A 115 Pound Woman Could Not Carry A Male Marine!

Except to the extent that she could.

But, of course, there’s also the hygiene! Because we should not only completely ignore the existence of the world’s successful gender-integrated armies, including our own, but also ignore the existence of, say, mixed-gender camping trips.

99 comments on this post.
  1. commie atheist:

    Jerry Boykin is a member of the Army of God, and he has been raised for a time such as this.

  2. mch:

    Yes, and firemen and firewomen and all soldiers should be able to rescue-carry people until they (the rescuers!) are 70 years old, because we all know no one deserves any Social Security benefits until at least that age.
    Btw, what are our military’s policies/practices re active combat duty and age? I just realized, I have no idea!

  3. Medrawt:

    What a failboat the comment thread to that post is. But an actual serious question that I think has bearing on some of these issues:

    The general Army physical fitness test is scaled based on age (as well as gender). I believe that the (more stringent) qualifications for certain specialized units are NOT scaled by age. Is this also the case for run of the mill infantry units?

  4. mojrim:

    That’s lovely, except it doesn’t look anything like that. In the real world the victim (he) is lying on the ground and cannot help wearing 50 lbs of body armor and weapon. Let me know how that works out, OK?

  5. Medrawt:

    What’s the minimum required standard for men in the military to be able to handle for lifting a deadweight soldier from the ground and running out of the area of danger? Is the event based on time or distance, or both?

  6. Data Tutashkhia:

    I find it hard to get excited about this stuff. Some countries (like Switzerland) have not been involved in any combat for hundreds of years; why don’t you direct your energy to something more substantial, like living without a war for, as a start, at least a few years. To make the issue moot, hopefully.

  7. Gareth Wilson:

    It’s refreshing to have a political argument depend so directly on objective facts. All we have to do is keep monitoring the physical fitness requirements for infantry and special forces. If they stay gender-neutral, you’re right. If the standards for women are ever lowered, you’re wrong. I suppose they could be lowered for everyone, but that could be due to changes in technology – male soldiers lugging all that weight around isn’t really ideal. I don’t have a problem with women who meet the existing standards being let in. Although it’s quite possible that the intersection of ability and motivation is zero, and no women end up qualifying.
    The social objections don’t impress me much, since killing strangers is already deeply unnatural behaviour and we manage to get the soldiers to do that.

  8. jack*:

    Fact: on average man are taller than women

    Conclusion: only men are qualified to stock shelves

  9. ajay:

    In the real world the victim (he) is lying on the ground and cannot help wearing 50 lbs of body armor and weapon.

    Since you’ve obviously never been in the service, let me explain: you don’t lift someone without first getting their weapon clear! Apart from anything else, you don’t want that banging around in your face and possibly going off when you lift the casualty. Then you roll them supine, grab their left wrist with your left hand and use that to pull them into a sitting position; keep the momentum going and pull them across your shoulders right to left while you rise into a squat, then stand up. Easy enough, if you know how.

  10. ajay:

    By the way, you might want to tell Pte Michelle “Chuck” Norris, RAMC, that, being female, she can’t drag casualties under fire. She’s under the impression that she was awarded the Military Cross for doing just that.

  11. Lurker:

    Actually, while I was training med-evac procedures during my stint in the Finnish Defence Forces, the combat medic NCO who was instructing us was a small woman: maybe 160 cm and 55 kg. She lifted the biggest guy in our platoon (195 cm, 100 kg) and his combat gear – from the ground without problem. It is, of course, anecdotal evidence, but a single anecdote is enough to disprove a “no A ever” claim.

  12. rea:

    Good old Jerry Boykin, the guy who told Janet Reno that the way to handle Waco was an immediate assault.

  13. mark f:

    Please don’t miss Jonah “As for why my sorry a** isn’t in the kill zone . . . my a** is, er, sorry never seems to suffice” Goldberg’s characteristically brilliant column on the topic:

    What if, during the presidential campaign, Mitt Romney had accused President Obama of wanting to let servicewomen serve in combat? After all, Obama had hinted as much in 2008. What would Obama’s response have been?

    My hunch is that he would have accused Romney of practicing the “politics of division” or some such and denied it.

