A female Marine writes:
Maybe I’m in the wrong here, but I don’t think the big challenge will be getting women physically ready; it will be getting grunts to accept us. The Lioness and FET programs were great, but (speaking from second-hand knowledge here) any patrol that expected contact left its girls behind the wire. I cannot be the only female Marine who has walked into a shop of men and gotten an eye roll. Or spoken to like I had a mental disability. Or, occasionally, called honey or baby.I have also worked with grunts. And they for one do not think we can do it, and don’t want us there. I’m just a lowly enlisted lady jarhead and maybe things are different on the officer side (I suspect they are). But, if enlisted men don’t want women among them, they certainly will not be led by one. Maybe if male and female recruits were taught from day to respect each other at boot camp this mentality could change.
I don’t want to completely discount the physical differences, but I don’t think they are insurmountable. Can I pull a 200lb man from a burning tank? No, not by myself. But I would like to see the statistics of men who can actually pull that much dead weight out of a hole. Once we know what we’re up against, it will take some time to adapt but it will happen. As one comment already pointed out, look at the televised women’s Crossfit competitions.
I applaud the woman who wants to take on this cross. But I’m too old to still have things to prove. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a great step. But the military is still very much a man’s world. Don’t underestimate how this is going to change the entire culture, especially of the Marine Corps.
When I was a kid I thought seriously about joining the military. I hated the thought of implicitly endorsing DADT by joining the military. I still took the tests to see what type of job they’d fit me to, however. The soldier administering it said I would be a good fit for artillery. I thought: Artillery, drats – I was hoping for something cool like Codes or PsyOps. Then he continued, but you are a girl (or maybe he said female), and so we’d put you in something like Mechanics instead.
This conversation has always stuck with me because it was the only time in my entire life I had been told I could not do something because I am a woman. The only time. At least let me try and pick up a shell and let me show you I’d suck at the job! To tell me flat out that the US Government would rather have someone less qualified than me in a role based on my biology was shocking to this former 18 year old. I did not join the military, partially on that reason.
Read the entire Dish thread on women in combat here.