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Author Topic: On Gender and Combat  (Read 6985 times)

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Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2010, 08:17:05 AM »
I have a feeling the "hygiene" issue is in regards to the menstral cycle, not our differences in urinating.

Offline IgnaddioTopic starter

Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2010, 08:55:55 AM »
This is where PT tests and other military standards come in. If the graders arent cheating for the person performing the test (yes it happens) and the test is at a point that it requires everyone to be strong, flexible, durable, and fast enough to do the job then there is no difference between men and women in military roles and by extension Infantry and special forces.

Mentalities in combat can only be proven in combat so you cant have a standard for this till someones been put into a real combat situation.

Except for this "hygiene issue" that was spouted when I was a soldier (and consequently was never defined even when asked about) we can prove that men and women can perform equally in combat as long as theyre held to the same standard.

If you'll kindly read the article I posted in the OP, it does a bit of explaining on the part of the hygiene issue. What I suspect is that people knew the issues involved but couldn't speak about it intelligently enough to explain it to someone further and, in order to avoid foot in mouth syndrome, shut up.

As far as Physical Fitness standards, they aren't the same. Men and women have separate minimum scores for everything from push ups ad situps to run times, and it gets easier as you get older. The point of physical fitness standards isn't to ensure you can do your job; if you placed someone, male or female, who could only accomplish the minimum required of them, in the role of infantry, I suspect that they would flounder and fail. The intent behind physical fitness standards is to maintain the health of the general military populace, including the large majority who never expect to be placed in a hostile situation. That, and a trim sailor looks better in a uniform than a round one.

Offline Paladin

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Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2010, 10:15:47 AM »
So... you're saying that Men are the weaker sex, and that therefore all soldiers should be women?

Don't put words into my mouth that haven't been said please. As I said women can do SOME things BETTER than men. NOT that ALL SOLDIERS should be WOMEN. Men are not the weaker sex, I'm saying that in the MIlitary you can make it so there is NO WEAKER SEX. Womens should be able to fill the same military positions men do, including Infantry and Special Forces.

Offline ShrowdedPoet

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Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2010, 10:31:32 AM »
Don't put words into my mouth that haven't been said please. As I said women can do SOME things BETTER than men. NOT that ALL SOLDIERS should be WOMEN. Men are not the weaker sex, I'm saying that in the MIlitary you can make it so there is NO WEAKER SEX. Womens should be able to fill the same military positions men do, including Infantry and Special Forces.

Agreed.  And I do believe that what you quoted Pali is a logical fallacy so whoever said it might want to read over that thread.

Offline Ket

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Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2010, 10:38:24 AM »
There are great woman pilots, and mediocre woman pilots, much like there are great male and mediocre male pilots.

Along that same vein, there are great -insert any job in the military here- women, and there are great -insert any job in the military here- men. Which means there are also mediocre or just good enough or pretty darn good men and women in each category.

Let me tell you this. I may not weigh as much as some of the men I work with. I may not be as physically strong as some of the men I work with, simply because it's a given fact women have less muscle mass than men. But I'll be damned if I can't pull my own weight and then some, whether it be training or real life situations. The problem is how people think. There are still many men who look down on women who serve, thinking them to be less capable than themselves. And sadly, there are many women who take advantage of this and do not reach their full potential as a soldier or sailor. Which means those of us who do strive (sorry for the cliche) to be all we can be are looked over as equals and lumped into other groups.

Until the thinking of the majority is changed, women (as a whole) will never be equal in the military and never have the chance to show what they can accomplish in any field they are assigned to.

Offline Ket

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Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2010, 10:43:10 AM »
Also, please remember that there is no tone associated with mere text on a screen, so please, if you are unsure of how someone is making their point, ask them to clarify nicely.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #31 on: January 03, 2010, 10:46:15 AM »
Then it sounds like the Navy needs to train more to build up muscle in its women. Its an easily solveable situation.

The issue here is biology and genetics.  To get an average woman to build up the same amount of muscle mass to be able to do what the average soldier can requires more work.  Which means costs more and takes more time to do so.  Which is one factor that plays against them.

Now that's not to say there aren't exceptions.  There's ALWAYS exceptions.

Offline ShrowdedPoet

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Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #32 on: January 03, 2010, 10:51:20 AM »
The issue here is biology and genetics.  To get an average woman to build up the same amount of muscle mass to be able to do what the average soldier can requires more work.  Which means costs more and takes more time to do so.  Which is one factor that plays against them.