    Jeez, that What If Barack Obama of is one slimy bastard.

    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the change on his way out. And Panetta has been lionized even though it wasn’t really his decision to make.

    No cites to the lionization of Panetta.

    Perhaps Obama let Panetta run with the idea, just in case it turned out to be a political fiasco.

    There goes that slimy bastard Perhaps Obama again.

    Lifting that glass ceiling is an understandable, even lofty desire. But what does it have to do with making the military better at fighting?

    Allowing qualified individuals from a larger population would likely increase the population of qualified individuals.

    Will we never again have front lines? Or are the generals simply fighting the last war and projecting that experience out into the future?

    Heck, if we’ll never have wars between standing armies again, we can really afford to cut the defense budget.

    Jonah plays with little green Army MEN, dammit, and he’d like to keep it that way. Or else why not just buy a fucking My Little Pony?

    It is a common habit of many liberals and self-avowed centrists to preen about how they don’t deny science and evolution the way conservatives do. Ironically, on this issue, it is the opponents of women in combat invoking the scientific data that confirm a fairly obvious evolutionary fact: Men and women are different. For instance, at their physical peak, “the average woman has the aerobic capacity of a 50-year-old male,” notes Mackubin Thomas Owens in a powerfully empirical article in the Weekly Standard.

    Would it shock you to learn Jonah finds Charles Murray to be “intellectually bracing” and “smarter than pretty much 99.8% of the people I’ve ever met,” including, specifically, professional mathematicians?

    Another evolutionary fact is that men act different when around women. This creates challenges for unit cohesion and fighting effectiveness.

    How can we expect highly trained men not to act like jackasses around all those tits and cooties? What’s next, women at men’s colleges and men at women’s colleges?

    The three most common responses to such concerns are that countries such as Israel and Canada let women in combat; advances for women can’t be held hostage to sexist attitudes; there won’t be any lowering of standards, so only physically qualified women will be in combat.

    As to the first point, Israeli gender integration is often wildly exaggerated.

    So there.

    And the Canadians have neither the capacity nor the need for a large standing army.

    So?

    The latter arguments don’t strike me as particularly reality-based either. Sexist attitudes alone aren’t a justification for anything.

    Not alone!

    [T]he military already practices gender-norming (giving women extra points for being women) in many instances.

    Left uncited: any such instances.

    Obama’s decision hasn’t stifled the debate, it’s merely postponed it until the day Americans see large numbers of women coming home in body bags too.

    Yeah, this isn’t about sexist attitudes!

  14. mark f:

    Oh, and here’s NRO’s Dan Foster:

    Attention Ladies 18–25

    It would certainly appear — with Leon Panetta lifting (most) restrictions for women in combat — that the legal rationale for excluding women from registering for the draft is gone.

    [. . .]

    Sign up here.

    You hear that, ladies? If Foster is correct, you’re going to have to sign a card that you’ll never think about again before you apply for FAFSA. How do you like your “feminism” now?

  15. BigHank53:

    Never before have so many right-wing pundits attempted to clothe naked patriarchy. Give it up, boys–the ugly keeps shining through.

  16. Kurzleg:

    Mark – Thanks for getting out of the boat so I don’t have to. Very entertaining!

  17. John Protevi:

    Here’s an official Army article on studies on changing fitness testing: http://www.army.mil/article/86147/Three_event_APFT_retained_pending_baseline_Soldier_physical_readiness_study/

  18. John Protevi:

    Reposting from above, an Army article on studies about changing fitness training to “train as you fight”: http://www.army.mil/article/86147/Three_event_APFT_retained_pending_baseline_Soldier_physical_readiness_study/

  19. JoyfulA:

    Sounds like John Roberts fretting about the possible admission of girls to his all-boys prep school.

  20. c u n d gulag:

    Oh, and coming to a theater of war near you – nanotech “battle suits” which will amplify any persons strength, making this entirely stupid “point” even more moot.

    http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Molecular-might-Nanotech-battle-suits-could-2656671.php

    In one of those, a single female cheerleader might be able to lift the entire Offensive Line.

    Nano-engineered women soldiers.
    Take that, misogynists!!!

