5 Stupid Arguments Against Letting Women Fight
William Saletan takes on former officer's main points
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jan 29, 2013 1:58 PM CST
Female soldiers train on a firing range while testing new body armor in Fort Campbell, Ky., in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan, Sept. 18, 2012.   (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

(Newser) – Ever since the Pentagon decided to allow women in combat, opponents of the move have been coming out of the woodwork. One of the foremost naysayers: Jerry Boykin, executive VP of the Family Research Council and a former Army lieutenant general. He's been on Fox, written for CNN and USA Today, and more. But William Saletan of Slate has been less than impressed with his arguments. Here are a few of them:

  • Women are too weak. Boykin believes soldiers still need certain "levels of sheer physical strength, speed, and endurance that are relatively rare among women." But wait, if they're "relatively rare" doesn't mean that they, you know, exist?

  • Soldiers need to pee in front of each other! Boykin warns that combat missions often offer no access to base facilities. "Living conditions can be abysmal and base. … Soldiers and Marines have to relieve themselves within sight of others." Apparently women aren't just weak, they're squeamish.
  • It would humiliate men. Even if some few women can cut it, Boykin has argued, "I certainly don't want to be in that environment with a female, because it's degrading and humiliating to do your personal hygiene and other normal functions" in front of them. So it's not just the women who are squeamish.
  • Women are too sexy. Soldiers won't be able to focus, Boykin argues, "in an environment that combines life-threatening danger with underlying sexual tensions." Given that one VA survey found that 49% of women serving in the Middle East had been sexually harassed, apparently things are already pretty sexually tense.
  • Women might quit. Boykin worries that women will have "very little protection" from being put on the front lines, which would force them to "reconsider their place in the armed services. … That would be tragic." Saletan's response: "You can almost feel the general’s tears of sorrow. Women who have voluntarily joined the armed forces—that would be 100% of them—might run away, tragically, if their unofficial exposure to mortal risk, unshowered men, and outdoor urination becomes official."
Read Saletan's full column here.

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Feb 2, 2013 11:33 AM CST
As a veteran who served in the USMC for 5 years I am totally against this! Women are alright for support and defensive type roles but not on the front lines conducting Offesive operations against an enemy. What is this country coming to? They have integrated girls into my sons high school wresteling team and all other high schools as well....WTF?! Now when these little girls get slammed hard everyone's in an uproar, but it makes me laugh. Some of those guys have no mercy on those girls and it's only right, if they want to participate be prepared to get hurt, overall a very bad idea! I questioned the coach about this and he shrugged his shoulders while shaking his head and said its all about this "POLITICALLY CORRECT" agenda.
Feb 2, 2013 12:30 AM CST
Well, in ancient times generally women did not fight because if half the men in the tribe were killed in war, they could still repopulate the tribe relatively quickly with polygamy. But if you lost the women, you lost the wombs. So it wasn't so much the inability of women to fight, but rather the need to repopulate as quickly as possible once the war was over. But since the kind of wars we seem to be fighting these days, the losses are rather small by comparison to say WWI, WWII or Korea. Mostly we are fighting guerrilla wars now and using drones and whatnot. In all probability, there won't be very much hand to hand combat anymore. Those days are probably gone with swords and bayonets.
Jan 31, 2013 7:15 AM CST
If women want to shoot people or get shot it should be their right.