So, I watched the movie Crooked Arrows Sunday night after the Super Bowl. If you like lacrosse or want to know just what the heck lacrosse is, I’d encourage you to see it. Otherwise, you’ve already seen this movie done better. (It was called Hoosiers.)

At the beginning of the movie, the lacrosse team from the Native American school is playing in a game when one of the players gets injured. As is not uncommon when there are no women’s lacrosse teams, girls play on the boys team. The girl who replaces the injured boy almost immediately gets clobbered and breaks her ankle.

I played lacrosse my senior year of high school at Helix High School in La Mesa, Calif. It was the first year our school had a lacrosse team and we had just enough players at some points during the season to just field a team. We also had a girl on the team and we weren’t the only team in the county with one.

It was generally understood by the boys playing that unless the girl was charging towards the goal, you go easy on her. The hits that you’d gladly lay on another guy, you don’t if it’s a girl.

One week against Serra High School, one of their defensemen didn’t seem to respect the unspoken rule and he laid a pretty big (and illegal) hit on our girl near midfield. In lacrosse, you must have four people on the defensive side of the field at all times and three on the offensive side. The remaining three can cross at will. I was a defenseman, so I couldn’t go across the field and return the favor. Instead, every time the ref’s attention was on the other side of the field I was taking cheap shots on the attackman I was covering.

That was 1990 and chivalry was still a thing.

Two weeks ago, the Obama administration announced that all combat positions within the military would be open to women.

The ways this is stupid are almost too numerous to count, but Walter Williams has a pretty good list of them.

“USMC Women in the Service Restrictions Review” found that women, on average, have 20 percent lower aerobic power, 40 percent lower muscle strength, 47 percent less lifting strength and 26 percent slower marching speed than men.

William Gregor, professor of social sciences at the Army’s Command and General Staff College, reports that in tests of aerobic capacity, the records show, only 74 of 8,385 Reserve Officers’ Training Corps women attained the level of the lowest 16 percent of men. The “fight load” — the gear an infantryman carries on patrol — is 35 percent of the average man’s body weight but 50 percent of the average Army woman’s weight. In his examination of physical fitness test results from the ROTC, dating back to 1992, and 74,000 records of male and female commissioned officers, only 2.9 percent of women were able to attain the men’s average pushup ability and time in the two-mile run.

As Rush Limbaugh likes to say: The military’s job is to kill people and break things. But according to a Defense Department official explaining the policy change last week, the military’s goal now is “to provide a level, gender-neutral playing field.”

The first moves toward this end were made more than two decades ago when some fighter pilot positions were opened to women. I can still remember during the weekly meeting of the staff of the Mustang Daily at Cal Poly I snidely opined that I was fine with women in the then-limited combat positions (I wasn’t really, but I wanted to make a different point), I just encouraged the women in the class to visit the Post Office to pick up a Selective Service registration card.

What’s that?” asked one of the editors who, last I checked, was teaching journalism at a JC in Washington State. “Why, that’s the draft,” I replied.

“There is no draft.”

“I know, but every 18-year-old man has to register, you want equal rights? Sign up.”

“Yes, I want equal rights, but women shouldn’t have to do it if they don’t want to.”

“You want special rights.”

This is what’s happening today. Women may now be pressured into combat roles if they want advancement. While they may deny it now, don’t be surprised in coming years if the fitness requirements are eased for women so that more can enter these elite units. Who’s waging a war on women now?

There needs to be a national discussion on this subject. Not simply an announcement by an outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and an inexorable move to implement it.

Once upon a time, American society tried to instill a chivalric attitude in its men. It was women and children first when the Titanic went down.

No more.

No good will come of this.

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4 Responses to Women and men

  1. Judy says:

    Matt, I am not sure but you may need to change this title to Wo and Man since we can no longer you words to denote the male gender. Great read,loved it.

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  2. Laura says:

    I found this article highly interesting to read, especially as a student who could have to sign up for Selective Service if it becomes mandatory in order to level the playing field for men and women.

    However, while I found your article interesting, I am curious as to why you think it is a negative thing that women want to receive the same rights as men in the military. Granted, their body types don’t allow for the same type of rigor. But if they are willing to work hard and push themselves in the same manner as men, why shouldn’t they be allowed to climb the ranks in the same manner?

    And yes, I think it is simply silly that while women want to be equal, they ask for special treatment at the same time, like not having Selective Service be required. Now THAT is something ridiculous.

    But they should still be given the same chance as men. Open the horizons for them, and then see who rises up and takes the challenge. And as for changing the fitness requirements for women, you said yourself that the body types and capabilities are different, so why should biology stop a woman from succeeding? If she is willing to put in the work and can logically achieve success as well, why not make an ‘equivalent’ fitness requirement for women that takes their biology into account and makes it the ‘same’ standard as for men?

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  3. Melanie says:

    Although I do agree that sometimes the pressure for America to be equal in rights goes too far and in some ways the over thinking about equality makes us unequal. I also think that this is an important step for women in the military. Although the statistics on women is striking. It is also important to realize that not all women are built the same and some have great physical qualities. They will still have to train and prove themselves worthy to be able to get these elite positions.

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  4. Nicole says:

    Matt,

    You made some interesting point about woman being in combat. I agree woman are not build the same way as men. However, if a woman works hard, I believe she can do it. Grant it, the woman won’t be build like a guy but afterwards she will be close enough to be able to fight in combat.

    Now I do feel that if a woman demands to have the same military rights as men, then shouldn’t she be granted it? If she understands those rights and realizes she will be treated like the men in the military, who are under this rights, then she should be granted the right. Otherwise I feel that woman need to realize what their going into before demanding the same rights as military men.

    Furthermore, I believe people should give woman a shot in doing combat. I think we should support our woman who do want to serve their country in a heroic way. I think woman should be supported and not discouraged because of their sex, when joining combat. Plus lets not be too quick to say there won’t be any good to come out of this, because you never know.

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