  21. ajay:

    the Canadians have neither the capacity nor the need for a large standing army.

    Yeah, it’s not like they’ve been garrisoning the second largest city in Afghanistan for the last decade or anything.

  22. sibusisodan:

    That is an excellent takedown. Thanks for doing the work so we don’t all have to sully our eyes with that schtick.

    My favourite:

    Mitt Romney had accused President Obama of wanting to let servicewomen serve in combat?

    He really didn’t think that sentence out, did he? I mean, since when has ‘letting’ or ‘permitting’ got anything to do with maximising liberty, eh? Tell me that!

    We don’t want your government not-mandating what we can or cannot do!

  23. Dr.KennethNoisewater:

    Lotta preemptive whining about standards that are “going to” drop. Let’s wait and see before we start crying like babies, shall we? Also, FUN FACT: Physical fitness standards have already been lowered–for everyone.

    Another fun fact: There is not “carry someone over your shoulder” fitness test. It’s not a thing.

    AND another: There are men who could not lift another man. Guess they shouldn’t serve.

    Let me long and short this for you: the people (mostly men) who oppose this are not afraid women will fail; they’re afraid women will succeed.

  24. c u n d gulag:

    Yeah, W’s administration lowered all kinds of standards, because they were running out of warm and willing bodies to sacrifice in Bush’s Follies.

  25. heckblazer:

    Doesn’t everyone know that you’re supposed to lift heavy objects with your legs, not your arms?

  26. Logistics:

    I would like to see the data on how these standards for push-ups and such correlate to lives saved/lost. Has anyone ever determined whether service members are safer with men who can do X number of sit-ups? We can sit here and think of all sorts of scenarios where ideally ever soldier is a human but does it really matter for how wars are fought now in any statistically important sense? Don’t know, just asking!

  27. Logistics:

    Read “he-man” not “human”

  28. maurinsky:

    I am stumped by the hygiene argument. Do men think they can catch menstruation?

  29. Brandon:

    few people making these criticisms have actually served in the armed forces or other emergency rescue roles. Or even taken a basic wilderness first aid class.

  30. Malaclypse:

    No, Boykin is saying that men and women should not see each other pooping.

  31. sharculese:

    In reality, it should be the case that everyone has to register with Selective Services or no one does, but the fact that anti-feminists spend so much time on something so trivial perfectly underscores the frivolity of their arguments.

  32. Joshua:

    For instance, at their physical peak, “the average woman has the aerobic capacity of a 50-year-old male,” notes Mackubin Thomas Owens in a powerfully empirical article in the Weekly Standard.

    I’m not gonna give Weekly Standard any more hits, but I’d like to unpack this. What does the “average woman” refer to? A 22 year old in college? How many women in the military would be considered “average women”? A 22 year old dude in the military is in far better shape than your average 22 year old man – why wouldn’t the same apply to women?

    And what type of 50 year old are we referring to? Jack Lalanne in 1964 or a stereotypical American 50-year old with a failing back and/or a pot belly?

    Is Owens trying to imply that a woman in the military is as fit as peoples’ 50 year old fathers? LOL.

  33. medrawt:

    I was trying to prod at this a bit up-thread. Based on reading the comments to the Atlantic Wire post I’m willing to bet that many of the people vociferously arguing against the inclusion of women in combat are also, a priori, dissatisied with the current or possible future status of several aspects of military training and standards. I’ve previously encountered (mostly online) people arguing variously that the standards are being lowered, that the standard is a poor measure of what soldiers need to be physically capable of, that it overweights some specific aspect of general fitness*, that the contemporary expectations for the amount of gear a soldier is supposed to haul are unsafe, that they don’t trust the military bureaucracy to assess or revise any of the above in the way that best helps the actual soldiers be as effective and safe as possible. All of this in a context where the role of women in combat wasn’t being discussed.

    And I’m willing to believe that any or all of the above might be true! – I don’t know. But if any of those things are true, then that’s the problem, and it might be a problem that’s multiplied by the effort to integrate women into combat units, but the bare fact of integrating women into combat units doesn’t require or imply that any of the above are true.

    * I once clicked a link and discovered that there’s at least one disgruntled veteran out there who was willing to devote many paragraphs to an attack on what he deemed the Army’s culture of running.

