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Wiggins 1 Nikki Wiggins English 102 Weiner 20 February 2012

Women of Honor Imagine women fighting with men on the battlefield. For most people, this would instill fear in their hearts. This is simply not something a woman is associated with. But for every reason one would believe women could not be in combat, it can be disproved. Women should be allowed to fight in combat. But it was not long ago that women received the right to vote, and that took years to achieve. There are still some cases of women not having the same salary as a man, but she has the same job position. There has not been a woman president since America was founded. The truth is that, people are not use to seeing women in a position of power. Most people believe women cannot and should not participate in activities men generally participate in. And men have always been strongly associated with war and protecting their home. Most people are frightened by the slightest idea of women acting out the man¶s role as a ³warrior´, but why? Some of the blame can go to social norms and broad stereotyping. But the main reasons people think women should not be in combat is because of fraternization, a woman¶s range of strength, and general misconceptions. These reasons are not strong enough to keep women away from the battlefield. Women are generally seen as more vulnerable to sexual harassment and rape than their male counterparts. Many believe men of both American and enemy troops could cause a sexual threat to women. This is seen as an issue to disrupt combat procedures. But most sexual threats that could be directed at women could be directed towards men

People are also concerned with the idea of American soldiers having sexual relationships with other American soldiers. the lower ranking soldiers would learn honor. Knittel also states likely candidates for abuse: ³[B]oth male and female. Men on men crimes are common and do happen. there would be no pregnancy. But Kristen Henderson makes a great point: ³But. last year nearly 50. harassment and consensual type. Sexual relations of the abuse. This makes the group for sexual assault to be fairly large. they are not strong enough reasons to not allow women in combat. It is not just women that are at risk for sexual abuse. And from there. the source of those problems is poor leadership. One might believe it is because men and women cannot help themselves but to mate when left alone for long periods of time. It is not because we are purely unthinking animals that service members become chummy with each other. the soldiers of lower ranking will surely follow.Wiggins 2 as well. But most of the assailants are heterosexual. If leaders in combat were to follow all the rules. are typically young and low-ranking.000 in 2003´. and counselors and rape kits are now common in war zones´. But men could easily be molested and raped the same as women. Lizette Alvarez speaks about the challenges women face: ³They face sexual discrimination and rape. they are targeted for vulnerability´. It is because of horrible leadership skills that the soldiers stray from the rules.000 male veterans screened positive for µmilitary sexual trauma¶ and the Department of Veterans Affairs. and no threat of STDs. up from over 30. and not only directed towards women. Shaun Knittel speaks about statistics of male on male crime: ³According to the Newsweek article. One may believe it was gay soldiers assaulting other male soldiers. When the leader of the troop allows misconduct. not hormone-addled service members´. .

Henderson explains: ³On the subject of physical abilities. There are jobs that women can do in combat. and there is not any reason why they should not in relation to strength. Since women are smaller. underground tunnels. shoot guns. even with seeing the facts. Women can drive tanks.S. Army Research Institute´. technology is now something they cannot deny. some the same as men. Sargent McArthy admits: ³Females are better shooters than males. the better shooter he or she becomes. Women can be trained powerful fighting techniques and be efficient with those techniques. To inspect the tunnels would have been the perfect job for a woman. making them more mechanized and less-strength dependent´. Alvarez further explains why this helps women: ³Technology has changed the way some of these jobs are done. etc. supporters of women in combat point out that women¶s generally smaller size and greater flexibility give them an advantage in cramped tanks or enemy tunnels´. In Vietnam.´ The closer someone is to the ground. Technology has become a huge turning point for women in .Wiggins 3 Another weak argument is that women are not strong enough to be in combat. Certain men that fought in Vietnam say that women sometimes have an advantage over men. Henderson makes the claim: ³One of the first facts I came across is that most soldiers have already concluded that women do have the physical strength. But there is a type of combat weapon that has greatly helped women move to the front lines. some different. there were many small. This new type of weapon is called technology. stamina and mental toughness to be effective in combat. they can be closer to the ground than men. making women the more accurate aimers. operate cranes. The research shows women are able to fight. For people who use the excuse women are not strong enough. according to surveys by the U.

Henderson further explains: ³I learned the same thing happened when President Truman ended racial segregation in the military. People mainly have fear of how society would be if the gender roles were not a way of life. This is exactly what is happening to the women who desire to fight in combat. we would observe that women and men are capable of switching roles. The general misconceptions of women in combat are prevalent among the American people. This is much like the case of integrating races. We are afraid they will not succeed. we are afraid of . There is prior precedent of this type of fear in the military. for example´. A man cannot cook for the family because that is a woman¶s job. With the combination of technology and women being physically able in battle. There is not much more men can do than women when it comes to operating technology. If we took these stereotypes away and analyzed the facts. Defenders of the status quo predicted that units would fall apart if whites were forced to fight alongside blacks. we are afraid they will distract our male soldiers. A woman cannot fight for her country because that is a man¶s job. Henderson explains her view of this: ³I¶ve known women tough enough to do that quintessential man¶s job ± kill the enemy ± just like I¶ve known men nurturing enough to do what we think of as women¶s work ± nursing and child care. fear of change had absorbed the people. These ideas and feelings about men and women are engrained into our subconscious. One of the largest misconceptions is gender roles. it is a large part of our society. Although there was not sufficient evidence as to why the races could not live in harmony.Wiggins 4 combat. There were excuses made for why African Americans had to stay separate from Caucasians. there should not be a reason they cannot fight with men. But today our military is a more effective fighting force because integration´.

we may be able to see women become true heroes. To see the bold face of a woman in combat may not be a far fetched idea. With more Americans observing the facts. But surprisingly the statistics show. . News reporters wanted to see how the American people would react to the idea of women in body bags. And when there is an issue about privacy and money. To believe it is only woman being sexually harassed or discriminated against is untrue. the military is making accommodations. From gender roles to integration.Wiggins 5 the unknown to integration. If we can move past the fear within out hearts. The general and broad misconceptions of women in combat mostly result from fear. the majority is not completely appalled with women fulfilling the role of fighting for our country. analysts say´. The majority is not any more bothered by women in body bags than men in body bags. more are agreeing woman should be in combat. we are afraid. There are accommodations made for the things women cannot help such as menstrual cycles and bladder infections. Americans have responded to their deaths and injuries no differently than those of male casualties. . Those accommodations are not a huge change or disruption to their position in combat or the army suppliers. but technology can take the place of strength in certain instances. we should not fear change that could potentially benefit our American military. there is scientific research showing otherwise. Alvarez further explains: ³ . For every argument against women in combat. If the research and the issue of accommodations show no threat or . To say that women are not strong enough is not only untrue. Then it is easy to conclude. There are a number of candidates more likely to be harassed than just women. majority of the population sees certain aspects of women in battle as not so horrible.

Wiggins 6 problem to the military. because they can. then women should be allowed to fight. . America should allow women this option to be heroes.