Now that gays are allowed to serve openly in the military, it was not going to take long before the question of women serving in combat comes up. Well… it’s already come up informally, but I mean as a legislative measure. And I’m sure everyone who was around the last time the Republicans promsied us "something different" remembers Newt Gingrich's wonderfully awkward explanation of why women shouldn’t be allowed in combat:
If combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for thirty days because they get infections and they don't have upper body strength. I mean, some do, but they're relatively rare. On the other hand, men are basically little piglets, you drop them in the ditch, they roll around in it, doesn't matter, you know. These things are very real. On the other hand, if combat means being on an Aegis-class cruiser managing the computer controls for twelve ships and their rockets, a female may be again dramatically better than a male who gets very, very frustrated sitting in a chair all the time because males are biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes.
Now, just for fun, and to drive home the point later, I'm going to address the… *ahem* questionable points, in the order that they appear.
“living in a ditch”
OK. I realize that our men in green DO spend some time in “ditches,” but LIVING IN THEM? I’ve heard of “always fighting the last war” but THIS GUY seemed stuck fighting World War ONE! Newt: We don’t have too many men “living in ditches” anymore.
“biological problems” and/or “infections”
I didn’t SEE him say this myself, but I seriously wonder if he was blushing. Newt? WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU TALKING ABOUT? Is he seriously suggesting that the simple act of “living in a ditch” is somehow more likely to give a woman an “infection” than a man? Somehow I doubt he’s talking about the risk of stepping on a rusty nail on your trench-climbing ladder, but I also strongly suspect that he has no idea WHAT he’s fucking talking about, and that 99% of his audience will be too embarrassed to ask. (The other 1% were women, but the women in HIS audience apparently know better, or at least did way back in 1995, than to question the men.)
“they don't have upper body strength. I mean, some do, but they're relatively rare”
Nobody said the numbers should be 50/50, Newt. The INTEREST isn't even 50/50! The question is why those “relatively rare” (not “rare” mind you, “relatively rare”) specimens of brute femininity are barred from combat operations. Unless you use your dick to load a rifle, I think you just shot your entire argument in the foot. (And I hence award it the Purple Heart, and you the Purple Brain.)
“men are basically little piglets”
The more I here assholes like Newt Gingrich speak, the more I tend to agree with this point, but don’t try to drag the rest of us down to your level, Newt.
“These things are very real.”
The last refuge of every bullshitter: Assuring you that he’s NOT bullshitting you! (And I PROMISE YOU: That’s a FACT!)
“a female may be again dramatically better than a male who gets very, very frustrated sitting in a chair all the time”
Did you ever notice how the only time a man like this asshole ever acknowledges that a woman might be even remotely competent at anything, it’s usually in a job that he figures most men wouldn’t want anyway? (And while it’s beside the point I’m trying to make, I think he’s severely underestimated the popularity of video gaming amongst our young male population, seeing as how the job in question was “managing the computer controls for twelve ships and their rockets.”)
“because males are biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes”
Who the fuck hunts giraffes? Seriously.
OK, THAT was fun. But what’s the POINT? (Apart from making Newt Gingrich look like a crusty old bafoon, which is about as difficult as poutting on a hat.) Well… In thinking about this line of reasoning, something dawned on me. And I might be late to the party here, but I don’t care. Maybe you'll all read this and say, "DUH!" But I thought it was rather profound, so please humor me. The chauvinists ALWAYS try to make this kind of an argument: That the sexes are equal, but not the same, and that they’re just good at different things. And USUALLY, at least to me, it seems that the things women are “good at” are generally things men don’t want to do. (Unless the job pays more.) (Which it certainly will, once more men start doing it!)
But it’s not about what women can or can’t do, or even can or can’t do better than men. That really isn’t part of the true reasoning at all. It’s completely irrelevant to them. And that’s evident even in Newt’s own rant: He acknowledges that some, “relatively rare” women, may in fact possess the necessary “upper body strength.” (IOW: Could probably DO this currently men-only job.) But he offers no reason why they should then just be written off. (Unless, as I said, a fifth appendage is somehow necessary to load a rifle and shoot someone.)
Now… give this same man a few drinks (i.e.: loosen him up) and ask him in all seriousness, if there’s REALLY anything a man can do passably well that women can’t. See… I’ve (mis)spent a lot of my youth drinking with chauvinists and you’d be surprised how often (almost every time) I got the following answer: Pee standing up.
Now, putting aside the profound societal implications that upright urination otherwise enables, I’m sure these same men, in all their infinite wisdom, would be as surprised as many of you no doubt might be, to find out that woman CAN, in fact, pee standing up. With all the socially critical upright posture and politically important accuracy and stream velocity. In fact, with the slightest amount of practice, most women would find that they could “write their name in the snow” every bit as neatly and completely as most men can! (And that’s a critical, combat-related skill after all! I mean: What if your unit got lost in the arctic and you needed to leave a message to help your rescuers locate you?)
OK, yes, I’m being a bit absurd. And more than a bit vulgar here. But in all seriousness, I am telling NO LIE in my evaluation of the human female’s potential aptitude for artistic expression in that particular media. And what do you supposed would be the answer received from these very same men, given evidence of that revelation?
Well… They’d probably say that it was disgusting. (As I’m sure many of you have also though once or twice by now, hopefully with a unwanted smile, at least on the inside.) But when THEY say “it’s disgusting” that a lot different from YOU saying it, and here’s why:
With you? It’s likely just because you don't appreca vulgarity as much as I hope you do. But with a "little piglet" like Gingrich? It’s because, just like with combat, it’s not about what women can or can’t do, but about what men like Newt Gingrich think they SHOULD be doing. Any woman who comes up against a piece of shit like [Gingrich] in their life, job, relationship, family, etc… will find a constantly moving set of goal posts. At first the man says, “No,” because, “you are not ABLE to do [whatever.]” Then, when a woman shows she CAN do [whatever], the objection becomes. “Men do it better” or (more PC) “men are biologically advantaged towards certain types of activities.” Then when a woman beats out every single man in the world in said activity? She still fails to gain appreciation or acceptance, this time for no reason other than “this is not something [they] think a woman SHOULD be doing.”
The woman’s aptitude for the task in irrelevant, because men like Newt Gingrich don’t really CARE about the task. What they CARE about is the POWER to determine WHO should be doing WHAT. The POWER to decide what tasks should be done by men, (i.e.: the relatively fun, uber-glorified, high paying ones) and what tasks
It’s not about a woman taking a man's “job,” whatever that job might have been. It’s about a woman taking away a man’s power to decide where they belong, what a "man's job" actually IS, as opposed to their own ability and actual, objective evidence of their aptitude deciding. Like almost everything else with the Right, REALITY takes a back seat to the perpetuation of beliefs that are beneficial to maintaining their POWER.
Keep this in mind the next time you hear Rush Limbaugh, or any of these fools, talk about equal employment, equal pay, or other “women’s issues.”
(Which, despite what Newt Gingrich might tell you, don't generally have anything to do with “infections!”)