Female soldiers have to fight the stupid at home

Katie, one of my lovely readers, sent me this link today and pointed out the confusion in the comments: Women cleared to serve in combat.

The confusion and stupidity would be priceless if it wasn’t so frightening. But it’s still pretty funny.

Arthur, poor misguided Arthur, had this to say:

I still question the issue of potential sexual assault from both friendly fire and the more importantly (in terms of my arguement) the enemy. This has nothing to do with physical weakness or ability, it is simply to do with being female. In war sexual assault is used as a weapon against civillians and in the event women are in the front line would be used as a weapon against those women also.

Right, so if our male troops – ie, friendly fire – rape female troops, then it’s not the rapist’s fault, it’s the fault of the women for being there while in possession of a vagina. It also ignores the fact that men can be raped – and there are many reports of male prisoners in Abu Ghraib being raped.

Tahlia, the rape myths in the comments might be of interest to you too, and a timely example for your thesis.

Joe is a bit of a scaredy-waredy when it comes to feminists:

This is exactly what concerns me. As there will be a lower percentage of females than males in these sorts of roles, it will give feminists grounds to argue that standards need to be relaxed to encourage more females to join. We could potentially be putting soldier’s lives at risk by surrounding them with incompetence.

Because there are no incompetent men anywhere. Mind you, silly ol’ Joe also believes that there are more male executives than female executives because men are better at being executives.

Sean is either a concern troll or an idiot:

No, it’s a terrible idea. What if they get captured? The units will go out of their way to rescue them. Also, units with women in the front line will be targets for the enemy. And if the woman gets injured more soldiers will stay behind to try to save her. I believe in equality and am glad that our PM is a female but women should stay out of front line combat.

So he believes that when a male soldier is captured, the rest of his colleagues just leave him there?

Bootneck thinks that with women around, the male soldiers will only be able to think about HAVING SEX WITH THEM ALL, which is exactly what happens in workplaces around the country every single day and no work ever gets done:

My concern is the distraction of females on the front line. We have to remember that although we are talking about highly trained troops they are still young and full of youthful tendencies.

Seriously, how does the ABC get such idiotic commenters? Like Jim:

just a little more unravelling of the roles of males and females…..soon be a single gender species.

I personally can’t wait for the day when I have a vagina and a penis. I’d never leave the house.

I’m guessing that Alan of Manunda is single:

There is no privacy out on patrol for a female to halt the section to find a little private area to have a tinkle, something any bloke can do quickly and efficiently, ask the footballers in Melbourne who are always in the news.

And what about hygene? In jungle warfare you do not finish work at 5pm and then have a shower and put your feet up!
Depending on the operation you may be required to go weeks without a shower.

Kate, despite having a female name, doesn’t realise that you don’t need to have your period every month. I skipped mine when I went to Uzbekistan, Mongolia and Russia:

I support women in the front line if they are as capable physically and psychologically as men (and also not a distraction). It is my understanding however, that front line personnel cannot be reliant on prescription medication. I personally could not think of anything worse than having a menstruation cycle in a war zone.

As this link implies, you can be on prescription medication in the army.

And that’s about all the comments I feel I can read. One thing that keeps coming through is, “how would you like to see this happen to your daughter or wife?”. Well, if it’s your wife, then chances are you know by now that she’s in the military. If it’s your daughter, you probably know this is the career she wants. Maybe you even proudly went to her graduation ceremony. A frontline combat role is not something that will “just happen” to them, like jury duty.

Katie, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. And the thoughts from everyone else too, of course, particularly my two resident military experts, Pirra and kimsonof.

94 responses to “Female soldiers have to fight the stupid at home

  1. This might sound like a derail but I am genuinely interested in how you can skip your period without being reliant on prescription meds?

  2. I’d like to apologise for the stupidity of my fellow penis-wielders. Personally I’m firmly of the belief that if women are fit to serve in the army at all then they should be expected to serve in the front line. I don’t see why being a woman should necessarily exempt them.

    • James R, you don’t need to apologise for some stupid men. That would be like holding all Muslims responsible for the acts of a teensy few. Oh, wait…

      The thing about comments like the ones above is that they think they should be able to decide what jobs women are allowed to do. And there’s no consideration for what the women involved want to do. I imagine a lot of women in the army want to serve in official combat roles. But yet people who know fuck all about the military think they can say what women can do.

