The feminist fantasy always runs the same way. A tough no nonsense woman tries to break in to an all male sphere. To prove herself she must first pass, no, exceed the ridiculous and unnecessarily high standards which men diabolically erected hundreds or even thousands of years ago in preparation for this very day. At first the 1 dimensional macho characters all mock and deride her. But eventually they come to learn that she is every bit as tough as the guys are, in addition to her extra abilities which she has by virtue of being a woman. Ultimately they can’t help but respect her determination and ability, and dare I say it, girl power. She’s “opened the door”, and now women eagerly flood into the previously all male sphere! Roll credits.
I’ll stop typing for a bit so the feminists in the audience can savor the moment… Smoke em if you got em.
Everyone back? Here’s the problem; most of the time it simply doesn’t work that way. At least, not for a long time it hasn’t. And quite often it is the feminists themselves who screw it up. They sell you GI Jane, where Demi Moore shaves her head and knocks out one armed pushups like they are going out of style. But that is just the picture on the package. What’s inside the box is something totally different. And women and men fall for it every time. The thing is the feminists don’t really care if they deliver as promised. In fact, so long as they can make the package with an impressive picture they don’t care if anything is inside it. So they sell you a woman aviation pioneer, just as good as the guys. What they deliver is a woman who is almost all attitude, and very little skill. Then they lose interest as soon as they can check the box and say “See, women do that too!”
Strangely for feminists make believe is just as good as the real deal, and before you know it they are off focusing on the next item on the prove women are just like men to-do list. Actually maybe it isn’t so strange, because after all of the girl power cheering stops, being the only woman in the grease pit doing oil changes or any number of dirty, dangerous, and physically demanding jobs stops being exciting and glamorous.
More importantly, the initial high of being accepted as being as-good-as-the-men more often than not never actually happens. The men see the ridiculous contortions the employer was forced by feminists to go through in order for the woman to be hired in the first place. The woman gets as much respect as the nonathletic kid who everyone knows only made the team because his dad is the coach. In theory a truly exceptional woman would be able to make the cut without feminists butting in demanding they put their thumb on the scale. Such a woman in all likelihood would gain the respect of the men. But feminists always insist on screwing that up by demanding that the rules for women should be far less stringent. Or when a pioneering woman does manage to break some barrier, they ruin the moment by crying about how few other women actually made it, and demand the standards for women be rolled back anyway.
Think about it, your great great granddaughter will still be complaining that men won’t really let her do x, y, or z. We have women today complaining about men not doing enough to encourage them to write open source software, or edit wikipedia.
But if women don’t even get to bask in the we-are-the-same-as-the-guys feeling, why must we continuously move heaven and earth for each new item on the to-do list? For example, why rework our nuclear sub fleet and antagonize the men who man them so a handful of women can work in stressful conditions and cramped quarters with men for months at a time? Per the US Navy Press Release:
On July 28, 1994, Congress was notified of policy changes to expand the number of assignments available to women in the Navy. At that time, opening assignments aboard submarines to women was deemed cost prohibitive and assignments on submarines remained closed. Currently, women make up 15 percent of the active duty Navy – 52,446 of 330,700. Integrating women into the submarine force increases the talent pool for officer accessions and subsequently the force’s overall readiness, ensuring that the U.S. Submarine Force will remain the world’s most capable for ensuing decades.
Women only make up 15% of the active duty Navy after decades of hand wringing and excuse making. With the opening of submarines, the only position in the Navy women aren’t welcomed into is the SEALs. My question to the women reading this is at what point is proving women can do x not worth it. Is any cost too high? What if only one woman at any given time ends up having the desire and ability to serve in the sub fleet, but the other 99% + of the submariner force is less interested in staying in the job because they no longer see it as elite, or because their wives no longer feel the same way about their service? Would the warm feeling of checking off the box marked __ Submarines be worth a billion dollars? How about 2 billion, or 10? 100 billion? Is any price too high to pay in order to check off the box?
This isn’t just a theoretical question. Consider the LA Fire Department. Women had to check the LAFD box, so in the 1990s LA County spent millions refitting fire stations. From Christine Pelisek’s LA Weekly article Women Firefighters: The Gender Boondoggle:
To prove its point, Los Angeles City Hall — just like Seattle, Miami, San Francisco, San Diego and other major cities, together with state governments — spent millions to recruit, train and house women. Los Angeles outfitted most of its 106 fire stations with costly women’s lockers and women’s showers, while politicians as well as fire chiefs Donald Manning and William Bamattre engaged in years of lip service, conjuring up an image of a new, professional class of woman firefighters.
Women came to figure prominently in the praise party on the LAFD’s Web site, http://www.LAFD.org, where the Hero of the Month, for six months running — in a department of mostly men — has been Tamara Chick, a woman so key to the department’s goals that she is now in charge of female recruitment.
They proved their point. Some women can be firefighters. I’ll pause so the feminists can get their pencils out to check the Firefighter box, high five each other, and bask in their accomplishment.
There’s just one problem, and it’s a problem no fire chief, mayor or recruiter wants to admit. In a department of 3,940 people, the second largest municipal firefighting force in the U.S., the Weekly has learned that the women who work on the fire line could squeeze inside a Hummer limo.
Just 27 women are actually fighting Los Angeles fires.
