Panetta Opens Combat Roles To Women, The Twitterverse Doesn’t Want To See Mom In Combat

shutterstock_64835923Pentagon 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:

 

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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:

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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.

Amen, sister.

(photo: Daniel Alvarez/ Shutterstock.com)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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    • Lastango

      “Whatever arguments exist that position themselves against the idea of women in combat are predominantly framed in a sexist, gender-constricting, stereotypical bias.”
      Are you well-read on this subject?

      • waffre

        Do you know what “predominantly” means? Especially since the quote is contextually referring to what people commenting on the internet think, not the people whose job it is to actually weigh the pros and cons of women in combat.

      • Lastango

        Do you know what “Whatever arguments exist…” means? The post makes multiple references outside of the views of internet commenters, and provides a link to a pro-and-con-weighing article by Jessica Valenti, plus a quote:

        “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.”

        This is described as “brilliant”, and applauded with “amen”.

        If the author had intended to refer only to idle chatter on Twitter, she would have left it at that. But she didn’t — perhaps because we might have wondered why any blogger would bother combing twitter for off-the-mark comments when we all know those can be found for any position on any topic.

      • Blooming_Babies

        Are you well read on the subject? I assume based on the comment that you feel there are valid reasons to not allow women to hold these positions. Reasons that are not sexist, gender-constricting, stereotypical bias… Please do share, I’d love to hear them.

    • Danielle S.

      I serve in the U.S. Navy as a Logistics Specialist, basically, I deal with supplies. And you know what the number one target is for IEDs? Supply convoys! Yeah, I wasn’t in any danger til they passes that law. :/

      • meg

        Thank you for your courage AND your service. Women are already in incredibly dangerous situations — the greatest change is that they’re finally being acknowledged for it and rewarded accordingly.

    • Jessie

      I heard a quote from somewhere on this subject: “Valor knows no gender.”

      I think this sums up just about everything I feel on this subject. The fact that women were not allowed in combat since the SECOND they were allowed to join the military in jobs as more than secretaries, nurses and other suppor roles is as absolutely ridiculous as open homosexuals previously not being allowed. I’m glad to see that old fashioned thinking be thrown out the window, personally. Our civilization does not need it, and it’s not like women HAVEN’T ALREADY been killed in the military anyway, sheesh.

    • Kat

      The “benevolent sexism” is pretty silly. Soldiers know what they’re signing up for. Even if you’re just driving a supply truck, you’re already risking your life (you’re actually more likely to be an enemy target in many of the roles women were allowed to have). Either let women try out for any position in the military, or enact a blanket ban on them all. It’s not like the US military was being a kindly gentleman to its women recruits before, and is suddenly putting them in terrible danger now.

      I also don’t get the “mom” argument. Is a woman’s life more valuable than other women’s lives if she has reproduced? I personally think that if you have a family you should not be risking your life at your job (regardless of gender) for the sake of not orphaning the kids and/or leaving the other parent single and destitute…. but we sure don’t apply this standard to men. Why don’t we give a crap when a father dies in combat? Is it because we consider parenthood pretty far down the list of male priorities but all-important to a woman? Shouldn’t your family come first no matter who you are?

      Also: we’ve had women in combat since WW2 people. When the government is desperate, they don’t give a crap. Look up the biographies of women like Lydia Ltvyak, Anna Yegorova, and Kim Campbell if you want to wash the gross taste of condescending sexism out of your mouth.

      • meg

        Women should be mothers first! Fathers are incidental, but mothers are the only true parents! ::eyeroll::

        A fair number of people actually believe that. We need to re-evaluate our WHOLE relationship with gender, as a culture, before we can truly begin to make things right.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      I really don’t get this “especially mothers” thing. Lots of children lost their fathers in war. It sucks. Both situations suck. But if we can send a father to war, why not a mother?

    • DMH

      As a female and a veteran (and just having reenlisted), there are several areas that I have issues with, particularly the possibility of females in Special Operations. I hate to say it, but there are just some places that women shouldn’t be–SOF being one of them. When I deployed back in ’09, it was crazy the amount of drama and screwing around going on. Officers sleeping with enlisted, enlisted sleeping with enlisted, adultery, pregnancies, and ensuing arguments due to the drama. It destroyed unit cohesiveness. Whether you want to admit it or not, males and females cannot and should not work together in the SOF environment. If the government wants to establish an entirely new entity comprised of females, be my guest. But I think a lot of us know how that will turn out– just being realistic here. You can be all “I am woman– hear me roar” as much as you’d like, but I just don’t think it’s a great idea. The military is not a place for social experimentation, and that is exactly what this is. Flame away, ladies. I’m sure there’s a group of female vets/service members out there that know exactly what I’m talking about.

    • ftb34@yahoo.com

      What a stupid idea it is to put women in combat. For the incredibly small minority of women who can handle it, let them have their own units. Why do we now have to be forced into sharing intimate space with members of the opposite sex for weeks and months at a time? Why do we have to pretend that this won’t cause problems when it does everywhere else in the military? Why do we have to put ourselves into even more danger in the name of radical feminism? There is NO argument for putting women into combat at the expense of our safety you idiots!

    • grti98@yahoo.com

      What a stupid idea it is to put women in combat. For the incredibly
      small minority of women who can handle it, let them have their own
      units. Why do we now have to be forced into sharing intimate space with
      members of the opposite sex for weeks and months at a time? Why do we
      have to pretend that this won’t cause problems when it does everywhere
      else in the military? Why do we have to put ourselves into even more
      danger in the name of radical feminism? There is NO argument for
      putting women into combat at the expense of our safety you idiots!