  3. I don’t have the link, but NPR did a story on this a while ago, and part of the issue is that women are already on the front lines and already in combat even though they aren’t “officially” in combat roles, mainly because with modern warfare there isn’t such a clear distinction between combat and non-combat locations. And I remember a couple of people in the story talking about how they didn’t fare as much of a chance for promotion because of not having served in combat officially (even though they really had served in combat).

    In any case, not every man is stronger than every woman. And even if we accept the sweeping generalization that men have more upper body strength than women, upper body strength isn’t always the most prized asset in every military situation.

  4. The comments, apart from being stupid to the point of hilarity, all seemed to be based on an assumption that women have had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with war up til now. We can blame this on a culture that refuses to recognise or honour the ways in which women experience men’s wars. Ever since there’s been wars women have been dealing with them and surviving them.


  5. Oh, and yeah now we’re considered human enough to be actual cannon fodder for global squabbles over resources…woot…I think

  6. Someone has to say this, so it may as well be me …

    I don’t want women in combat. I don’t want men in combat. Until Australia grows up as a nation and finds the gumption to stop going off to other people’s countries to fight our arrogant imperial wars, I don’t give a rat’s arse about whether women are capable of being equal killing machines to men.

    And don’t even THINK of writing me any bullshit replies about these idiots putting their lives on the line so that I can be free to say this. Armies have always been the #1 weapon used by authoritarian regimes to silence freedom of speech.

  7. The huge elephant with the huge vagina in the room and women in filthy combat conditions is called cystitus.Read up on it people. Females with short urethras fall victim to bladder infections at the drop of a hat. This is expert gyno fact stuff. Women do not even wipe their bums the same way as fellas to avoid the dreaded bladder infection-which if it is not treated immediately can have the female patient on an antibiotic drip in Hospital within 3 days to avoid fatal kidney failure. Now what am I as the unit commander going to do with the latest batch of female so called soldiers who were passed at training in accordance with affirmative action and feminist theory and deemed competent even though they were far from it- who keep comming down with bladder infections because we ain’t got no hygene Mane at RESTRTEPO.on the AFGHAN- PAKISTAN border. I bet that none of you know what RESTREPO means??.. for starters

    • I am laughing my arse off at this one. And I’m going to break my “no name calling” policy.

      Johnkyneur, you are an idiot. And you have just demonstrated to everyone that you know nothing at all about “expert gyno fact stuff”. I’ve published your comment so that we can all see what a fool you are.

    • Actually, you’ve got me there, John. I don’t know what RESTREPO means and Google just keeps telling me it’s a film about a dead journalist, but nothing more.

      However, to give tit for tat, you also don’t know how to spell … it’s ‘cystitis’, not ‘cystitus’. And I don’t think women need to read up on it – as most of us have had it. And any female soldier who has experienced the raging pee would know to keep a supply of antibiotics in her army rations, along with her toothbrush. Cranberry juice is also recommended, but probably not in huge supply along the Afgan-Pakistan border – as neither the the CIA nor the Taliban can make money from it.

    • Glad to hear the huge girl elephant has a huge vagina at least, she’d be at a distinct disadvantage with the well hung boy elephants without it.

      • Oh dear. Old mate johngkyneur has sent in 15 comments overnight and this morning, ranging from saying I have a fat arse to offering me sex, killing chickens, conspiracy theories and an all-female UN. All in caps, all filled with typos, all making no sense whatsoever. Should we take bets on how many he sends?

  8. Me neither. Willing participation in wars only helps perpetuate the oppression of the many to the benefit of a few. Not a cause I want to die for even if I do get a medal out of it, like, score!

    I am curious though, as to the reasoning behind it. Because it’s only been the nation state’s vested interest in population growth control that prevented women from being thusly involved from the get go. The fact of our respective reproductive roles just means that nation states can afford to spare more male lives then female, (and not because of “female privilege” as MRAs tell us). And it’s not like nation state’s don’t still try to control population growth, otherwise we’d have none of this abortion “debate” or a baby bonus etc. So what are they thinking? That women who are butch enough to rock it on the frontlines probably would be too butch to want babies anyway? I’m wondering.

  9. Right, cos killing and maiming in the name of patriarchy was always high up on the feminist agenda.

    Fellas wipe their bums?

    • They don’t just wipe their bums, they wipe them SO MUCH MORE efficiently than us stupid womenfolk who don’t know how to avoid wiping germs up into our urethras. It’s a wonder they let us out unaccompanied, right?