Now that's not to say there aren't exceptions.  There's ALWAYS exceptions.

Like Ket said though, do women really have to have the same muscle mass to work hard and accomplish basically the same things as men?

Offline Chris Brady

Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #33 on: January 03, 2010, 11:07:02 AM »
Like Ket said though, do women really have to have the same muscle mass to work hard and accomplish basically the same things as men?

From what I know of human biology?  Not at the beginning.  It can be built up, but again the major issue here is that time and training factor into this.  And the Military has 'traditions' and rules, and if it takes longer to build up the appropriate level of physical capacity for a woman, compared to a man, then there's an issue.

Which is not to say the Military isn't a sexist organization.  It is.  But some of the complaints are valid, even if the intention is wrong.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #34 on: January 03, 2010, 11:23:36 AM »
I'd just like to note that there are multiple military organizations in multiple nations, so it might be worth-while to treat and analyze them separately.
And most of them are male dominated, and don't like change, which is something this women in the military is forcing them to do.

Offline IgnaddioTopic starter

Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #35 on: January 03, 2010, 11:38:04 AM »
My argument is that, considering the cost of attrition, the costs for training the average female military recruit for service in the infantry, specifically the American military infantry, is not worth the appearance of gender equality. Without changing the methods and time frame allowed, can the average female military recruit be trained to do the following?

Quote
ďLook.  Whoever said this is a pogue and has never been in the field.  Yes, itís about the 120+ temperatures Ė itís almost impossible to operate.  Yes, itís about the heavy body armor, and in full gear with backpack, hydration, weapon and ammunition, itís more than 120 pounds for as long as the hump, 15 or 20 miles.  But itís really about more than that.  Itís even more than about the ability to carry heavy weight for long distances in high temperatures.  We donít bathe for a month at a time.  If we are doing MCMAP quals, we beat the hell out of each other, continually Ė every day, all of the time.  Literally.  Men beat the hell out of men, and get it back too.

Remember when I was in Fallujah and I had to jump off of the roof of the house?  I was under fire, my unit was leaving and I had to catch the HMMWV, and I had on full body armor with hydration, SAW drums and SAW.  And I had to jump from the roof of a house to the ground.  I have had to tackle men in Fallujah who were assaulting us.  Full grown men, attacking us by hand.  Football style tackle with holds and moves on the dude while in full body armor.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #36 on: January 03, 2010, 01:15:01 PM »
What pisses me off is the Selective Service just registers men and according the military in five branches women can do close or more than 50% of the specialties. Minus the marine Corps where it favors men I believe but am not sure about that. So why not enforce equality there if women really want to be equal with men in all areas. What because we don't have a penis we can be drafted and serve the military during war to defend our country.

Offline Trieste

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Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #37 on: January 03, 2010, 02:16:33 PM »
Ahem.

Please stop talking about DNA and genetics as if they are not mutable. They are, and the US government pours enough money into the military that it could easily tinker. Soon enough, we won't need the war-mongering males anyway.. (Attention: THAT WAS A JOKE.)

I'd just like to note that there are multiple military organizations in multiple nations, so it might be worth-while to treat and analyze them separately.

No Beurocracy likes change, unless it's a bigger budget to create more bureaucracy with.  Just about any long standing Military is filled with bureaucracy, just like any long-standing government agency of any kind.

So are you analyzing them separately, or are you lumping them together? Please pick one.



I'm moving this topic to Politics and Religion. From this post forward, I expect people to back up their claims with numbers, before this devolves into something it shouldn't. You want to claim that women are usually shorter than men? Fine. But you had better have the sources to back it up. If you are in any way confused by that instruction... then don't post.

Offline Canuckian

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Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #38 on: January 03, 2010, 02:51:02 PM »
Which is not to say the Military isn't a sexist organization.  It is.  But some of the complaints are valid, even if the intention is wrong.

Ahem.  I'd like to point out that the Canadian military is completely gender-integrated.  Women can apply for any job in our services, including our fledgling submarine service. 

Offline Trieste

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Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #39 on: January 03, 2010, 03:13:39 PM »
Well, they do say a bureaucracy exists primarily to perpetuate itself. I suppose the question would be: do you consider the military itself to be a bureaucracy, or would you say the bureaucracy merely controls the military? Is there a difference, or is the difference academic?

