As of January 24th, the US military officially ended the ban preventing women being front line soldiers. I understand this is not an immediate an event. Over the last twenty years, women had been taking more active roles as were provided to them or that they could push for, such as pilots. Plus, women fighting are not something that is historically new; there are the ancient Amazons of Greece, Soviet female sniper units fighting during World War Two, and Israel which allows women access to most of the positions in their military.
For Americans, a large part of the issue has been the traditional role of women as home makers or support. Of course, much of this has radically changed, but when it comes to combat, those inhibitions still existed. As many have said, war is a very brutal activity; it’s perhaps humanity at our ugliest, both during and after the combat. So the idea of women, whom we are raised to see as beautiful princesses, wives, mothers, and being sexy, suddenly being torn apart by a shell round, or taken captive and raped, is wrenching one.
Many people today have no issue with front line female soldiers. While it’s true that historically, they were largely family oriented, there’s also more than enough historical proof that they can kill as well. An issue of concern though is what the mentality will be for the women who sign up for combat. Like I said, our society, good or bad, puts women on pedestals of idealism.
The enemies that they may face though, may have a more extreme and conservative view of women. More than that, they may become even more violent if they knew they were fighting and being defeated by women. The view of subservient women is very pervasive today. Many societies are still struggling with the concept of women in positions of power, much less power over them! This can be viewed as shameful and shame has much deeper implication than it does here, though this does not justifies their violent actions.
So I cheer this change in the military’s stance on female combatants. I encourage it as much as most progressive Americans would. