AMERICAN MULAN????

I was doing my morning activities as the opening cashier at my store when I came across the Virginian Pilot for that day and saw this article.  My first thought was—SAY WHAT NOW?  I mean I know there are plenty of women in the military.  As a matter of fact, that military is one of my career choices when I graduate from ODU, but the image going through my head of women in the middle of gun-fire was completely unacceptable.  As a woman, a parent, a student, and many other adjectives, I was, at first, extremely against this.  I come from a family of military, a father in the navy, an aunt in the navy, as well as a brother in the army and plenty of miltary cousins. This gave me a background in strict schedules, organization, and more importantly a strict idea of roles.  Women are the back bone to our family in the military. When a soldier is deployed or in a combat area, we worry.  We worry every day that the worst could happen and a uniform could be bringing a folded flag to our door. However, even when my aunt was in the military, we never really had that worry of losing her. We knew she was on a ship sitting behind a computer.  When she gave me career advice as a new high school graduate, she basically assured me of the safety and great opportunities that I would find joining the military.

I can’t understand who is pushing for women to fight in combat. Personally I can’t understand why any woman would want to be in combat.  For me, I’m thinking, Oh H___ Naw! I’m not trying to be in anybody’s gunfire, getting shot at.  NO! I mean I know we fought for women’s rights, and we are allowed to be pretty much whatever we want to be, even though some fields come with certain limitations and/or biases,ok, thank you.   Women have proven that we can be police officers and firefighters, doctors, lawyers, scientists, pilots, and a host of other traditionally male occupations. So I mean it’s not the fact that we are not completely capable, but really?  Aside from the fact that I worry about where all this gender equality is going to land our great grandchildren, I really cannot fathom the idea of women infantrymen.

This idea has caused plenty of uproar. Another Virginian pilot article explained that a few marines would even consider leaving if women were allowed in combat. There have been plenty of arguments against women in combat, the majority of which have been countered.  Some argue that women lack the physical strength of men and that the presence of women disrupts male bonding.  As Marjorie Burgess points out in an older article, the physical requirements aren’t as necessary in the technological world we live in today as well as the intellectual needs of the military.   I asked my brother how he felt about the idea of women in combat.  He and his wife are both in the military. While she has a desk job, my brother has been deployed twice. He took a while to answer me, but then he explained that, he has no doubt that women are capable of the same things that men are, but can’t that just be one area we let men have.  Can’t we let a man go in to combat knowing that there is a possibility he may not return and he can picture in his head his wife and children or his mom or all the women he loves and serves his country to protect.  What’s worse, he explained, is that if he and a fellow soldier were fighting, and if the other was injured, and there was no way that he could help them return to safety, he could live that.  However, if his companion was a woman who had been injured, he didn’t think he could possibly leave her.  He may compromise the safety of other soldiers to save her more than he would another male soldier.  Now this comes from my brother who has very traditional views of men and women’s roles, so maybe this hang-up wouldn’t be the case for all soldiers, but it is still a risk that we have to take.

                Digging deeper into the first Virginian pilot article, I discovered the motivation.  Certain women are pushing for fairness in military advancement which is limited because of combat experience which is exclusive to men.  They feel, as also explained in Burgess’ article that women feel that they are sometimes more qualified for certain positions that are given to males  with less credentials just because of combat experience.  They also feel that excluding women from certain positions creates or expands the amount of men in the military who do not know how interact correctly with women officers or superiors, even ordinary soldiers. Theoretically, I can understand their positions, and my possible military career minded self, agrees because I dont want to face that obstacle, especially if I know I am better qualified.  But seriously think this is just one mountain that we should not be trying to move.  But lets consider what we are asking.  If we as women really want to push for fairness in the military that would pose the questioning of expanding the Selective Service or the draft to require women to register at 18 as well as men.  Now this is not a condition of women serving in combat but it sure is a question that people are considering.  I for one am against that.  It is hard enough to imagine that one day my 2 year old may have to die for his country.  I understand that that may be his duty, and I will teach him love of country from this age and up, but to imagine a daughter being forced in to combat. Women bring up the fact that women in combat should only be opened up to the volunteer force of women, and the draft should not be involved.  But in a world where we are becoming more and more gender neutral, is that really ok? Is that” fair”  To me its comparable with the racial issues of the last few centuries.  African Americans have pushed for equality and in law we have that.  In practice, its touch and go, but for the most part, while racism will never become completely extinct, I feel that many times some, not all, African Americans hide under the history of our past and use it to their advantage.  That’s not fair.  That’s really what we are opening ourselves up to by pushing for fairness and complete equality. And whats worse, what if certain men on the other side start pushing for Selective Service to be leveled.  What will these die hard feminists have to say about that because they will surely make enemies with women.  Call me scared, call me confined in the traditional roles of womanhood, which I know that I am not.  But some things are better off left alone. Talk about a can of worms???  By all means women serving our country are heroines in their own rights. Yes women have died in the military, women have died in non-combat areas and have been to close to combat areas. There have been casualties but not purposeful, just like thier are always civilian casualties in wars.    But let our men, our brothers, fathers and sons, reserve that honor to fight in combat.

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About Jazmine Collins

ODU History Major
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3 Responses to AMERICAN MULAN????

  1. andrewparkeriii says:

    I completely agree. My question is are women really ready to give up there right to be segregated. Women want to be equal and that’s fine. The average rucksack for combat is about 80 lbs. the average man is 180 while the female is about 135 that is more than half their weight. Is it fair that men will carry less then half their weight and women more? No not only that but hygiene, a woman cannot stay out in a field without a shower for more than a week, imagine when you will have to do it for months. If women were allowed to be in combat would all women have to register for the draft? <- This will be the next big topic if it happens.

  2. That definitely will be the next big topic and I feel like its only fair. Which is one of the main reasons I disagree with women being allowed in combat. I really feel horrible for saying it but, no I am not ready to give up my right to be segregated as a woman. Im not saying either gender is superior but in some things our roles should be separate.
    This is definitely one of those aspects.

  3. I think the biggest argument in favor of it is that women in the military are already in the line of fire. The way war is now it is not two armies marching at each other shooting like in the old days, it’s asymetrical warfare. Women are in the army, women carry guns, women get shot at, and then they must engage the enemy tactically by returning fire… but for some reason this is not labeled as “combat”. So there has been this pretense where the brass have had to pretend like women aren’t engaging in combat, but they really are. This is just dropping the pretense.

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