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September 09, 2004

But I'm a GIRL!

And here is where I go on a gender equity rant.

But first, a declaration - I don't personally identify with the term "feminist." It's become such a loaded word that it doesn't serve my purpose, and I don't particularly care enough to try and reclaim it for myself (but more power to the people who are willing to fight that fight). However, I believe without a shadow of a doubt that I am equal to any man - to anyone - and the first person who tries to tell me otherwise will be rewarded with my boot upside their head.

With that out of the way ... today's NY Times includes a feature written by Monica Davey (an excellent writer, by the way), called For 1,000 Troops, There Is No Going Home. It's a wonderful article about what kinds of people are actually dying in Iraq, demographically speaking.

There is a section on women in the military, and how 24 women have died in Iraq (the most in a war since WWII). This is attributed to women being much closer to the front line of combat, even if they're still not yet allowed to actually fight (Yeah, right). Here is a quote:

But others, like Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, an independent public policy group in Livonia, Mich., said Americans were largely oblivious to the role women were playing in Iraq and would be disturbed if they knew. Female soldiers who die receive little attention, she said, except in small hometown newspapers; the same is true of the 207 women who have been injured in Iraq. ...

"The risk of capture is why we oppose women in combat," said Ms. Donnelly, who wants the Pentagon to reconsider the jobs close to combat that women now hold. "We're a civilized nation. Violence against women is wrong. I hope that we don't become that kind of a nation that doesn't care about this sort of thing."

Okay, no. I don't want to hear this "violence against women is wrong" nonsense, because if you tack on the phrase that is implied - "... but violence against men is okay" - then the statement is shown to be what it truly is: ridiculous.

I hope we don't become the kind of nation that believes ones GENDER determines their inherent value and the way they should be treated. Because, you see - women can be just as horrible as men. Just as violent and vile. It's the person, not the genitals.

I know, I know - testosterone is a bitch. Estrogen isn't? I can buy the argument that men are, per capita, more violent than women. But I know absolutely that women are capable of the exact same behavior. The fact that there are a proportionately greater number of men imprisoned for violent crimes is not solely a matter of biology and genetic programming - it's also the result of societal factors.

If a woman joins the military knowing what the risks are - that her role could bring her close to combat, and therefore there is the chance that she could die serving her country - then by all means let her take on the same level of risk as a male soldier in her position. Why shouldn't she? Her life is no more intrinsically valuable than a man's ... and her sacrifice would be no less meaningful.

Posted by Highwaygirl on September 9, 2004 12:30 PM to the category Political Rants

I did a whole "persuasive speech" on why women should be able to serve in front-line combat in high school. Actually, I used that speech several times through college, too. *cough*

Posted by: Teem at September 9, 2004 01:14 PM

All I can really say to this is "word". My thoughts on this are just too long to get into here, but your entry pretty much sums it up.

Posted by: Genny at September 9, 2004 02:14 PM

In MrK's Marines training this summer, some of the people from the women's platoon were asking about whether they would eventually be allowed to go into combat. Basically, the instructor spouted the party line, which is similar but somewhat more detailed that the quote above: They believe women who are captured would likely be sexually tortured and that the nation as a whole couldn't handle it. I guess the counter-assumption to that is that men wouldn't be sexually tortured, or that the nation as a whole could handle that if it happened, and I don't think either of those are necessarily true.

Posted by: kicks at September 16, 2004 12:16 AM
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