Women in Combat

The ban on women fighting in combat has been lifted. By 2016 women will be allowed in combat on the front lines and a lot of feminists would say “huzzah” this feminist, however, is not. I don’t agree that women should be on the front lines—not because they are women but because there are things that need to happen on the front lines that the female body as a whole cannot do. That is not to say that some women can’t meet the requirements—of course they can. My concern is that those requirements will be lessened in the interest of appearing “equal”.
Hand grenades have to be thrown 15 meters. They have to. If they are not they can kill the person that threw it or anyone around them. I can’t throw 15 meters, I can throw a spiral and I’ve got what’s been called a “cannon” of an arm—but I can’t throw as far as my dude…my physicality isn’t made the same way. Again, some women will be able to throw that far, some woman can bench more than men, so some women are fit but all women are not and to open those flood gates endanger lives.
Apart from the strength and distance requirements there are the mental requirements. I was brought up by a marine. There is a code: unit, corp, God, country. That’s not just a line from a movie that is a real code that they live by. Your unit is more important than your family—it transcends a family—your unit is an extension of yourself and I’m sorry but some men in the military do not respect women. That will probably never change. Even if it did, men of other cultures do not respect women and to see a woman in an infantry would make her a major target. Much like when Prince Harry wasn’t allowed to fight on the front lines because it would put his unit in danger. People would target HIM and therefore his unit would be targeted. A woman in an infantry puts her unit in a spotlight—not what you want during combat.
There is also cohesion in a unit. This goes back to men not respecting women in the military (rent The Invisible War or read my review to see how much respect we get). You are told to protect the person to your left and your right—but if you hate the person on your right you will not protect them, you may put them in danger and that puts the rest of the unit in danger. Furthermore—what if you get a little crush? Now you’re focused on protecting her at all costs and not following orders. It’s too complicated, it’s too risky.
My point is—there is a ripple effect to this that no one wants to talk about because it’s wrong. It’s so wrong! A woman should be allowed to have any job she wants in the military in theory, but in reality it’s dangerous. Until society can wrap their heads around women being “people” and not the “weaker sex” or “made from man” than, in my opinion, it’s far too dangerous to move forward with this. I’d rather my military be focused on the job at hand and not on the elephant in the room aka “the girl in the unit”.

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Sexism in Your Friendly Neighborhood Restaurant

I have been a waitress for the past six years. It is part of my identity, along with student, social worker, and friend. In restaurants, I’ve seen a lot happen. The clientele is a snapshot of the general population, and the employees are even more colorful. This isn’t the Ryan Reynolds movie Waiting levels of ridiculousness, but it sure is close.

I feel as if I’m betraying my people in sharing these experiences. For instance, one restaurant I worked in would only hire female servers and male cooks. Whenever my female friends were looking for a job, I’d have to tell them to dress up cute so the owner would notice and hire her. If she didn’t get hired, then she was left feeling as if she wasn’t attractive enough for the job. We are not at Hooters where this sort of nonsense is seemingly ok.

When my male friends wanted a job, I’d have to tell them that they wouldn’t be allowed to serve, which positively makes better money than cooking. “Women in the front, men in the back.” We easily forget about gender discrimination against men. It still exists. Why does it have to matter, what the gender is of the person cooking your food or carrying your wings?

Other forms of discrimination existed, such as an unmarried female server becoming pregnant and no was longer given hours. After all, this is a family friendly restaurant, and the managers don’t want their place to be tarnished with sin.

Prejudice and discrimination seem to exist everywhere. Whether you are a woman being paid 1/4 less than your male counterparts, a person being hired for their looks that give the  workplace the look management is seeking, or a person unable to break into a job that breaks common gender roles- you are being discriminated against.

We tend to cite the business world for gender discrimination. It still occurs elsewhere, at lower pay levels and in different forms. I felt guilty to be a representation of a workplace that so blatantly discriminates, but not enough to leave the job. There is such an easy parallel drawn to feminism’s fight of equality. How can I expect men to fight for gender equality rights, if I will not fight for theirs?

