Monday, January 2, 2012

Women in the military

As I said earlier, I got one of the Barnes & Noble nook readers for Christmas. First thing I did was send my other half to Baen's free library after a few books. Included in that was some nonfiction. The third piece "The Amazon's Right Breast" by Tom Kratman, brought some past musings to the forefront of my mind. The piece explained, from a military man's perspective, why women in integrated combat units don't work, and will never work.

Musing #1: I hate ignorant, "but this isn't fair! We have to fix it to make it fair!" reformers.

Fair or not, society works. Society works for a reason, and that reason is that God made man and woman, made them different. My husband is a wonderful man--but he's not a nurturer. He's great with the kids, but often can't figure out what's causing a tantrum. Sometimes I can't, either, but I tend to have a better shot. Honestly, I'm not a nurturer by personality. I don't like people. But, somehow, with my kids, it just...happens. I assume it's biology/brain biochemistry, because it sure as hell wasn't socialization.

On the flip side, I can tell our son to go to his room, and half the time he'll try to tell me no. When Daddy says "go," he goes. I am just as strict, just as consistent as he is, but Mommy's the one that kisses boo-boos to make them better, or fixes chocolate milk. Yes, Mommy spanks, but Daddy's huge, and you do what Daddy says.

Same goes for the military. Men just tend to not listen to women (and that's assuming that the woman can bring herself to be more the disciplinarian than the nurturer). I've read studies that they just don't hear them--that they're trained by evolution and by socialization to listen for quieter, lower pitched sounds than most women's voices.

So, no: women can't be in command very well. Many of the ones I've met are too nurturing, and not...hardasses, I guess would be the best term I can come up with.

Musing #2: I hate the whole mindset that claims "A woman is just a differently shaped man."

No, I'm not. I am a woman, yes. I'm a very small woman. I'm under 5' tall. I'm not very strong, physically. I can't do even a quarter of what my husband can. Yes, I'm a better shot with a rifle. No, I can't carry that rifle and all the gear I'd need for hours and days on end. And no, I can't possibly expect someone else to carry my gear. Yes, I considered going into the military when I was young, but I was planning to take some desk job somewhere to free up someone who could cut it in the field.

The "anything you can do, I can do better" radical feminists haven't ever tried to do what men can do. Yes, we can keep up in any intellectual pursuit. No, we can't keep up physically.

Yes, there are exceptions, but they are just that: exceptions. That is not to say there aren't things women can do that men can't: women tend to have a higher pain tolerance than men, and tend to be able to multi-task much better than men. However, again, I do believe that's mental work, not physical.

(Although, on the physical side I dare any man to try giving birth to, or breastfeeding, a baby. Those little suckers bite, even before they have teeth. And they do it randomly and without warning.)

Musing # 3: I hate the whole "we can't let the awful men shut us out of their he-man woman-haters club (i.e., the military)" mindset.

I daresay that there are places in the military where women are invaluable: nursing (the whole nurturing thing--I've had male nurses and do not care for their bedside manner), clerical work, mechanical work in small spaces (small hands are great for something), armorers, and other light work.

Other than that, the military has always, always been a refuge for men--for them to learn how to be men, and for them to unapologetically be men. There has to be a place for them to joke around, to be rude, and to be able to express sides of their selves that make women uncomfortable without having to worry about who they're offending or frightening.

Each and every one of us has a dark side. Each and every one of us has a part of our psyche that they feel they can't express, mostly because they're afraid others will look on them with horror and revulsion. Men are told "You need to express your feelings," both by significant others and by society in general, then they're vilified for being so different from women: violent, angry (don't blame them, with the way they've been hemmed in at every turn to where they're afraid to give someone an honest compliment without being slapped with a charge of sexual harassment), focused, driven--just not women. The military gives men a place to let that side of themselves out for the ones in whom it's too strong to psychically amputate.

A lot of this post has probably seemed like hyperbole to many. To others, it will ring with God's honest truth. I will not apologize for my opinions. They are what they are.

Tune in next week for a post about how women are different, with different needs, from men (as well as more of what they're better at).


  1. Being a man I couldn't say what you did without being branded as a Neanderthal but you said it very well. I will say, when women do some of the things med do it 'lowers' them to a more base level....maybe that doesn't make sense. OK I will shut up now I've probably said too much already.

  2. No, you're right--and that whole "a woman is just a differently shaped man" has really harmed the self-esteem of a whole generation of young women who don't feel like men, and don't know how to differentiate themselves from men without showing every inch of skin they've got.

  3. "a woman is just a differently shaped man"......and vice versa for sure.

  4. OCM...the point is that they're not, and shouldn't be forced to act as if they are.

    That includes metrosexuals.

  5. Wait until you get ambitious and read the novel that essay was more or less an advertisment for. ;)


    Tom Kratman

  6. Tom, I do plan to read it, but I don't have a whole lot of time to read right now. Two toddlers, and all that. My husband has read a lot of your work, and I've read some--I do plan to read more, when I can.

    Take care, and keep writing the good stuff.