Military women prove just as tough

Written By Mick Stinelli, Columnist

In a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Heather Mac Donald, of the conservative think tank The Manhattan Institute, argued that the next defense secretary should take women out of combat units. Mac Donald, a frequent critic of the #MeToo movement, argues allowing women to serve in combat has led to lower physical requirements, and in some cases, led to sexual misconduct on military bases.

Mac Donald – who has previously argued that the sexual revolution was a step back for women – recounts tales of “trysts” and sexual excursions that have led to discharges and brought the military shame.

Neither Mac Donald nor I have any experience in the military, so I thought it wise to speak with some of the women at Point Park who have experience in the armed forces. Chandler Krelow, a junior intelligence and national security major and member of the Air Force, rolled her eyes at the idea that women were causing disruption through sexual misconduct.

All of the women I spoke to told me they had no desire of seeing the standards for combat training lowered. If a woman fails the test, then she fails the test, just as a man would. But the idea of shutting the door to women is an oversimplified solution to a non-problem.

Jessica Benigni, a faculty member in the literary arts and social justice department, served in the Navy during 9/11. Speaking on whether there should be lower standards for women, she referenced a scene in the Demi Moore movie “GI Jane” where the titular character becomes angry that she’s being held to lower physical standards.

Sage Santangelo, a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, laid out in a Washington Post article why few women passed the training at the Quantico Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course. It isn’t because women are too weak.

Holding our military to a high standard and allowing women to serve in combat are not mutually exclusive.

The idea that women are disrupting the unit is an old trick that has been tried many times before. In the days of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gay soldiers, supporters of the position said that openly gay members of the armed forces would disrupt the cohesion of the unit. The same excuse was used when people proposed black soldiers should be segregated from white soldiers.

Now, four years after the doors were opened to the brave women willing to put their country before their own wellbeing, there are still some arguing that they aren’t fit to do it.

No one is trying to force equal representation on the front lines; it’s unlikely that we will ever see a 50/50 between the sexes in the battlefield. But we must have equal opportunity to serve, no matter a person’s sex. To argue otherwise would be to neglect all of the qualified women who could be serving their country in a spot where they are most needed.