Pentagon Chief Leon Panetta officially removed the longstanding ban on women in combat this week, “opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after generations of limits on their service.” Many people are happy about this move, as it shows a move for even greater equality and recognition for women in the military. Others just don’t want to see their mom in combat. Or anyone’s mom. Mom’s don’t belong in combat – according to the all-knowing Twitterverse:
I hate to break it to all of these people, but women already are serving in combat. The AP reports:
The necessities of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, propelled women into jobs as medics, military police and intelligence officers that were sometimes attached — but not formally assigned — to battalions. So while a woman couldn’t be assigned as an infantryman in a battalion going out on patrol, she could fly the helicopter supporting the unit, or move in to provide medical aid if troops were injured.
And these conflicts, where battlefield lines are blurred and insurgents can lurk around every corner, have made it almost impossible to keep women clear of combat.
So basically, they are performing these roles but not getting any recognition for it. How weird. That never happens to women in any other field. Giving women the right to train and prepare for these positions is fair and just.
Also, the mother argument is just infuriating. Are many of these soldiers not fathers? Does anyone ever hold that up as a reason that they should not be in combat? It’s refreshing to see that we are moving to break away from the stereotype that women play a more essential role in as caregivers than men. It’s limiting to women and completely unfair to men. Whatever arguments exist that position themselves against the idea of women in combat are predominantly framed in a sexist, gender-constricting, stereotypical bias. Mothers can’t leave their children! Women are too emotional! They will be raped! Doesn’t anyone care about that?
Personally, I like Jessica Valenti‘s take:
And since she’s so brilliant, I’ll end with her words, too:
What lifting the ban on women in combat will really mean is more opportunity for career advancement. The ACLU points out that women will now be eligible for tens of thousands of jobs that were once only available to men.
But perhaps even more importantly, it will start to chip away at the benevolent sexism that clouds our culture and suggests that inequality is just another form of chivalry.