  10. No way is that dude going to make it to Unit Commander.

    Got any thoughts to share on Bolt?

  11. Bolt is just deliberately choosing to identify with the oppressor class in order that he can reap the rewards that go with membership of that class.

  12. @johnkyneur: I don’t like people who call people ‘people’. Also I’m with kellsy on the fact that I don’t we should be fighting any wars until New Zealand gets the gumption to actually invade us…

    As for women in the front line, if you can carry your rifle and a wounded squad member back to the evac point then it shouldn’t matter if you have boobs. To the people that think male soldiers will be distracted by their female troops during combat, I don’t think you’ve considered that with bullets flying about your head you might be thinking about other things at that particular moment than whether or not you can score with the corporal. In relation to the fear that captured female soldiers will be raped this is no more of a concern than finding yourself as a captured male soldier about to be tortured – as it’s most likely that the type of enemy that will commit the first act will also commit the second: in otherwirda you’ve found a bad guy that doesn’t exactly adhere to the Geneva Convention.

  13. A question for any women here. Could you look a teenage boy in the eyes and blow his head off without hesitation? The powers that be have only recently figured out how to train the naturally more aggressive male brain to carry out this function and frankly I think women are generally just better people. If they hesitate even for a moment fellow soldiers die. Infantry is a mean and ugly business, your job is to kill people and it blows my mind that women would actually want to do it.
    This is my only sticking point with all this. I happen to know women who would have the physical and intellectual capacity to work in the Infantry but I have yet to meet a woman who I thought capable of extreme violence against a stranger.
    To be perfectly honest (at serious risk of getting a flogging here) this is the one subject on which women (as well as politicians, radio hosts, columnists et al) have absolutely no weight to any opinion because none of them have ever served in the infantry and thereofre none of them have any clue what it’s like.

    • Kimsonof, no I couldn’t shoot someone. And I put that question to ManFriend and he said absolutely not. You’re putting a question to us – using words filled with emotion – when we have not been trained to kill. That’s not a very good argument.

      Also, there is not evidence that the male brain is “naturally more aggressive”. There is, however, a lot of evidence that indicates the way we are socialised. This social pressure is constant from the day we are born: “boys are rough, girls are nice”. And saying that you think women are better people buys into this.

      You said you are yet to meet a woman who is capable of extreme violence against a stranger. Well, if it was that easy to recognise someone who is capable of violence, then we wouldn’t have any violent crime because we would have locked all the offenders up before they hurt people.

      • The role of a police officer is (generally) to protect and serve the public. Killing in self defence whilst a possibility, is not the reason for their existence. The role of the infantry is (to paraphrase) kill people. Taking lives is their business. They do other stuff as required but primarily they are killers. We can’t compare apples and oranges.
        Women do kill, however usually do so by gentle means (Hickey, 1991)
        Women who kill violently get movies made about them. (Aileen Wuornos)
        Whether it’s socialisation or testosterone is irrelevant – by the time he reaches adulthood the average man is more inclined to do violent things (this doesn’t mean that they will in fact do said violent things) . This is a fact. Now unless we are proposing a long term policy of cultivating violent tendencies in girls, females will remain less likely to be effective in the infantry.
        My question simply put is this: is the average woman able to be trained to kill?
        I will add a second: should I be permitted to work at fernwood?
        And a third: Do you find it amusing that Smith is taking jobs away from men and giving them to women in order to take a job from a woman and give it to himself?

        • Your questions are facetious, but I’ll answer them anyway.

          1. I don’t know because I’m not an expert, just as you don’t know because you are not an expert.
          2. Are men not allowed at fernwood? Then it’s like a gay spa.
          3. That’s just silly. Smith is not taking jobs away from anyone.

          • Aside from the third question I am being completely serious. Your answer to the first question demonstrates why this is a bad idea. Because no-one knows whether or not we can train women to kill. What if we can’t do we risk the lives of current serving men and potentially serving women for the sake of what is really an experiment?
            2. No men are not allowed at Fernwood and you know they are not. Why should a man not be allowed to work at an all female gym? Is that not sexist or is it allowed because it is the ok kind of sexism (against men) similar to the ok form of racism (against Caucasians)
            3. Surprisingly naive for someone so usually on the ball. Mark my words Smith WILL (sorry for the caps) go for Gillards job. This is all part of a move for the big chair and frankly for that reason he should be ashamed.