This isn’t limited to Los Angeles:
No firefighting women died during the attacks on the World Trade Center, because New York City has just 31 women out of 11,600 firefighters. Women represent only 2.5 percent of the nearly 300,000 professional firefighters nationwide.
But wait, isn’t this proof that women are discriminated against? How hard can it be to hold a hose or climb a ladder? Men have hatched a diabolical plan to keep women from running into burning buildings! Except that isn’t true. Christine Pelisek interviewed the women who washed out of the training:
What these two women saw — and experienced — is not what you might think.
Nobody tried to make either of them fail. No “old boys” got in their way. Mary was admired by her male boss and encouraged at each step to be a firefighter. “I was just too slow,” she says. Firefighting equipment, like the one-man ladders, started “getting heavier,” and she began to realize she wasn’t strong enough to repeatedly lift it — a necessary skill. Eight weeks into the training — which causes plenty of men to wash out — Mary was stunned to realize that her body had begun “breaking down.”
Big deal you might say. So what if they demoralized the entire force with a game of make believe and blew millions of dollars on showers and locker rooms which now sit mostly unused. But those millions could have been spent in any number of productive ways. What training did the firefighters not receive which could have prevented injuries to them or the death of those they are charged with rescuing? What new equipment could the department have otherwise purchased which would have lessened the burden these men face? More importantly, what did the LAFD as an organization really get for its money? Can the 27 women fight fires any better than the men they displaced? That seems highly unlikely.
But what about the military, and combat in particular? How strong do you have to be to fire a gun? Maybe firefighters have a physically demanding job, but combat surely can’t be that difficult. After all, we have all of those nifty gadgets! Gooseberry Bush links to an article which makes much the same point in her blog post Soldier Barbie:
Heather Pfleuger — an exuberant, all-American, girl-next-door — was transformed when she arrived in Afghanistan. She’d shrug into her body armor, strap on her helmet, yank on gloves, goggles and scarf, and slide down behind her turret-mounted Mark-19, a 40mm grenade launcher. From there, she could kill an armored vehicle and everybody in it a mile away.
When she whooped with glee and led a convoy outside the wire, local Afghan fighters, hard men who’d faced down the Russians and the Taliban, fell respectfully silent.
See! All we have to do is outfit each woman with a big enough truck and a belt fed weapon, and men will fear them! But the argument that women are already being allowed to do nearly all jobs in the military -including those which can involve firing a weapon- doesn’t prove that we should open the the few remaining all male jobs up to women. According to the article only 14% of the military are in jobs not open to women. Keep in mind that the services picked the jobs women were best suited to first, and even then had to massively lower the standards for women to put them there.
The military is the last area where women don’t have the same or better opportunity as men, and even there we are only talking about the last 14%! 86%, massively lowered standards, and a rework of the entire culture of the armed services isn’t enough. I’ll come back to this question a little later. Right now I’ll share some more information on the remaining 14%. I explained in my last post on the topic that Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that for the infantry war being a very physical fight hasn’t changed. Actually it has gotten more physical, partly due to those nifty gadgets. Per the Washington Post:
In Afghanistan, soldiers routinely carry loads of 130 to 150 pounds for three-day missions, said Jim Stone, acting director of the soldier requirements division at the Army Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Ga. In Iraq, where patrols are more likely to use vehicles, loads range from 60 to nearly 100 pounds, he said.
“It’s like a horse: We can load you down, and you just don’t last as long,” Stone said.
Injuries — the bulk of them muscular-skeletal — are the main cause of hospitalizations and outpatient visits for active-duty Army soldiers, leading to about 880,000 visits per year, according to Army data. The injuries include sprains, stress fractures, inflammation and pain from repetitive use, and they are most common in the lower back, knees, ankles, shoulders and spine. They are one of the leading reasons that soldiers miss duty, said Col. Barbara Springer, director of rehabilitation under the Army surgeon general.
Everyone seems to agree that our Soldiers and Marines are carrying too much, but what would you have them do without when out in the field and the firefight starts? Should they make do with less water? Food? Protective gear? Ammunition? Less powerful weapons? These men are working at the upper limit of what the human body -the male human body- can carry under battlefield conditions. No amount of impassioned argument about good ol boys will change the need for infantrymen to carry the implements of war. Men can barely carry the load. How many women can we honestly expect to do this? And why should we believe for a nanosecond that they wouldn’t insist on a separate standard for women, the same as they have for the other 86% of the positions.
The problem feminists have is a powerful case of diminishing marginal returns. The first barriers women broke down had lots of opportunity and were often things women were very well suited for. Over the decades, as they were more and more successful, they have had to shift their efforts to the much smaller opportunities where women are less and less suited for. So they had to fudge a bit, and then a lot, to keep opening doors for women. In a way I kind of feel bad for them. No amount of make believe will open these last doors. They may be able to dictate the change, but they won’t be kidding anyone.
So why do they do it? Why all of the knashing of teeth in an obviously futile effort, for a minuscule opportunity the vast majority of women would pray to never have to do? Feminists can’t help themselves. It comes down to who they are, and what makes them tick.
Feminists lay awake at night consumed with the knowledge that somewhere out there there are men who are proud to be men, and there is no woman there to tell them she is just as good as they are.
I almost feel sorry for them.