Law School Discussion

Poll

Do you believe women should be placed into/allowed into combat situations in the US military?

No, the army is not societyís testing ground
No, itís unfair, but it is too much of a distraction for male soldiers in dangerous situations
No, other reasons
Yes, there is no justifiable reason women should be discriminated against
Yes, women can be more capable than men in this area
Yes, other reasons
Yes, but ONLY if they are held to equal standards

Women in combat situations

h2xblive

Re: Women in combat situations
« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2006, 07:11:37 PM »
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Why not?

on the most basic level its the "can guys and girls truely be ONLY friends" question, which we all know too well from civilian life. now take that question and add life and death, and trusting someone completely, and very akward situations, and you see its probably not an ideal fit. its not that you can't trust a woman, but, well, its not uncommon to have to sh*t in a helmet infront of your crew when they're less than 2 feet away with nothing to cover you because you can't step out of the tank in the foreseeable future...you have to be more than just friends. there can be no bounderies of discomfort, no akwardness. how many girls would be willing to switch tempons or wipe (from front to back), infront of three guys? how many guys would be willing to do their business infront of a woman? and most importantly, how would this impact the performance of the crew? ive seen women who drive a tank better than i can, and know the names of all the small parts of the M2, but I'd still rather have three dudes be around me when I look, smell, and feel like crap.

It's amazing that in a situation where you can die in the next three seconds, awkwardness is an issue.

No, I'm not calling you out on what you're saying or disagreeing.  I'm just saying that it's rather ironic.

guyminuslife

Re: Women in combat situations
« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2006, 07:34:37 PM »
not all comat is the same. where i served, women serve combativly as artiliary and AA gunners, MPs, border police, combat medics, and pilots, and do just as well as their male counter-parts. even in artilarry where you gotta be strong enough to pick up shells, some women do well, but these same women can also probably play football for Cal. there are also women in combative infantry, and there exprience had proven pretty poor. the problem isn't with strength, its with putting men and women together in combat, with issues of disipline and authority. don't forget that today combat isn't always 24 hours of war, there are many hours of just sitting around and waiting, and two guys might pass dead hours in the middle of the desert differently from a guy and a girl. women can physically be in combat, but there are some jobs that benefit from having all guys. i was a tanker, and couldnt imagine having a woman on my crew, not because i think she would not be good crewmember (though to be honest, being a loader or driver could be very tough for most women), but because you spend sometimes a week straight in a tank together, and get so close that you can tell who farted by the smell alone. its very important for the survival of the team to be that close, and that kind of comfort can't exist in co-ed teams.

Why not?

I disagree with the conclusion but I think there's a grain of truth to that statement---not an absolute truth, but a smaller, more relative one. I've noticed recently in my own interactions that I tend to work better with males than with females. That's not to say that I work better with all males than with all females; this is not a rule, just a tendency. Some females I can work with much better than most males, but more often than not, the opposite is true. This isn't because females are less qualified to do the kind of work that we're doing, or that I dislike women, or even anything having to do with sexual tension. It's that because of the way that males and females are differently socialized, I have more common experience with most males and can more easily establish a rapport. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this.

However, I don't think that this pattern of interaction is pronounced enough to formulate any general rules based upon it---certainly not discriminatory policies. The same could be said about Trekkies; I don't have much rapport with them either. (Firefly FTW! Malcolm Reynolds pwns Kirk! This could quickly devolve into a fistfight.) So I don't see that as a valid rationale.

Funny, I've never noticed that when working with men or women, whether it be in school or at work.

I only noticed it recently, and like I said it's only a slight tendency. I generally interact with both sexes equally poorly. ;-) I'm not trying to say that this is the case always, I'm merely pointing out that I apparently have a personal bias, and I am hypothesizing that the reasons I have cited for this trend may also apply, to a greater or lesser extent, to other (but not all) individuals.