Ahem.  I'd like to point out that the Canadian military is completely gender-integrated.  Women can apply for any job in our services, including our fledgling submarine service.

When I lived there, they had some serious cross-training happening, too. Any one person could do things that would take two, probably three jobs in the US ... as I understood it, anyway.

Offline Canuckian

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Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #40 on: January 03, 2010, 03:14:46 PM »
When I lived there, they had some serious cross-training happening, too. Any one person could do things that would take two, probably three jobs in the US ... as I understood it, anyway.

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Offline Trieste

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Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #41 on: January 03, 2010, 03:17:34 PM »
*bestows blessings and light upon the Canuckian* ;)

Offline Paladin

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Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #42 on: January 03, 2010, 03:50:47 PM »
Still, muscle mass is usually one of the deciding factors in application of force.

I can proove you wrong on that count many times over. I'm a Martil artist. I have seen a woman who might weigh 120 lbs sopping wet throw a man who is 250 lbs of solid muscle damn near straight across the room. Its all about training. Who has the bigger muscles has nothing to do with it. There are ways around anything.

Size and Muscle does not matter.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 06:34:51 PM by Paladin »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #43 on: January 03, 2010, 04:18:47 PM »
Paladin is right about that one for certain.  In my small dabblings in martial arts they were never considerate of my size in picking a sparing partner, telling me that in real life I don't get to choose.  While certainly I was at a disadvantage, the technique and skill carried me through.  Also, I help hold down patients that are easily two to three times my weight and I'm expected to safely corral them even by myself.  I've helped carry patients much larger than myself.  Certainly the male staff do it more often, but we don't always have them.  I can't look down at someone in a pool of blood and go "sorry sir, but none of the guys are working tonight."  Simple application of proper body mechanics is a wonderful tool.

If someone wants something bad enough, then they will do it.  I don't see why the military would have to alter their training methods for women or where the additional cost comes into place.  I say give them a chance.


Offline Kotah

Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #44 on: January 03, 2010, 05:26:31 PM »
Paladin is right about that one for certain.  In my small dabblings in martial arts they were never considerate of my size in picking a sparing partner, telling me that in real life I don't get to choose.  While certainly I was at a disadvantage, the technique and skill carried me through.  Also, I help hold down patients that are easily two to three times my weight and I'm expected to safely corral them even by myself.  I've helped carry patients much larger than myself.  Certainly the male staff do it more often, but we don't always have them.  I can't look down at someone in a pool of blood and go "sorry sir, but none of the guys are working tonight."  Simple application of proper body mechanics is a wonderful tool.

If someone wants something bad enough, then they will do it.  I don't see why the military would have to alter their training methods for women or where the additional cost comes into place.  I say give them a chance.

Exactly. I work in the same line of work, and while I am a bigger female, I can double team a person much much larger then me. Once, during a small room fire, I lifted a 500 pound woman from a low bed and was able to toss her into her geriatric chair without assistance. It's not dragging a person out of a room, but I am sure it's possible to do as well. With a low bed your pretty much picking up someone off a mattress on the floor, getting their legs under them, rotating, and depositing. This woman, also, was a hoyer full assist. Which means she could bear no weight herself. If I can lift her, I could carry an average man by dragging, or arm and leg him with someone else. It may not be pretty, but it's affective.

Perhaps the problem with women in the military isn't exactly the women in the military, is the inflexibility of training. What may be the most effective way for a man, may not be the most affective for a woman. While I think women should learn the same things, perhaps they need to learn the most affective means for a woman to get the same job accomplished. Also, perhaps, allow some room for improve. Me bear hugging a woman twice my size and hefting her upwards and then twisting isn't exactly the best way to have removed her, but with the time I had, and with the possible threat of danger, it was fastest and most affective way to get my patient out of the room, and away from the electrical fire that her heater started. There were also 3 other people in the room. One of which was arm and legged by two men out into the hallway.

If they can effectively teach a women to carry a person out of a burning building ( not that I had to in this instance), I think we can handle a bit more then some people allow.

Offline Jude

Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #45 on: January 03, 2010, 05:49:39 PM »
I'd like to start my first post on this topic by saying that I believe in equal rights and responsibilities for all individuals regardless of gender, but I do not think this necessary translates into equal treatment in all things.  When people discuss equality of the sexes, I believe they're referring to legal/civil/societal equality and not like... true equality, because the various genders are not completely equal in all things.