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So Sexist It’s Comical


Gender roles are clearly established when it comes to children’s toys and clothing; blue for boys, pink for girls, GI Joe for Jack, Barbie for Jill. But, there had been an influx of children declaring this is not fair! There was the little girl throwing a tantrum about the colors in the toy aisle, then there was a little girl writing to Hasboro about the discrepancy in female characters in the game Guess Who, the dad who stood up for his three-year-old son’s right to wear a dress like his sister. However, big business isn’t taking notice.

Marvel Comics is having a big year. The Avengers II is coming out, Iron Man III, huge influx in interest in comics—both male and female. It’s only natural that they would want to capitalize on this. Marvel has been ahead of the social curve—usually. They had the first comic hero gay wedding, they created a deaf superhero so that a little boy would feel good about his hearing aid–  I’m a huge Marvel fan…but they screwed the pooch on this one.

The shirts for the Avengers franchise have “boys and girls” versions. The boy version is blue and says “Be A Hero”. How cute is that? I can picture my little nephew running around in that pretending to be The Hulk or Captain America. You know what I can’t see? I can’t see my niece running around in her version of the shit that says, “I Need A Hero”. That’s right, my niece can run around screaming like a damsel in distress while my nephew can run up and save her—clearly the girl always needs saving. Nonsense! Marvel…why? Why did you have to do this? We had such a good thing going! And why is the girl’s shirt eight dollars more expensive? Not only do I need a hero I need to pay more to declare it? Screw you! I’m frugal and therefore I am the hero of my bank account…I don’t need a hero I am a hero!

Strike one Marvel…you’ve got two more—don’t screw it up.

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The Big Bang Theory: Pay attention to what you are laughing at

The Big Bang Theory is currently the top ranked comedy show on television. This makes sense, as the show brings many faucets of nerd culture to mainstream, has some witty dialogue, and is the show that CBS can sell as television that makes you smarter. As a physicist’s daughter and friend of the scientifically inclined, I have met many individuals that I can compare to the show’s beloved but awkward characters. Even Dad is overjoyed that more people now understand his Schrodinger’s Cat t-shirt.

However, I have concerns. The stereotyping of women, men, geeks and foreigners alike is blatant. Every viewer knows this. They are laughing at stereotypes and pop culture references. It is created to be lighthearted fun, and the formula obviously works. Most people are not offended by this show. The following three points are worthwhile. Pay attention to what you are laughing at.

1) The audience is laughing at them, not with them. Acknowledge this. Even when the characters laugh, it is at another’s expense. The geeks seem to partake in every possible aspect of nerd-dom. This many interests, an active dating life, and a highly demanding professional career would be exhausting, expensive, and unrealistic. Oh well, thanks for throwing us a bone and creating the most comprehensively nerdy characters possible. These are men with selective muteism, severe parental attachment issues, and Asperger’s. I’m requesting that TBBT give us a healthy geek.

2) Sheldon is the poster child for Asperger’s Syndrome. His obsessions with cleanliness, routines and perfection, as well as lack of understanding social situations, sarcasm, and sexuality, are always the punch line. These personality traits are understandably inconvenient for his friends and girlfriend. He is constantly mocked for his needs. He isn’t crazy; his mother had him tested. No, he isn’t crazy; he has an Autism Spectrum Disorder! Stop making fun of the different.

3) The women. We are happy when the poor nerds find love. These women fulfill all sorts of stereotypes that I could lament. In the end, I wonder, why can’t Amy and Bernadette wear pants? Why can’t Amy be considered attractive outside of a princess costume?

I don’t mean to say that those who enjoy the show are wrong. It just befuddles me that there is no TBBT character without a “but”. People identify others they have known with the characters, but not themselves. They don’t say “I’m such a [insert TBBT character here]” for a reason. These characters are damaged people, full of stereotypes and flaws, ready for the mocking.

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