The Estrogen Edition
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 | Author: Mad Typist
There's a great article in the L.A. Times about the role of women in combat. The article contends that the issue of opening all positions (including combat positions) to women will have to be addressed in the next few years. This is an interesting question and it doesn't have easy answers. I do believe that women are less physically strong than men on average, and that's a legitimate concern. There's also the concern about what the American public will think, and what our adversaries will do.
Policymakers would need to confront societal taboos against putting women in jeopardy, including the risk of rape that captured female soldiers commonly face. They also would have to tackle such issues as whether women could be involuntarily assigned to the infantry or required to register for the draft.
I personally believe that jobs that truly require massive physical strength and endurance should probably stay unavailable for most women (i.e. infantry, special forces). Now, I do think that there are exceptional women who are more physically capable than average (I met a female Marine recruit in college who could out-run most of the men), and they should have the opportunity to join those career fields. But they are going to have to be held to the same physical standards as their male counterparts (and in fact should have to place near the top of the PT test male scores).

The simple fact of the matter is that women are in combat, whether we like it or not. Recruiting is down and the unorthodox nature of urban warfare means that the battlespace is not easily defined. Women are ending up in firefights just like male soldiers. And many of them are excelling. It just doesn't make sense to keep them out. It's been well documented that career advancement (particularly in the Marines and Army) often relies on having deployed and combat experience, so women soldiers will need that to truly have an equal opportunity to advance.

I really like this idea:
The Air Force's most senior female fighter pilot, Col. Martha McSally, has even called for eliminating dress code and grooming distinctions.

"Women's hair should be at least cut extremely short upon entering basic training in all services," she wrote in a Duke University law journal last year. "Uniforms should be standardized, and skirts, high heels and pantyhose should be removed from the military uniform."
I've always thought that allowing long hair is a ridiculous idea. Trust me, as a woman I can confirm that having long hair in demanding situations (i.e. field training) is an extra logistical nightmare that unnecessarily distracts the woman. I can't imagine trying to maintain a long hairstyle in the field. I agree that entering basic training females should have a short cut - the Air Force Academy already does that for new recruits, and the female cadets all seemed to have gotten over it. I'd also add that any woman deploying to a combat zone should maintain a short hairstyle.

In sports news, it was a rough day for the ladies at the Indy 500. Sarah Fisher cracked up her car pretty good when she ended up t-boning another driver who had spun out in front of her. Danica Patrick was running a decent race (probably would have finished at 7th place or so), when another driver smashed into her in pit lane. It was fun to see the diminutive Patrick start striding down to confront the other driver (security held her back, which is good because she looked pissed).

Also, I'm trying to get people together for the upcoming Washington Mystics vs. L.A. Sparks game on Saturday, May 31st. If you'd like to go, post in the comments or shoot me an email.
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