  34. c u n d gulag:

    Yeah, like no man in combat ever pooped or pee’d themselves.

    Oh!
    THAT’S what they’re afraid of.

    The some men are afraid they’ll lose control, while the women won’t.
    And, won’t THAT be an embarrassing story back in the mess tent!

  35. mark f:

    Thanks! I wish I could say I excised portions that made his argument more compelling. As it’s Jonah Goldberg, however, these actually are his major points.

  36. mark f:

    It reminds me of something else I found hilarious — the freakout over the PPACA mandate. As we Massachusetts residents already knew, for the vast majority of us all it meant was handing over another piece of paper, which, like W-2s, came automatically in the mail with an “Important Tax Documents Enclosed” message in the envelope, to H&R Block. Still, at least fretting about that was (somewhat) understandable. In this case, everyone knows that we don’t actually have a draft anymore, and we men* know that registering is literally nothing more than signing a card and forgetting about it.

    *Those of us approximately Foster’s age, anyway; no disrespect to the older guys who actually did face the terrifying prospect of being sent off to Vietnam.

  37. Bill Murray:

    but everybody poopds

  38. Bill Murray:

    or poops

  39. mark f:

    Perhaps some of them are just terrified that lowered fitness standards might make their own asses not too sorry for service, after all.

  40. daveNYC:

    For instance, at their physical peak, “the average woman has the aerobic capacity of a 50-year-old male,” notes Mackubin Thomas Owens in a powerfully empirical article in the Weekly Standard.

    Of course if we fought our wars using people who were in ‘average’ shape, we’d all be speaking Canadian.

  41. c u n d gulag:

    If we start making Jonah Goldberg, Erick Erickson, and Dan Senor, types eligible for military service, for our countries future’s sake, we’d better continue to hope that they stay chickensh*t chickenhawks – not that there’s ANY danger of one of the Keyboard Kommando’s, or Neo-lovers of any war that doesn’t include them, actually volunteering.

    Hell, if called, they’d be the first ones out for some kind of deferment, or learning the words to “Oh Canada.”

  42. daveNYC:

    I don’t even get the fuss. There’s a job, the job has requirements, you have a test to see if you meet the requirements. I guess people assume that the next step is a ritual castration of all the male soldiers in the unit or something.

  43. BigHank53:

    And one suspects that might be Boykin’s issue. Once enough men realize that female crotches aren’t all that mysterious, or inferior, or holy, or requiring 24/7 policing by Christ’s Blessed Warriors, where would his puritanical version of Christianity be?

  44. Malaclypse:

    Wait, are you saying wimmin don’t poop rainbows and sunshine?

  45. BigHank53:

    I was once a teenager, and fascinated with things that go bang. My brother was a bit of a WWII nut, and built dozens of models, books, magazines, etc. So I’ve probably looked at pictures of ninety percent of the weapons (from sidearms to aircraft carriers) used in the last sixty years, and let me assure of this: there isn’t a single one that you fire with your dick.

  46. Keaaukane:

    Dean Swift was also shocked to find a lack of rainbows. See “The Ladies Dressing Room”, commonly known as “Celia shits”.

  47. Benjamin:

    Well, there was one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Cheney_hunting_incident

  48. mark f:

    And who do we blame for that?

  49. ajay:

    killing strangers is already deeply unnatural behaviour

    That’s highly debatable. For something so unnatural, it certainly seems fairly widespread.

  50. ajay:

    I would like to see the data on how these standards for push-ups and such correlate to lives saved/lost

    What data are you thinking of? You think the army’s done some sort of controlled study? “In three days fighting outside Aachen in February 1945, the 452nd Infantry (the “Gym Rats”) took 17 casualties and inflicted 52 German casualties, while the neighbouring 663rd (the “Doughnut Doughboys”) took 29 casualties and inflicted just 31″?

  51. sharculese:

    I guess people assume that the next step is a ritual castration of all the male soldiers in the unit or something.

    They already think that Title IX mandates this for universities, so applying it to armed forces isn’t that much of a stretch.

  52. ajay:

    In reality, it should be the case that everyone has to register with Selective Services or no one does

    Wouldn’t be very selective, then, would it? Ah ha! Gotcha!

  53. N__B:

    I tried that, but my toes are too short to get a good grip on things.

  54. DrDick:

    There is no actual evidence that Jonah “thinks” at all.

  55. Mike Crichton:

    The social objections don’t impress me much, since killing strangers is already deeply unnatural behaviour and we manage to get the soldiers to do that.

    Considering that other primate species manage to engage in intra-group violence just fine, color me skeptical of that claim. And yes, I have read “On Killing”, and I think Dave Grossman is full of excrement.

  56. Mike Crichton:

    Another fun fact: There is not “carry someone over your shoulder” fitness test. It’s not a thing

    While not a “test”, per se, it was part of the mandatory pre-deployment training when I was in. No real consequences for failure other than mockery from your fellow grunts, though, so your point stands.

  57. Hogan:

    These colors don’t run!

  58. gocart mozart:

    The pantload weighs in.

    What if, during the presidential campaign, Mitt Romney had accused President Obama of wanting to let servicewomen serve in combat? After all, Obama had hinted as much in 2008. What would Obama’s response have been?

    My hunch is that he would have accused Romney of practicing the “politics of division” or some such and denied it.


    My “hunch” is that Jonah is talking out of his ass again.

  59. Joe:

    “Qualifications” tend to be post hoc rationalizations in cases like this. Many men aren’t qualified for combat or the police dept or whatever. Focus on qualifications, not false issues.

  60. gocart mozart:

    Do men think they can catch menstruation?

    Why take chances. Better safe than sorry.

  61. mark f:

    From Alan Taylor‘s The Civil War of 1812:

    Lovett later consoled [General Van Rensselaer]: “I know that . . . your very soul was sickened with the motley group of Indians, upstarts, vagabonds, ragamuffins, rap scallions, and slubberdegullions who poured in like flood wood from every stream.”

  62. joe from Lowell:

    True enough.

    The difficulty in getting recruits to kill is probably more about overcoming nurture than nature.

  63. djillionsmix:

    “other primate species manage to engage in intra-group violence just fine”

    Do they kill each other just fine? B/c otherwise this isn’t really relevant.

  64. Malaclypse:

    slubberdegullions

    This is a Wonderful Word. Better than “crocodile.”

  65. Bill Murray:

    I think Boykin was thinking of girl cooties more than menstruation (assuming there is a difference, being male I don’t know)

  66. Bill Murray:

    Harry Whittington. didn’t you see his apology

  67. Margarita:

    Heretic.

  68. wjts:

    It runs a very close second to “tatterdemalion”.

  69. Margarita:

    it’s merely postponed it until the day Americans see large numbers of women coming home in body bags too.

    When large numbers of anyone are coming home in body bags, we will have conscription, and these inviolable physical fitness standards will suddenly be of far less importance than good old-fashioned guts, determination, and purity of essence.

  70. (the other) Davis:

    Chimps will kill and *eat* other chimps.

  71. mark f:

    When I first came across it I shared it immediately with everyone else home, and also texted several people.

    Another obscure favorite of mine, which I happened across while looking up I-forget-what in the dictionary, is “cockalorum.”

  72. DrDick:

    will suddenly be of far less importance than good old-fashioned guts, determination, and purity of essence.

    Speaking as someone who was drafted in 1971, mostly what they are looking for is a pulse.

  73. Dr.KennethNoisewater:

    That’s interesting. My husband has been serving for 20 years. Never mentioned such a test.

  74. BigHank53:

    Many volunteer fire departments only added physical testing after some women tried to join.

  75. Gareth Wilson:

    Yeah, the Selective Service thing isn’t quite the same issue as women in combat. But if women don’t have to sign up, that’s a obvious double standard. Opportunity and freedom for women, compulsion for men.

  76. rea:

    Everybody registers, and then they select which ones they want . . .

  77. Anna in PDX:

    I know tht our local police and firemen have a different pension system that allows them to retire earlier than the norm. I guess it should be like this for all those sorts of jobs shouldn’t it? For the military i suppose the older and more senior you get the less hard duty you are expected to perform? Seems only logical…

  78. sharculese:

    sarcasm detector, recalibration, etc.