            • No, my answer does not say that AT ALL. My answer is that I personally don’t know the answer to that question because it’s not my area of expertise. Neither is it yours.

              Secondly, I didn’t know that men were not allowed to work at fernwood because I had never given fernwood a single thought. But the thing with -isms is they don’t work against the dominant group. For example, you can’t have “reverse racism” against white people in a society where white people are the dominant group. This is the best way I’ve seen it explained (talking about nigger vs honky):

              When a group of people has little or no power over you institutionally, they don’t get to define the terms of your existence, they can’t limit your opportunities, and you needn’t worry much about the use of a slur to describe you and yours, since, in all likelihood, the slur is as far as it’s going to go. What are they going to do next: deny you a bank loan? Yeah, right.

              And because men are still the dominant group in our society, we can’t have reverse sexism. In the case of fernwood, I don’t really give a shit.

              And you have misread my third answer. Smith is not taking a single job from a male in the military. He is opening up all roles in the military to anyone who is capable of doing those roles. A man already in a combat role is not going to have his job taken away from him.

              As for Smith going for Gillard’s job, most politicians want the top job. That’s hardly news, nor does it prove your point.

            • Just to point out that women HAVE been trained to kill for rather a long time.

              When you go into the army (for anything, including if you go in at officer training level) you have to complete a fantastic 11 (I think… it was 11 when my then boyfriend went in 5 years ago, he’s since left the army but I digress) weeks of basic training. Whether you are man, woman or elephant with average sized reproductive organs. You do the same training – does that just bypass our delicate female brains?

              I also think you leave out the rather important point that women (just like the men) CHOOSE to join the army and gee I don’t know, don’t you think you might have thought about the possibility of having to kill someone when you say -SIGNED UP FOR THE ARMY? An organisation not widely known for its pacifist stance.

              also don’t start about racism towards whites. We rule the world, I think we’re coming out on top.

        • War is just as much about self preservation as it is about killing.
          Soldiers know they must kill or be killed.
          Cops don’t have that luxury. They are often walking into an unknown situation. Female officers must be prepared to fire their weapons. (Whilst they are trained to shoot to use deadly force as a last resort, the fact they are still capable of doing say tells me that a female soldier trained to shoot to kill will do so just like any male soldier trained to shoot to kill.)

          So long as she is held to the same standards as her male counterparts I fail to see how her genitalia is an issue. She does not need a penis to fire a gun.

          I grew up on a farm and have been firing weapons since I was small. I can out shoot most of the guys I grew up with. I have never been “pink”.
          The only thing that would prevent me from serving my country should I choose to is that I would not pass the physical fitness test. (well, I could pass a BFA, but anything beyond that would do me in and frankly I personally think for deployment, a BFA should not be the bench mark, since it is a lower standard for women–and just a pretty low standard overall, for the men as well. Although, I would fail the male BFA for my age group because I can’t do the heaves.)

          But the argument that women are not emotionally, intellectually and psychologically capable of killing in a theatre of war, I call BULLSHIT on that.

          • I am not saying that they are definitively incapable, I am saying that I remain to be convinced that women can be trained to kill. (It has taken hundreds of years to figure out how to train the male brain to kill – Grossman, 1995) I will be convinced either way in around six or so years.
            I have heard through the grapevine that the five year gradual approach means that only corps transfers will be considered in that period so for now females cannot go into DFR and sign up as a rifleperson. Someone was saying the other day that when they commence this part of the project, the minister may get a surprise when no-one rings the career managers. Not many currently serving women or men who have seen what infantry have to do and put up with will be keen to join their ranks.
            I have also separately heard (from an exceptional source) that some in the SF community was thanking whoever that they have an objective/subjective selection process.
            I sincerely hope to be convinced that women are capable of doing the dirty work because male or female they are all soldiers.

            • The very fact that men need to be trained to kill, tells me women can be trained to as well. There is no physiological reason that makes one gender better for training to kill than the other. Most people are not born killers.
              They become killers. Note I said people. No gender assignment necessary. The only argument you have is your insistence that women are more feeble minded than men (which is incredibly insulting to say the least.)
              There are a lot of things we don’t know definitively but we still do them anyway. It’s not an argument to say “We don’t know if it can be done”. The only way to know is to try. The responsible way is to make sure that ALL SOLDIERS man or woman are trained to the exact same standards. And that those standards remain high. And we want our most competent out there. (Irrespective of what they are packing in their pants)

            • Kimsonof, if you remain to be convinced, then why are you so against it?

