There will be a longer post about this (hopefully) tomorrow, but briefly a response to this:
1. There are arguments that I will buy, to a point, about women in combat. One of those arguments is that women should have to meet the physical requirements necessary to complete assignments, including having the upper-body strength to drag or carry a grown man a grown man off the field. But that’s not an argument against disallowing all women in combat. It is an argument for why, if we open up the military to everyone, there will probably still be more men than women in the military. Men tend to be faster and have greater upper body strength, but there is of course substantial overlap in speed and strength between women and men. Women as a whole shouldn’t be penalized because women on average are smaller than men.
2. People say “war is Hell” for a reason. I, personally, would never want to join the military for that exact reason. But for the women who do sign up? They aren’t delicate flowers. And nothing in Smith’s description of the Hell of war would be influenced by having a vagina.
3. At the end of it, Smith’s argument comes down to, “I don’t want to poop in front of a girl.” He writes:
Societal norms are a reality, and their maintenance is important to most members of a society. It is humiliating enough to relieve yourself in front of your male comrades; one can only imagine the humiliation of being forced to relieve yourself in front of the opposite sex.
Despite the professionalism of Marines, it would be distracting and potentially traumatizing to be forced to be naked in front of the opposite sex, particularly when your body has been ravaged by lack of hygiene. In the reverse, it would be painful to witness a member of the opposite sex in such an uncomfortable and awkward position. Combat effectiveness is based in large part on unit cohesion. The relationships among members of a unit can be irreparably harmed by forcing them to violate societal norms.
Apparently shitting in a bag and peeing in water bottles “inches from our comrades” isn’t violating any particular social norm if those comrades are men.
Look, I feel him: I don’t want to poop in front of a boy, either! But uh, if I were dropped in the middle of Iraq, hadn’t showered in a month and was covered in blood and sores, that would be among the least of my worries.
And it definitely wouldn’t be a reason to bar all men from doing the same job as me.
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