(I also think that because bias is politically incorrect, many people do not honestly attempt to examine their own unconscious biases and will claim to be completely unbiased---and believe it---when, in fact, they do experience bias. I constantly re-evaluate myself to try to bring my unconscious biases to the surface, where I am able to wash my dirty laundry rather than attempt to hide it.)

I think that the process of military socialization causes these trends to become more pronounced with soldiers. I don't think that this is a justification for excluding women from the military, however: I think it's cause for the dominant social construction of militarism to be re-evaluated. To do so would be considered "hardcore feminism." It's not the kind of thing that would go over well, but hey, what's right isn't always what's popular.

Yes, that's right, I'm a male feminist who experiences slight bias against working relationships with females. It's not Manichaean.

God, I sound like a f-ing professor. All highfallutin talk about "dominant paradigms," no bacon.

tzip

Re: Women in combat situations
« Reply #32 on: October 27, 2006, 07:39:24 PM »
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I'm curious to see your stance on putting together all women tank crews.
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im all for it, as long as they perform as well as their male counterparts.

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Everyone I know states "women can too be in infantry.  Israel's done it!".  So now I'll at least question them a bit more or do some research myself.

hey, my story is only one soldier's story. im sure other guys can tell you other stories based on their opinion. i havent been everywhere and seen everything, i only write what i know.

It's amazing that in a situation where you can die in the next three seconds, awkwardness is an issue.
ask soldiers who get up and run into the fire why they do it and they'll tell you one or both of two things: either they did it for their friends, or they did it because they would be too ashamed to stay down while everyone else is running. the first one makes sense, and its wear akwardness comes in. complete comfort by lack of choice is what brings to comradery, can you have it without complete comfort/trust in each other? the second seems ironic. makes more sense that you would rather live to be 100 and have something to regret about, than die at 20 with no regrets. well, you're right, it is ironic, it makes no sense, but neither does war.

tzip

Re: Women in combat situations
« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2006, 07:48:15 PM »
oh and two more things:

the entire armored corps of the IDF is trained nearly entirely by some of the most professional and best looking young women in israel. goes to show you something..

since you mentioned women's intergartion in the IDF's fighting units, i want to add that same goes for gays. ive had a few gay guys in my company, some were grunts, other commanders, and while the topic never so much came up in a conversation, it was fairly well none, and not a problem, at least not on the institutional level. sure some guys would tease, but you can serve combativly, and advance in the ranks, regardless of your sexual orientation. i didnt mean to sound like im knoking the IDF. the integration may not be perfect, but its years ahead of any other military that i know.

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Re: Women in combat situations
« Reply #34 on: October 28, 2006, 04:57:49 AM »
as an aside(i LOVE asides) i wonder if your avg woman feels like she can work better with women?

I think this goes back to the socialization.  Women tend to work better in peer 'lets be friends' situations, but it can be hard to overcome working for a woman boss and knowing when to cross the line between friend and manager.  Plus, tough women bosses are seen as b1tches.  Tough men bosses are seen as good bosses.

that kind of comfort can't exist in co-ed teams.

Why not?

It's probably better put "I personally haven't seen that kind of comfort exist in coed teams".  I know coed volleyball teams that are horrible.  I know coed army units that work out great.  It's all a part of group dynamics, and that's why units train for months before deploying so that they can build up that teamwork and if needed, replace the members of the team who aren't working.  It's also the reason why leaders in the military go through training on interpersonal relationships and teambuilding. The bottom line, and the whole point I've been trying to get at is:

Let any one who wants to go to combat have a shot.  Send them to Ft. Benning.  Give them the heaviest gear.  Put them through every tough simulation that exists.  Hold everyone to the same standard.  No special "women only" steps.  No increased time for older soldiers.  And at the end of the training, so who's still there, passed the challenges, and hasn't been ostracized or sexually active with any other team members.  At the end of that study...come back here and then we'll all debate.

and should women be allowed on subs?