Sunday, March 11, 2012

Women in the Military

In class, we briefly discussed the appropriateness of women in the military, on the front lines, and in submarines. My sister is in Navy ROTC at Boston University and will be commissioned as an officer in just a year and a half. Because of this, my family feels strongly about this issue in two completely opposite viewpoints. We can see how my sister is a strong individual, like so many other women who have chosen to join the military, and would be able to hold their own in a time of battle. Women should be in no way penalized simply because of their sex. Some men are strong, some are not. It is the same for women.
I also don't believe that men would choose to save a woman over a fellow man at any time. Naturally, people are people and will either risk their lives for someone else or save their own skins. I don't think they would choose one gender over another. If anything, I think that people naturally would choose to save their friends over anyone else. Should people not be allowed to make relationships? This argument seems like a moot point because there really is no plausible reason as to why a male would choose to save a female (who is equal in training and ability as her male counterparts) over someone else. I think that if someone will risk their life for someone, they will. It won't depend on the gender.
In submarines, however, I can see how the lines get a little blurred. My sister spent quite a bit of time on an aircraft carrier over the summer and the stories we heard about some of the guys on the ships who hadn't seen women in a few months.... let's just say I would not have wanted to be on there. I'm not generalizing men or stereotyping them at all, but it is a possibility that rape could occur on one of these ships due to lack of "female interaction." Now, does this mean we shouldn't allow women to take up position on submarines? I don't think so. I think they should have equal rights to be able to serve where they want to. Someone else's actions should not play into the rights of another.
After our class on Thursday, I would definitely consider myself a "feminist," as to what kind I am not sure. I don't think that any of us want women to have lesser rights then men, but it is our duty to stand up for equality in order for anything to change.


  1. Last summer, I toured a submarine in a marine museum. The living situation in a submarine involves literally no personal space. I feel like this fact alone could be accountable for the rules that didn’t allow women on submarines. Although I think it’s wrong to restrict someone simply because of their gender, I can see how potential problems could arise with a large number of males and a small number of females aboard a vessel for extended periods of time. I think the rules were placed not to restrict women from submarine work because they thought women would be incapable, but as means of protection of women from bad situations they could encounter on the submarine. To avoid this, maybe they should make the first all-female submarine!

  2. I definitely agree that saving someone in battle on the front lines wouldn't be based on gender, but on a relationship to that person. There are tons of movies and real life situations where two male soldiers help each other out on the front lines, so why should it be any different for a woman. I feel like women shouldn't be pushed aside because of gender and have every right to fight for their country. As far as living situations and the speculations on rape when men and women are put together in subs or aircrafts, I believe that certain precautions can be taken to ensure that women are just as safe. For example, grouping the women together in a certain area, and teaching members of the military the seriousness of the issue. I don't think women should be penalized because of some overexcited man who took it way too far. Also I think Emily has a great idea, that we should make the first all-female submarine, or even troop. But punishing women, and halting the push for gender equality shouldn't be an option.

  3. I agree that women should have the right to fight in the military if they choose. I think that anyone who is committed to the training can fight equally and I do not see why men would choose to save a female soldier over a man. However, another issue that arises with equal rights for women and the military is that of a draft. If we fully believe that women should have an equal role in the military, then should they also be subject to a draft if one was put in place again? I feel that people who do believe that women should be allowed in the military would not be fully supportive of equality in the military if this followed. In a way this creates a double standard towards the equality of men and women.

  4. I think that that's an interesting comment about females being part of the draft. I imagine that it would cause major opposition from many different groups both feminists and non-feminists. Yet, many are still open to the idea of women being the military voluntarily. I also believe that women should not be discriminated from joining the military. Everyone should have a right to defend our country and fight for his/her freedom. However, for closed, confine spaces such as submarines or aircrafts where the men and women are placed there for long periods of time, I think that there should be rules so they can be kept separately to avoid any possibility of rape or other coerced interactions.

  5. I don't think that not having women in a submarine with men that haven't seen women for long periods of time is necessarily a bad thing, even though I don't fully agree with it. It's hard to effectively replace long-standing rules about women in the military, and it's even harder to change long standing ideals. Even today, women aren't able to serve on the front lines because of what their male comrads may do if one is in harm's way or in the heat of battle. Like you said, what someone else does should not affect the rights of others. Sadly, it does, and it does a lot. Women have the right to defend their country as any man does, but to get others to see that takes work.


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