              • Firstly it does not matter whether or not I am against it as the decision has been made. I am against the idea as it is not like (hypothetically of course) we are debating whether women should be say baristas where the worst possible outcome is a shit coffee. The worst possible outcome in this case is people dying who don’t have to. Again the decision has been made and I hope those women who join my beloved regiment make me look foolish I sincerely do.
                Pirra I never once claimed that women are more feeble minded. i am sure that women can be trained to kill. I just doubt that the same methods that work for men will work for women.

                • My apologies. I took your premise of women being incapable of extreme violence as being feeble minded. (Which has been bandied around, just not by you) I still believe your logic is flawed. Neither men nor women are a homogenous lump that can all be moulded the same way.
                  The methods they use for men would not be effective on ALL men because all men are different. saying the methods used on men probably won’t work on women is just illogical.

                • Kimsonof, you say the “worst possible outcome is people dying who don’t have to”. Well, that applies to men in combat roles who aren’t capable of doing the job. That’s why there’s training in the first place. No one here is saying that women should automatically be put in combat roles. The argument – that we’ve made over and over again – is that anyone who is capable of performing that role should be allowed to do it.

  14. Since I finally have time to comment…

    I think the whole issue is being blown out of proportion. There were very few roles not open to women in the first place. (So it kind of feels like just because women couldn’t serve in the infantry they were hard done by. Not so. Very few roles were closed off to women. Just another way to beat up on the ADF.) Women have been serving in support roles to the infantry for a long time. Which places them in modern warfare, albeit not on patrol, but there really isn’t much of a front line to speak of.

    However physical standards between the sexes are not uniform. If women want equality in the forces, they better damn well start performing to the EQUAL physical standards of the men. Sure there are roles where it’s not necessary, but for infantry? They better damn well be able to match it with the men physically, because the demands on them will be much more physical than the demands on them than they are in (for example) the transport corp. Until that happens, I look upon this move as nothing more than a political manoeuvre from Stephen Smith. And a really weak one at that.

    • Word is that they are increasing physical standards for men and women across the ADF (thank god) and codifying the old CO’s fitness test.
      [For those who don’t know the official fitness standards for a basic fitness assessment in the army are based on gender and age – not corps, however traditionally within Infantry battalions the CO would dictate his own standards and also include more activities than push-ups, sit-ups and run. This wasn’t army official but being CO dictated it was official enough for us.]
      So the fitness test will be changed and the standards ratcheted up (although as far as I am aware there will remain lower minimum standards for females) and Infantry will have a fucking mean assessment for men and women.
      My information is that rather than being designed to keep women out, the intent of this is to say ‘well they must be capable of the job as they passed the harder test.’
      I understand that the pogue CFA will remain as webbing and rifle which is shit – should be pack (at battle weight not bodyweight percentage) and self paced.
      It will be interesting to note how soon the headlines proclaim our first female rifleperson. Given that there is around an 18 month wait for Infantry at DFR if we see said rifleperson before October 2013 (allowing time for training) then we will know that they have received special treatment.
      Finally it just occurred to me that there are no female toilets at the school or in battalions so hopefully someone is onto that.

      • “My information is that rather than being designed to keep women out, the intent of this is to say ‘well they must be capable of the job as they passed the harder test.’
        It will be interesting to note how soon the headlines proclaim our first female rifleperson. Given that there is around an 18 month wait for Infantry at DFR if we see said rifleperson before October 2013 (allowing time for training) then we will know that they have received special treatment.”

        Yes, that is what bothers me. Just because standards are set at a certain point doesn’t mean preferential treatment won’t be given. Especially as this is being played out politically and Smith will want to be seen to have DONE and ACHIEVED something ASAP.
        (CPP is one case in point. Wherein a female was deemed competent because they needed the female quota, even though she failed weapons 7 times. Usually you get 2 shots and you’re out until qualifying for the next available course. Having said that, it is an isolated incidence. But it still shits me that some one not quite up to scratch can get through, because if she had been a man, she would have been dropped from the team after failing the second time. And CPP is not a speciality where you want some one less than qualified having your back.)

        • Be careful using an example of one to generalise there, Pirra.

          • Not generalising. Which is why I stated it WAS an isolated incident. (It just happens to be one I can verify because I know the female soldier personally. And I wanted it known that I am not talking out my arse.) I am not the only one with isolated stories, but felt it highlighted cases where preferential treatment DOES happen. (and that kind of treatment can be potentially fatal.) Especially in specialist positions. Which CPP happens to be.