There are fundamental differences between men and women biologically that give advantages and disadvantages in certain tasks.  As has been stated, men tend to have a physique that lends itself well to brute-force physical labor whereas women tend to be more agile, et cetera, but the differences don't stop there.  There are differences in the brain and how men and women are hardwired to think and the areas in which they excel academically.

It's hard to impossible to say what effect our society has on the studies that show the gender differences in the brain.  Last I recall, the research indicated that we don't really know if these differences are partly in due to different standards, stereotypes, and paradigms applied to the sexes creating a different development environment or if humans have innately different brain chemistry, structure, and functional capacity.  It really doesn't matter though.  Societal progress is a slow process.  In as much as 10 years it's unlikely there will be much erosion of gender differences in the brain even if our cultural environment is the culprit.

The point is, people are different, and part of what makes society productive is people choosing the tasks that they are best fit for.  But at the same time, another thing that makes our society productive in general, is the ability to let people follow their dreams.  The effects of having gender as a factor for consideration in our military are far reaching, in many ways that I don't think people realize.

For a lot of people, being part of the military is a defining experience.  It can reform troubled individuals, teach you important skills, and develop character.  After your service you have access to special educational opportunities as well as veteran's care.  Plus we look upon veterans with such reverence; it seems wrong to rob women of that potential.  Granted we don't deny them the opportunity entirely, but we limit their potential.

I think what it comes down to is you need to balance practical considerations with theoretical principles.  We can't let women into the military into positions that they essentially cannot do and pushing them out entirely is simply unfair.  Even applying the same standards of recruitment, testing, and physical fitness to women and men wouldn't be a sufficient way to gauge their usefulness, as there are many problems with having integrated platoons, PMSing can be a complication, etc.

What it comes down to for me is, I have faith that the military's policy is based on the expert opinion of people with the right ideas who have studied and considered the situation more carefully than me.  I am not an expert; my opinion is simply that of a layperson who is poorly informed compared to the people who made the call.  That isn't to say that I don't hope the policy evolves more over time, I do, but I'm confident placing my trust in experts.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 05:54:34 PM by Jude »

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #46 on: January 03, 2010, 06:52:17 PM »
The only thing I would like to add to this this: I don't quite understand the propensity of people to cast others as sexist simply because they recognize a difference in men and women. Clearly we are different, each bringing their own set of skills to the table. Recognizing this is not sexist or misogynistic.

Truth is, women have already served, under one circumstance or another, in combat situations. And never mind the fortitude and endurance of those WWII, Korean Conflict and Vietnam War nurses. Can you even begin to imagine? Today women fly planes, and if not under direct combat orders, inside the theater of combat. They drive trucks over roads known to be littered with IEDs, the list goes on I'm sure.

Lastly, how about a shout out to the Soviet women who flew combat missions in WWII, dubbed by the Germans as the Night Witches.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_Witches. Seems to me women already have a proud and storied history in combat.


Offline Paladin

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Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #47 on: January 03, 2010, 06:55:50 PM »
ON top of that Russian had some of the dealiest snipers in WW2 and guess what, THEY WERE WOMEN! I can't remember what they were called but they were some of the deadliest snipers out there.

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #48 on: January 03, 2010, 07:00:12 PM »
ON top of that Russian had some of the dealiest snipers in WW2 and guess what, THEY WERE WOMEN! I can't remember what they were called but they were some of the deadliest snipers out there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nina_Lobkovskaya



The point I would emphasize would be, not 'see they can perform in combat', it would be 'see they have, and already do!'

Offline IgnaddioTopic starter

Re: On Gender and Combat
« Reply #49 on: January 03, 2010, 07:13:53 PM »
I can proove you wrong on that count many times over. I'm a Martil artist. I have seen a woman who might weigh 120 lbs sopping wet throw a man who is 250 lbs of solid muscle damn near straight across the room. Its all about training. Who has the bigger muscles has nothing to do with it. There are ways around anything.

Size and Muscle does not matter.

Can that same 120 pound woman strap on an additional 120 pounds of armor and equipment, run 15-20 miles in 120F weather, perform hours of shooting excercises, and run back the same 15-20 miles to base, rinse, repeat for 28 days?