if the males are bigger than the females in most mammal species and I'm not sure how "fighting" is interpreted in this context.  The predatory species don't leave the females at home when they go hunting for food, for instance, and I've read that it's the lionesses who do most of the hunting for the pride.

But if we took those arguments truly seriously, we'd only let into the military those men who are fast, big and strong.  We would never allow any slow men in, for example, and we would certainly kick out all those old generals who are no longer fast and strong.

The point is, of course, that once again the selection process should be about the individual applicant, not about some large group which contains much variation inside it.   The more important point is that warfare is no longer based on who is the physically strongest, fastest and largest but on the use of weaponry, tactics, strategies and financial resources.

Those comments I quoted are from the older anti-feminist arguments.  I'm not strong enough today to cruise the hate sites (and I'm out of bleach and barbed-wire shower brushes), so I can't tell you what the more modern MRA side says.

Just for fun: