Poll: Women In Front Line Combat Role

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Around my neck of the world, this discussion usually comes up somewhat forcibly by people who despise warfare in general and (male) soldiers in particular. Namely, it's always the latest generation of commies, feminists, gender equality promoters and vegan pacifists. Beware of the pacifists, they bite!

My stance is this: If you are demanding equality, then equality should be what you get. No special deals, no adaptions, no changes in the theory and the lore.

Why? Well, not to be a gender nazi, but just due to the actual demands in the battlefield. Every individual absolutely has to be able to rely on the next individual, and they all have to function together as a group, a team, a unit. No problem there, you might say.

Well, when it comes to the physical bit, there are plenty of healthy young men that drop out because they don't fit the bill. Translated directly to the average female population, this can mean but one thing: We're talking a one-digit percentage of the female population that would fit the bill, and not all of them are interested in a frontline-experience military career. And then there's still the risk of having an unstable psycho or two amongst the chosen few, which would drop the number of prospects even lower.

If you lower the standards to fit the average physical condition of the average female soldier, you raise risks and willingly generate a higher probabilty of stressful situations going SNAFU just so you can live out your gender politics wet dreams. Not cool.

I can usually cut this short with uncensored frontline footage from any conflict since, say, WWI. That usually shuts them up.

I would like to sit down for a cup of tea and some serious talk with those 1% women, see what they're made of and see what their motivations are. They might be genuine, but you can't exlude 99% of women on paper. You need to set up tests, which costs time and money, both of which are finite resources. If those women actually passed those unadulterated, unmodified tests already, then, yes, don't archive that thought just yet. Just know that the frontlines are not the best place for social experiments.

As long as they perform to the same standard as male soldiers are expected to, if they can't then it risks the lives of their comrades, simple as.

Quaxar:
Women in the infantry? Don't care, but what we need brought back is a gay lover regiment. Seemed to work very well for the Thebans. And it would be hilarious for internet comedy writers.

Aye, but here's the thing: War ain't hilarious much.

If the average non-gay, non-loving soldier watches his buddy get riddled with bullets, gets his head exploded by a well placed sniper rifle or AK-47 shot or explode in a puff of blood and gore, it's plenty traumatizing enough already. Same goes for gay soldiers that have their loved ones at home, mind you.

Now, if I were to imagine any of my gay couple friends go to war together, I can tell you this: The remaining half of the couple would absolutely stop functioning. There would be no heroic super sayan moment. Maybe a suicide run, yes, but that would last about half a second or so.

Darken12:
All this is a consequence of arbitrary social mores. Men get stressed out or make risky decisions when women are in danger because society keeps insisting that women are helpless and fragile and need to be protected by men. This is patently false, but it shows up everywhere all the same.

Similarly, only 1% of women fit current male standards because we, as a society, insist that women must be thin, willowy and that anything that would give them physical strength (such as fat and muscle) are terribly undesirable. When it becomes socially desirable for women to have muscles (just like men), we'll start to see that 1% becoming 100%. And likewise, the bit about women needing more provocation and fearing the consequences of aggression have to do with the fact that women are socialised to be demure and quiet, and traits such as loudness, aggression and assertiveness are discouraged in them. Furthermore, women learn to avoid confrontational attitudes and play peacekeepers with men, something that wouldn't be necessary if they were socialised to be aggressive and value physical strength (just like men are socialised).

In short, change current societal mores and this problem disappears.

I see your point but I'm pretty sure biologically speaking men always will be stronger

There is an obvious solution, science needs to hurry up and make Amazons.

DevilWithaHalo:

Um... you think this is an issue of what society finds attractive in the respective genders? Yes, I'm sure once society deems physically fit women appealing

there is a difference between "fit" and "muscular". While there are different body types overall our society isnt too fond of "big" and "muscular" women

Men are more suited for active combat roles because only men are allowed in them. It's the way genders are treated in society as opposed to any natural law that makes men better at fighting. If women were allowed the same roles then perhaps at first you'd see differences, but eventually when it becomes the norm you wouldn't notice a thing.

Physical differences in regards to strength are irrelevant, there are standards that all soldiers must achieve for front-line combat, these would not be reduced to allow women in those roles, because they are at that level for a reason. So only women capable of meeting those physical standards would be allowed to serve in that role as it is.

So yes, as long as they pass the same tests as the guys do, then I see no reason that women should not be allowed to serve in front line combat roles.

Not that it matters what we think. It will happen eventually any way.

At a tangent, I read somewhere that psychologically speaking, women are the best submarine crew members due to the stress and pressure of living in confined space, on top of one another. Subs should be all female crewed.

Discrimination on the grounds of gender is illegal in most organisations. Religion gets a pass because they believe in magic.

There are plenty of physically demanding roles where women work just as well as men and, with the right physical training, I see no reason why women as a whole cannot reach the same physical requirements as men. Afterall, what have you got to do? Run 3 miles whilst lifting something heavy? Women can do that, no problem.

Also it could herald a golden age for the amputee porn industry.

Yes.

If a female soldier has proven herself to be capable then why not?

All this talk of testosterone is pretty irrelevant - a professional soldier can do the job and stay cool; all that Full Metal Jacket "War Face" stuff is just movie bollocks. In fact I'd go as far as testosterone kicking in and a solider losing his rag is a bad thing as a pissed off person doesn't have as good judgement as a not-pissed off person. Besides - I have encountered a female army officer delivering a bollocking and, even though it was not aimed at me (phew!), it was still pretty scary and the recipient (male and a foot taller) was actually leaning back a little as if trying to keep his distance while still standing to attention.

Strength? Give me a break...yes for the most part men are bigger than women but this is the army, where PT is pretty high on the agenda and if I, with my upper body strength of a dead chaffinch, can pick up and fire an assault rifle then I'm pretty sure a female soldier can handle it and all the other gear that a modern-day soldier has to lug around! Hand-to-hand? I've seen enough women take down men with martial arts or basic hand-hand training to know this wont be an issue either. When I used to do Taekwondo many years ago, one of the highest ranked in my Dojo was a woman and, despite being slender, could whup even the Sensei's arse! Nice lady too - very patient.

What I will say is that the bar should NOT be lowered. Admitting a sub-par female soldier for the sake of "equality" or "political correctness" would be just as dangerous as giving me a gun and a flak jacket and booting me onto the front line because not enough front line troops are lanky streaks of piss. It's dangerous for the woman in question and it's also dangerous for her colleagues.

However, as I said, if a female soldier can make the grade then she should be allowed to serve on the front line - simple as that.

I don't think women belong in front-line infantry units. They aren't the same as men, physically or psychologically. Women and men do not compete against each other in singles tennis, football, rugby, sprinting or other athletics and so on, because of the physical differences.

There will always be exceptions to every rule and while it goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway so people don't jump down my throat for saying "all women XYZ...") that out of millions of people there will be many tens, hundreds, thousands of quite capable women. However the overwhelming majority of women are physically smaller and weaker than the overwhelming majority of men. As such, they will have a greater chance of losing their lives on the front lines than their male counterparts, and further, endangering their unit and mission.

There is also the issue of sexual attraction, hormones and what have you. Lack of privacy and so on...the same reasons women do not serve aboard submarines. Months away from partners and the world, there would be sex, unwanted pregnancies and so on. Further, the menstrual cycle and fluctuating hormones/emotions women experience monthly can only hinder them.

Special forces units however are not an issue. If a woman or anyone for that matter, can meet the rigorous standards of such a unit, then there's no reason for them not be a part of it. I certainly wouldn't want to tell such a woman that news...at least not in the same room. Maybe in another country with someone else's phone...

bastardofmelbourne:

Katatori-kun:
The next question you need to ask yourself, however, is if that difference in strength matters to front line combat. Maybe 500 years ago, when soldiers needed to be able to stab each other with pikes, it mattered. Nowadays, as long as the soldier has the strength to carry their gear, it strikes me that there are much more important factors to consider- things like endurance, ability to follow orders, hand-eye coordination, and ability to make snap judgements in line with combat doctrines.

Putting aside the ridiculously rude tone of your response, I think you're underestimating the relevance of physical fitness to a modern infantry role. It's still a pretty gruelling job.

Regarding my tone, let's just say I've heard the "average" fallacy used time and time again to deny women their rightful place in various industries, and I no longer have the time or patience to kindly hold someone by the hand as I explain what is wrong with that argument. Incidentally, the discrimination cuts both ways. Despite my spending tens of thousands of dollars on post-grad education in the field and spending years training, there are people who say I can't be a good language teacher to young people because women are on average more nurturing than men. So let's just dispense with the discriminatory fallacies all around, shall we?

I have no doubt that the military is a grueling job. I never questioned it. But the exertion of being in the military is different from raw muscular strength. There is more to physical fitness than raw muscle mass, which is the chief area men are claimed to have a collective potential advantage over women.

Very generally, my answer is simple: no.

While there are exceptions to any reason I might contrive, my reasoning is simply based on the following. Generally, women are smaller and weaker than men, conditions that impair their ability to carry the heavy loads required for frontline combat and effectively engage in a wide variety of combat situations. Beyond that, they have an extremely high incidence rate of hip injuries as a result of attempting to carry said heavy loads, well beyond what males of similar condition face. Then there are issues of hygiene and health - it simply requires more to keep a female healthy than it does males.

There may be some argument to be made about ancient gender roles ensuring males are psychologically more suited for combat but it's hard to hear that sort of argument without wondering if that assertion itself is just the result of socially enforced gender roles.

There is one thing to be said, it is that if a female is going to serve on the front line, she had better meet the same standards as men. Currently, in the US at least, females are held to a much lower physical standard than males. For example, the two mile run time limit for an 18 year old female was over 18 minutes while a male's was 14:47. My own experience was that females were, in general, worse at every obvious combat related task asked of them. They fared poorly in hand to hand training, a surprising number had trouble handling and firing the relatively light M-16 and few could even bring the (still relatively light) M249 to their shoulder and maintain any sort of of sight picture. The run time for females in my unit averaged 3 minutes worse than those of males and I only met two women in the army who could actually meet the male standard for pushups. To put it another way, if you ignore the problems of health and hygiene and ignore the arguments about psychology given how flimsy the evidence one way or another is, the one requirement you still need is that a female can do anything a male can. Anything less than that undermines the effectiveness of the unit as a whole at a fundamental level.

Katatori-kun:

I have no doubt that the military is a grueling job. I never questioned it. But the exertion of being in the military is different from raw muscular strength. There is more to physical fitness than raw muscle mass, which is the chief area men are claimed to have a collective potential advantage over women.

You are correct in part I suppose. While I'm confident an 18 year old female at peak physical condition could run a two mile course in well under 18 minutes, you can examine the times of runs of all distances and you'd inevitably find that men, as a group, simply run any distance faster. When considering something as simple as a short patrol, the capacity to bear and maneuver under heavy load, both helped in part by "strength" (and by muscular endurance) is important. A rifleman carrying nothing more than a few liters of water, a uniform, ballistic protection, rifle, and various bits of gear they must carry produces a load that easily tops 40 pounds. Longer ranged patrols or patrols that require a heavier and more complete loadout easily reaches 60 pounds in short order. And that's the rifleman - the guy who carries the lightest weapon and ammunition load. Grenadiers can easily add 20 pounds to that. Automatic riflemen more than 30.

While, again, there are exceptions to any particular trend one might cite, women, in general, are going to have a much harder time meeting the same standards a male would. But even in spite of all of that, there are considerations above and beyond the oft cited physical differences as I pointed out in my previous post.

Jedi-Hunter4:

Meaning of Karma:
If a woman meets the physical requirements needed for front line combat, then yes, let them do it. If they don't, then no.

It's that fucking simple.

its not though, because as I said there's research that's been done which suggests it can have very negative effects psychologically on male soldiers that are totally involuntary and at the current time (possibly due to lack of research) seemingly unavoidable. Which is the point I was trying to make freedom of equality & opportunity could cost someone their life. An there are those that seem to think this is justified. which I'm inclined to disagree with.

could that not be avoided by having all female groups? i have literally no idea how any of this works so this is a genuine question

Meaning of Karma:
If a woman meets the physical requirements needed for front line combat, then yes, let them do it. If they don't, then no.

It's that fucking simple.

Why not give them an easier way to achieve frontline duty like they have in a lot of other professions/fields? Heck, let's implement a fucking quota so that 50% of the frontlines consist of women.

Next popular poll: Squeeze out a baby or serve on the front line, both applicable to both genders, take your pick and mark your gender.

While I do support equal rights however a woman soldier spokeperson did went to my Highschool during a career talk about it.

That topic was raise and she made a justify statement to why women soldier are not in the front line (I can't remember the exact reasons but I think one of them is male are more stronger than female but don't quote me on that since it was ages ago). Granted I don't know if she truely means that or just being told to say that.

I suppose to the women who do want to be put in the front line should be allow to that is if they did had the proper training for it.

Fodder Aplenty:

Jedi-Hunter4:

Meaning of Karma:
If a woman meets the physical requirements needed for front line combat, then yes, let them do it. If they don't, then no.

It's that fucking simple.

its not though, because as I said there's research that's been done which suggests it can have very negative effects psychologically on male soldiers that are totally involuntary and at the current time (possibly due to lack of research) seemingly unavoidable. Which is the point I was trying to make freedom of equality & opportunity could cost someone their life. An there are those that seem to think this is justified. which I'm inclined to disagree with.

could that not be avoided by having all female groups? i have literally no idea how any of this works so this is a genuine question

it's not a stupid question, but it doesn't work like that. something like that might have worked in one of the world wars maybe, when armies formed neat long lines and duked it out with each other until one side ran out of dudes or got pushed back to their capital, respectively. i don't know, i wasn't there. but in modern combat scenarios you don't interact just with people from your unit, it's a huge mixup and you run into and work and fight with people from numerous other outfits.

the whole thing is, as i said, a non issue though. many modern european armies have females in combat roles and it works like a charm, without any of the problems some foresee here.

Headdrivehardscrew:
Around my neck of the world, this discussion usually comes up somewhat forcibly by people who despise warfare in general and (male) soldiers in particular. Namely, it's always the latest generation of commies, feminists, gender equality promoters and vegan pacifists. Beware of the pacifists, they bite!

Around here, it seems to always be the anti-feminists who bring this stuff up to show how opressed men are and that the women should stop whining.

Headdrivehardscrew:

My stance is this: If you are demanding equality, then equality should be what you get. No special deals, no adaptions, no changes in the theory and the lore.

Unless those are antiquated. After all, we now know that women can be trusted to do stuff like operate motor vehicles without their wombs wandering to their head and causing them to freak out and crash.
But your stance seems to be that there shouldn't be equality. If a woman is physically and mentally fit to do the job, why not allow them?

Headdrivehardscrew:

I can usually cut this short with uncensored frontline footage from any conflict since, say, WWI. That usually shuts them up.

What has that got to do with anything? I'm anti-war, and I'd never enlist to an army, not that I'd even qualify, but if some women want to do it, not my bussiness.

Kathinka:
4 years light infantry in the czech army here.

it works, and it works well. the germans do it. the czech army does it. the french army does it, one of the most powerful and probably one of the most underestimated fighting forces in the world, with the highest portion of women in any western military force.
all those issues go out of the window when it gets serious. you stop looking at the people with you as guys or girls, they are soldiers. you don't even think about it for a single second.

i think the resistance against it in the u.s. stems from the fact that less women are physicly capable. what do we do about that? do we set the same physical fitness standards for women and men, making it effectively extremely difficult for any girls to be admitted in a combat role (yes, girls are physicaly weaker than guys on average, get over it), or do we apply a lower standard to females, effectively reducing the overall quality of soldiers?

probably too much of such stuff that could cause a headache, hence they don't bother with it at all.

Isn't this fairly much the same for all European armies? I don't recall the Netherlands banning females from combat, it seems it's mostly an US/England thing.

I'm fine with females going to war, so long they can complete their training like males do. The whole "women on average are weaker" argument is bs when so many women could easily kick my ass and that of many other guys.

Meaning of Karma:
If a woman meets the physical requirements needed for front line combat, then yes, let them do it. If they don't, then no.

It's that fucking simple.

Pretty much this. So long as someone can meet the standard physical and mental requirements needed to be in the infantry, I don't really care if they're a man, woman, gay or straight. They're certainly braver than me, regardless :)

It isn't like this is the olden days with people swinging around battleaxes and flails. You don't have to be Ragnor the barbarian to kill someone with an M-16. Physical endurance, natural athleticism and the ability to mentally handle the battlefield are more important to modern soldiers than just pure, physical strength.

The "unit cohesion" arguments were the same thing used to keep don't ask don't tell in effect for so long, and those fears turned out to be completely false. If someone has the right set of physical skills, courage and mindset to be in front-line combat, it doesn't matter what they are, or who they like to have sex with when they aren't fighting.

Vault101:
there is a difference between "fit" and "muscular". While there are different body types overall our society isnt too fond of "big" and "muscular" women

True, perhaps it's just the mere thought of a correlation between beauty standards and front line combat I find so ridiculous.

...then again... I do know of a few folks that joined specifically because of the meat market... sad.

What is baffling me right now is the lack of understanding of the words, "on average." On average women are smaller and weaker than men, but that does not mean ALL women. This means there are women who can be as big and as strong as men!

On average, men are bigger and stronger, but this means there are men that are weaker and smaller than women. These men wouldn't pass for the military, right? They are unfit for the position if they can't meet the standards. If there are women capable of meeting the standards of the men, women who pass all the training and proves their perfect for the front lines, why turn them away because most women can't? If most women can't meet the standards, then they won't when they try, they won't get that far in the ranks and tests to be able to go on the front lines. The women who can should be allowed to.

And the whole thing about men having mental issues when seeing a woman be attacked. Really? It's not as disturbing at all to see men get gunned down? There is no desire in men at all to protect and help out his fellow man? Toughen up. It's the military not a fantasy story where the warrior protects the princess.

Well, a bullet don't care if you're a woman or a man. Though I think that the tests should be the same. Of course, robots are the way forward, guys.

Obviously if a woman has shown herself to be physically capable then there's no reason she shouldn't be allowed. I'm certain that very few woman are capable, but that should exclude that small percentage.

As to the psychological factors: I'd want a full psych eval workup on the individual, but I'd guess many of the qualified individuals have a mental constitution to match their physical strength.

I have studied physiology extensively at the graduate level and aside from the differences strength,ect that others have mentioned there are also subtle differences in the location of blood vessels. Females have more superficial vessels than do males and are actually more likely to lose more blood from a similar wound than a male.

Jedi-Hunter4:

Meaning of Karma:
If a woman meets the physical requirements needed for front line combat, then yes, let them do it. If they don't, then no.

It's that fucking simple.

its not though, because as I said there's research that's been done which suggests it can have very negative effects psychologically on male soldiers that are totally involuntary and at the current time (possibly due to lack of research) seemingly unavoidable. Which is the point I was trying to make freedom of equality & opportunity could cost someone their life. An there are those that seem to think this is justified. which I'm inclined to disagree with.

I know some israeli women who served in the IDF who would argue the point with you.

No, and for two main reasons im sure numerous people have listed.

One physical fitness, of course this can be solved if fit enough as OP states the 1%.

Two, mental effect on other male frontline soldiers. No soldiers are not animals who can't control themselves, but I am under the impression that if a male soldier sees a female soldier injured he is 'supposedly' more inclined to stop doing his job and help her, than if it was one of his male counterparts, thus putting more people at risk than if it was male only.

So yeah i don't believe women should be allowed to serve in the infantry on the front line, though i do believe they can pilot planes, helicopters, tanks etc and be deployed in non combat roles in the infantry such as logistics to war zones.

Being in a US Army infantry platoon I can tell you that women have no place on the front lines. There arent enough women who can keep up to make it worthwhile. Also, we have to be able to go without proper hygiene for long periods of time which is something women can't handle. Plus, we are a high testosterone group of people and they would throw us off. Come to think of it, when openly gay people were allowed to join over a year ago, I still haven't seen any in the infantry. I think the jock mentality is a deterrent for them but who.knows

Soviet Russia laughs at this topic.
Women were beating the Nazi's back to Berlin before most of you were even born.

Ryotknife:
It may be true that men are more...predisposed...to a combat role due to what little physical differences there are in the genders AND our gender roles/programming, but since those female soldiers are (im guessing) volunteers...as long as they know the risks, it is their life to risk.

Thing is though, if they're not up to the task of being in the sort of front lines combat infantry have to engage in, they aren't just risking their lives. It puts their unit at risk, their mission, and potentially more soldiers beyond that who may have to risk their lives based on the success or failure of an individual and their unit. Not to mention civilian lives in the war zone may be put at risk as well.

Now I'm not saying they can't handle it, and there are almost certainly women who are physically and mentally as capable as your typical male soldier when it comes to being in combat, but great care should be taken in determining if it's a good idea, and how to best screen for those who can do it and those who can't.

Jedi-Hunter4:

In a realistic non-overly politically correct world, we are all equal opportunity but we are not all the same neither physically or mentally. An it's an undeniable fact that men and women are different. denying that on average males have greater strength is like denying that on average women live longer lives.

Therein lies the weakness of the "against" argument. Yes, men tend to be stronger than women ON AVERAGE. They also tend to be taller than women ON AVERAGE. That doesn't change the fact that on an individual level, some women are more than 6 feet tall and some men are barely 5 feet tall. Likewise with physical fitness. Yes, ON AVERAGE, men are more physically capable than women. It doesn't change the fact that on an individual level, some men are total wimps, and some women are so bad-ass they can kick someone's ass without breaking a sweat. Keep the physical requirements in place, certainly, but if there are women who can meet these requirements, what justification is there for keeping the individual women out just because ON AVERAGE most women would not meet the requirements?

Yes, Women should be allowed on the front lines.

I assume there are tests of sorts to check if a soldier is capable of handling the rigors of front line combat and service
either they should have to pass the same challenges or a modified one (maybe consider placing gear on female soldiers differently or utilizing different strengths slightly.) Men and Women are genetically different so maybe a better way to check if women can handle the same job in the field (outside of sexual harassment issues) would be to find a way to better optimize the test for them.

tangoprime:

Jedi-Hunter4:

Meaning of Karma:
If a woman meets the physical requirements needed for front line combat, then yes, let them do it. If they don't, then no.

It's that fucking simple.

its not though, because as I said there's research that's been done which suggests it can have very negative effects psychologically on male soldiers that are totally involuntary and at the current time (possibly due to lack of research) seemingly unavoidable. Which is the point I was trying to make freedom of equality & opportunity could cost someone their life. An there are those that seem to think this is justified. which I'm inclined to disagree with.

I know some israeli women who served in the IDF who would argue the point with you.

israel doesn't emply females in combat roles though, just support roles (of course, due to the nature of their ware their support personel gets into combat situations on a few occasions too)
just throwing that out there because it caught my eye, i'm still on your side, haha. girls in combat roles do work, it has been done, it went fine, no real discussion neccessary in my oppinion.

I don't see any issue blocking Women from infantry positions other than stupid baseless tradition. Yes they should be allowed in and yes they should suffer every last same requirement.

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