            My worry is that because this is a political manoeuvre by a politician, that standards and implementation will be rushed and we will see more of these incidents rather than less and frankly I think it’s a pretty bloody valid concern. (Much more valid than the Oh NOES she has vulva and might have a period, get pregnant or scare the menz with her lady parts issues and other bullshit arguments.)

            • I should also add, the lady soldier in my example DID become very competent with her weapon (with lots of extra work on it during the down time, I mean she did work her arse off, but that is not the point) and by the time she reached her post was declared competent. I would have been just as horrified if any of the male soldiers were deployed without definitively proving competence. The point is she should have been declared competent BEFORE being deployed and she wasn’t. That is preferential treatment.
              (though as a civilian woman, I am hardly qualified to give that opinion. 😉 I’m sure whoever it was that signed off on her deployment had their reasons. Like kimsonof I just tell it like I see it. I can only speak from my observations and interactions. I am by no means an expert on ADF conduct. This is my opinion and like all opinions I am sure it has it’s flaws. )

              I do not have a problem with women serving in the front lines if that is what they choose to do. To say that women cannot kill because of their feeble lady brains and body bits is just a ridiculous argument. I mean, we’ve had female police officers for how many years now?

              I just want reassurance that the women in the front line have proven competency BEFORE they are deployed. That the standards for them are the same. If they are performing the SAME role as their male counterparts, then they need to be held to the same physical and psychological standards that the men are. At the moment, they’re not. And that IS a fact. Not an opinion.

              • Then the fault lies with the ADF, not with the female soldiers. The ADF has flaws, just like any organisation.

                • Of course it does. I never said otherwise.
                  It wasn’t her fault she got preferential treatment any more than it is a male soldiers fault for not and vice versa.

                  • Sorry Pirra, my previous comment came across a little harsh. I was simply murmuring after your point, that yes, the ADF isn’t perfect.

                    • No it’s not perfect and that too is the point.
                      Standards should be high and equal. Lives depend on it.
                      And I didn’t take your comment as harsh, just wanted to clarify that, I personally, was not blaming any individual soldier for preferential treatment, that lies squarely with the fact that standards are different for the sexes. If they weren’t we wouldn’t have to tread this same old tired bullshit ground.
                      Women are more than capable, it’s time we let them show that.

              • Allow me to ask a question of all females on this blog: You are sitting on a log on a quiet road in East Timor 2001. You are a lone sentry to a shooting practice out of view down the road. You are talking dreadful Portuguese to a couple of local children. Suddenly to your right you see a glint of metal. As you turn your head you see a child no more than eight holding a machete above his head no more than two feet from you. You snap your rifle around so that it’s barrel touches his forehead. The safety catch clicks across to instant (as in ready to fire) and you squeeze about half of the trigger pressure. Fortunately he instantly drops his machete and you realise he is fucking around. But had he moved towards you could you have shot that young child in his face?
                This is not a question based upon emotion but on ten years of thinking about that incident several times a day. I knew then and I know now that in my case I would have fired. This doesn’t make me great and a hero. It just made me capable of the job.
                Why are women so desperate to be as awful as men anyway?

                • Why should men have a monopoly on Awful, Kim?

                  I do think you have a point about girls and socialisation. However, there are and always have been girls who resist that socialisation, who just flat out reject it. Granted, with advances in technology and social media, girls now are more subject to relentless gender-policing than ever before, and more likely to be pathologised for showing signs of non-compliance. I was just a tom-boy in the 1970s. As a child today I might be diagnosed with a gender identity disorder rather than be allowed to grow up into the butch dyke that I am. But my point is, there is resistance from girls and women to sociocultural forces of coercion. We don’t all succumb to the seduction of the pink aisle at Toys R Us. Read any radical feminist separatist fiction to get an idea of what women think women might be capable of in a different societal context.

                  @Pirra – “Lives depend on it.”

                  Don’t you mean deaths depend on it?

                  • It doesn’t even have to be radical fiction – loads of girls and women have resisted becoming little pink decorations.

                  • I prefer the optimistic approach of lives.
                    Being able to use your weapon effectively and efficiently can mean the difference between life and death not only for your fellow soldiers but also for any civilians in the vicinity.

