It was only a matter of time I suppose, but with the gender integration of combat arms and most specifically the infantry, the Army Secretary came out this week and said it is likely that women will have to start registering for the selective service. Now that the infantry is being forced open to women, the next wave of the push for gender equality will apparently be to ensure women get drafted right alongside men in a case of national emergency. Probably before having daughters myself, I would have laughed this off as a sort of, “well, you wanted equality and now you get it” type of response. But now that I am a father of two girls, the notion of my daughters being drafted into combat arms while able-bodied men sit here at home absolutely sickens me. Yes, I know some of you are thinking that statement is rife with gender stereotypical roles. But grab a drink and take a seat, because there is more where that came from.
I agree, that much of gender roles is made up. My youngest daughter loves the color blue. By far her favorite color and if she can’t get the blue car on the carnival or amusement park ride she almost doesn’t even want to ride it. However, there is nothing biologically gender specific about color as far as I know. Furthermore, I’ll use myself as an example. I am a United States Marine Infantry Veteran of Iraq. I am not known for expressing much emotion or feelings. I have seen life and seen death, but 10 times out of 10, when Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun song comes on the radio, I stop, listen, and yes, sing along. Every. Single. Time. No need to lie, men, it is a catchy tune and you can admit it.
Because I am not bothered or threatened by the abstract definitions of gender roles as it relates to this current time in human history. I am admittedly a caveman on many issues, but I like to think a reasonably progressive and enlightened sort. Moreover, I respect women who want to join the military and many women fought honorably in the roles open to them over the last 13 years. As a father to girls, I don’t really like the idea of certain things being off-limits to them. Although, I will admit having done the infantry in war, I believe women in the infantry to be less than helpful to say the least. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I know Grunt Life and I don’t want it for my daughters. But still, my complaint is not with you ladies. Rather, my complaint is with the society of men we are becoming who would allow a woman to be drafted into the infantry in their stead.
The Biology of War
Look, I’m not going to get into all the biological differences between men and women because I don’t think I have anything new to add. But I’ll just say briefly that I don’t want women in the infantry for the same reason you don’t want women to become the starting offensive linemen for your favorite NFL team for the sake of “progress.” However, it would seem we care more about our favorite football team than your friendly neighborhood infantryman. It is not gender bias, it is just biology. And listen to me when I tell you the biology of war is harsh.
The Marine Corps tested it fairly and in every case, all-male infantry units outperformed gender integrated infantry units. But now let us send that integrated unit off to face a foreign enemy that will likely be, all-male. However, my problem is not with the women. Rather, it is with the society of men we are becoming who would allow a woman to be drafted into the infantry in their stead. Because allowing my daughters to make a run at infantry with standards 100% intact is one thing. But drafting them by the power vested in the State while men tell me they refuse to be defined by gender stereotypes is unconscionable. Yet it seems to be the inevitable conclusion of the path we have undertaken.
Be a “Man”
My stance of what a man should be for purposes of war has nothing to do with sexuality. Gays in the military, gay marriage, and gay rights play not into my thought for this particular article. It would seem evident that most of us probably unknowingly served with gay men and if they did their jobs, which why wouldn’t they, then great. However, I watched a video the other day, which I tried desperately to find for this article, where straight men pushed back on the stereotype where they were to be the provider or protector of others. They lamented the role pushed upon them to be “manly” as they felt it oppressed women.
Honestly, I am not naturally “manly” and any “manly” I have to offer the world was developed courtesy of the United States Marine Corps. When I joined at 17, I weighed about 130 pounds and had the face of a 12-year-old. My Drill Instructors literally used to yell in my face over and over, “Boy does your momma know you’re here!” But this process of becoming “manly”, of becoming able to defend the weak and rise to the occasion when need be is a process. So when other men are not quite there yet, I don’t dismiss them. The kid who was picked on at age 12 can become a lion by age 22. But I do have a problem when they say, “don’t force me to fulfill this stereotypical gender role in a time of national emergency, for a woman can do that just as well.” That is not equality men. That is cowardice. You are not pushing equality, you are simply being a coward.
I was reading an article where a woman basically said that if I was expecting men to fulfill stereotypical gender roles, then I am basically raping her with my “white terror.” And I remember thinking, unless this lady secretly named my genitalia “white terror”, I don’t even know how that’s possible. And as flattering as that name might be for that particular area, it fails to advance the conversation. For we know the biology of war as scientific and military fact. We know that men advancing upon the enemy will gain more ground than an all-woman unit of equal or greater size.
But by all means, let’s draft my daughters in a future war while biological men sit here and ponder their role in society. However, if my daughters do get drafted into the infantry of the future to face an enemy for the sake of progress, you better not let me find you as a man sitting on a park bench back here at home pondering your role. Because I might be 50 or so by then, but I will give you some instruction you won’t forget. My daughters can volunteer for whatever they want and my son can love all the “non-manly” things and dance to Cyndi Lauper if he so chooses like his daddy. But if I have done my job right, he better be ready to step up to the plate before his sisters. And if all else fails and the enemy hordes are at the gates, then if I have done my job right, his sisters will give them hell too. Like the Unprecedented Mediocrity Facebook Page Below and Oh, If any of you men thought you were too cool, I’m about to prove you wrong with the video below.