  79. sharculese:

    Yeah, a

    At the same time, feminism is the opposite of the reason for this double standard, despite what certain parties would like to claim.

  80. STH:

    I think the basic issue is that the religious right has been trying so hard to keep gender essentialism alive. They are desperately trying to convince everybody that all men are naturally strong protective provider types and all women are naturally sensitive irrational maternal types. Also on their side are the awful MRA assholes who also believe men and women are “naturally” distinct species based on huge misunderstandings of evolutionary psychology. So that amounts to a lot of people who think that women and men have separate lives, abilities, and inclinations. They don’t think in terms of “people” at all, just two separate groups with little in common (at least the religious nuts think the sexes complement each other; MRAs just think women are stupid, lying, sluts).

  81. sharculese:

    The thing about MRAs is, as vocal and obnoxious as they are on the internet, they basically have no presence or political power in real life.

    Their major victories so far are harassing a couple of bloggers and college students, and getting a few lines nobody cared that much about dropped from a piece of pre-committee draft legislation.

  82. Manta:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kU0XCVey_U

  83. sparks:

    Lizard brain processing is often mistaken for thinking.

  84. DrDick:

    *Some* chimps do so. It has been documented in only two populations at Gombe in Tanzania and another in Uganda. Otherwise neither chimps nor any other ape routinely kill members of their own species. It is worth noting that our other closest relative, the bonobo (with whom we also share 98% of our genome), does not normally engage in intraspecies violence at all.

  85. DrDick:

    They actually did a large scale controlled study on the effects of testosterone on combat effectiveness in Vietnam.

  86. Ed Molyneaux:

    I assumed that George Will was arguing for excluding tall, muscular men from combat, given that they’re harder to carry if they’re wounded. (Besides, don’t short people present smaller targets?)

  87. Hogan:

    Maybe “unnurtural” should be a word. I’ll get on that next week.

  88. Magnus the lesser:

    My number one son was in the Navy Reserve,(Corpsman) til last fall. He spent six years attached to a Marine Reserve Artillery Company.
    In 2011 his unit spent seven months in Afghanistan where he says his weight never exceeded 120 lbs. Somehow, his skinny little ass was able to carry the biggest farm boy in his unit, if necessary.

  89. STH:

    Funny, isn’t it, how it’s always the women who need to have their behavior and opportunities constrained?

  90. STH:

    Speak for yourself.

  91. STH:

    I agree with you about their lack of political power, but I think some of their “ideas” are pretty widely accepted (that is to say, sexism and gender essentialism are pretty common in U.S. society, and don’t have anywhere near the stigma attached to them that racism does).

  92. Dr.KennethNoisewater:

    I’m assuming you’re in the Marines. My husband participated in their pre-deplyment training (for some reason, I’m not sure–he’s in the AF, but is often stationed on bases with people from other branches of service). Apparently they are given someone of the same size to lift. So, I guess if you’re a woman in the Marines, you should be able to lift someone YOUR SIZE.

  93. Dr.KennethNoisewater:

    I still haven’t figured out how we’re both sluts and frigid, withholding ice queens who hate sex. I guess we’re talented.

  94. Jameson Quinn:

    Not fair. At least 3 limbs and opposable digits are also on the list.

  95. STH:

    And if we have jobs, then we’re trying to be men, not taking proper care of our kids, and taking jobs away from men (who really need them while we don’t), but if we don’t, then we’re lazy, shiftless, welfare queens who want the government to take care of us.

    If there’s one thing you can learn from the internet, it’s how much hatred of women is out there. It’s really stunning.

  96. (the other) Davis:

    There’s no question the world would be a better place if we resolved conflicts like bonobos do.

  97. ajay:

    neither chimps nor any other ape routinely kill members of their own species.

    This turns out to be complete nonsense.

    Infanticide, for example, is common among mountain gorillas. And chimps. And gibbons. And it happens fairly frequently among humans, of course. Of all the great apes, only bonobos and orangutans do not routinely kill members of their own species.

  98. ajay:

    Good grief. Link?

  99. Dave:

    Ah, but they were 120 man-pounds, which are different

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