                • Get your hand off it, kimsonof. That’s an irrelevant question. Most of the women here have not trained in the military, just as most of the men haven’t.

                  As for your last sentence, that’s just disrespectful to men and women everywhere. Women are not trying to be like men.

                  • In this instance who are they trying to be like? Seriously who? The question is completely relevant. The fact that you or no-one else could answer it validates my point. This is all petty point scoring in the name of equality and women will die because of it. They will die violent deaths because of it. It is time you and a lot of other people started to seriously consider the reality of this policy rather than the simplistic theory of equality.

                    • Of course they are not trying to be like men. It’s about PEOPLE being able to do the jobs they are capable of, without someone saying, “nope, sorry, you might be fully capable of doing this job but you can’t because you don’t have a penis”. These are two different things and I’m surprised you can’t see this.

                      Why is a woman’s life more valuable than a man’s life, kimsonof? Men die in the military. I am fully aware of that, thankyouverymuch. But why should my notions of the jobs I would like to do and not like to do, dictate what jobs are available to others? I don’t want anyone to be in the military, but I’m not so arrogant as to demand that everyone feels the same way.

                    • They have done no research so they actually don’t have a clue if they are capable. If women enter the infantry and have no trouble pulling the trigger then we will be lucky. I am just concerned that without having bothered to look into whether that will occur, the government is being disgracefully reckless.

                    • Why are you talking as if the outcome here is an absolute unknown? Women have already served in armies all over the world throughout the whole of history. Not in anything like the same numbers as men; not as a given, as it often was for men, but they were and are already there, and it is insulting to erase them.
                      The “reality of this policy” is that no one should be dying stupid deaths in violent circumstances, but if they are going to have to, it is better that they be well-informed people who have actively chosen to be there, and it will be distressing and infuriating when it happens, but no more so than when a man dies, because all people are valuable.

                    • Good point Orlando, although in the majority of cases, women do not serve in direct combat roles…officially anyway..but with frontlines becoming blurred and less definitive, I’d be willing to hazard a guess that a lot of women currently serving in war zones have already been in some kind of unofficial combat role. With the exception of the Israeli Army ( the only country world wide to conscript women and have them serve in combat roles). They’ve had women in infantry from at least 2000.

    • I know, I was just reading it. Van Badham is brilliant!

    • This woman is a liar. Her first paragraph after her introduction claims that the decision was met with enthusiastic gratitude by women who actually serve in the military, a statement that links to a story about a blogger and defence force applicant. Unless things have changed since 2010 blogging and applying are not fucking trades in the ADF. Go look at the ausmilitary forum and note how many serving women are ‘enthusiastically’ planning their transfers.

  15. I love her! She gets right down into the deeper murkier fears that men seem to have about this.

  16. Kim – “They will die violent deaths because of it.”
    We’re already dying violent deaths, Kim!


  17. Oh sorry, yeah my bad. Shoulda used his full name.

  18. Anyway in closing as I respect most of the commenters here I will leave this issue alone before id degenerates into a slanging match. Once again although we disagree I can only admire the intelligence and maturity with which debate is handled here.
    I really do hope that females show me up on this one.
    Next topic.

  19. A few comments in point form….

    – I agree with the decision to open up all roles to women, but I do think it’s a short term political move. If you’re physically, psychologically and emotionally competent to perform in the infantry, then what’s in your pants shouldn’t exclude you.
    – I think hormone treatment will physically  (ie intervention with Implanon or the Pill) assist women in the field and should be a viable option.
    – Women are currently serving in roles that are attached to infantry sections eg medics. They’re also trained to kill and they also train our soldiers during basic training. Moot point.
    – Like Pirra, I think the physical fitness and competency standards should be the same for all, across relevant age bands.
    – Theoretically, this change should take a while to filter through the organisation and I’m thinking 5yrs to be regular feature of infantry.  I *do* think it’ll be a long time to see any of this come to fruition if standards remain the same or are standardised and tightened up to suit (there is a current study being done re: physical conditioning by Wollongong University on this atm).
    – SF/SAS is notoriously difficult for *anyone* to get into; I believe it’ll remain much the same, regardless of removing the gender restrictions.
    – I don’t honestly believe that capacity for violence has much to do with gender at all. If you do think like that, then it’d be comparable to suggest that men cannot parent as well as women or that they cannot be nurturing with children (which is absolute rot)

  20. The Australia defence science minister’s announcement of allowing women to serve in combat has a condition that women will have to prove they are physically capable of performing on the same level as their male colleagues. Is that fair?
    If the minister’s point was to be made a rule that only women who meet the same physical level of performance as men would be selected to serve in combat then we would see that the selection would include women who meet that requirement and the selection process would be considered fair. But, is the rule fair?
    Before, Australian women were excluded from serving in combat but due to probably stakeholder pressure and I believe world affirmative action, the Australian government has to be seen move with the tide and hence came up with the new considerations. The rule alone would let the women in however, the addition of women having to prove physical performance at the same level as male counter parts would seem as though it will achieve the same objective of excluding women from combat. Richards (1993, p.338) said ’The only conceivable reason for a rule or practice exclude women is its perpetrators thinking that without such a rule women would have to be let in’. This has been proved by the Australian minister’s announcement that women will have to prove their physical performance level to be the same level as their male counterparts because without that rule then women would serve in combat very easily. From this, my question is why the same level as their male colleagues? Is that the best level for the Australian defence forces? Australian women have been excluded from the combat for as long as the Australian defence forces have existed. How then, do the Australian government know that women’s physical performance level is not better than their male counterparts? Is the rule not a way of justifying that women should not be allowed to serve in combat. The world has proved that women can serve in combat and they can excellently do it as their male counterparts and in some circumstances even better. A good example can be the female soldier who Mr Smith said was “the best shot in her platoon” but could not serve as a sniper in Afghanistan simply because of her gender.
    The general assumptions that women are physically weaker than men do not hold substance and have been proven wrong by some researchers. For example, a study was conducted in May 1995, which debunked the myth and showed how women were able to perform the traditional male tasks in combat (Skein 1999). Cohn (2008) identified that women scored high marks in leadership and other top jobs but the reason why they are not there is because they are held up by men. I believe that as long as these facts are disregarded and women are excluded from combat assignments, women will never be able to obtain the highest positions offered in the military. I have known some pretty weak men who would not protect their own son in a crisis or combat situation and some strong women who have fought in combat with riffles and have won the battles.
    We should also remember that nowadays and the future, considering the way technology is developing, very little will be done using physical muscle. Computers, robotics and others are now tomorrow’s heavy loads and riffles; therefore there is no longer need for strength as was required during the old days. In fact generals or commanders in the army do not carry riffles, they usually carry little pistons and it is still considered a combat role even though they do not go to the front line and women are still not allowed to occupy those roles.
    On the other hand why is men’s performance level being taken as the level of performance reference? Is it the same reason that women are stereotyped to perform less than men? As mentioned before Australian women have never served in combat for their level of performance to be judged, but their level of performance is already assumed to be less than that of men and that is not fair. A fair rule could be to set a general performance indicator for both male and female soldiers and who ever perform to that general performance indicator level requirement is the right person for the job. Otherwise the pure and simple rule is that all jobs should be open to women and men if the women and men are qualified, capable, competent, and able to perform them.
    On another note, Australia is not alone in this matter, there are pockets of male dominated work places throughout the whole world where organisations think that female employees cannot do certain jobs and therefore exclude them in the selection process. Female employees fail to penetrate to these work places and they end up male dominated. For example, to add to the defence forces list are the electrical engineering departments, civil engineering and many others. Their job selection processes might include women but then exclude them in their promotion processes in certain roles. The issue here is not about performance of women but about the attitude of sex discrimination which has been embedded in people for as long as those male dominated work places have existed.
    Due to unfair these job selection practices, I would suggest that a female employee be allowed to sit in employee selection panels which might affect the selection of women to ensure a free and fair job selection processes, thus affirmative action.
    My call is not for women to be compensated for the years of injustices by getting those positions without qualifications but I am calling for a free and fair job selection processes in the work places. A free and fair job selection does not mean a slack in the way women are selected but I mean that women should be allowed to compete side by side with their male counterparts, without prejudice as stipulated by Human Rights Act (1993).
    The intelligence to command a force is not limited to men alone. If men are now doing other things they never used to do, for example teaching, nursing, maternity leave and many others, what makes it so wrong for women to serve in combat alongside men.

    • Hi Tambu, and welcome to the News with Nipples. The point you raise about men holding women back through biased selection practices is a good one. Gender qquality is always presented as something women must achieve, rather than something everyone must achieve.

  21. Tambu is right. It does assume that male capacity, whatever that might be, is the default, the benchmark standard that everyone should be measured against. Blah.

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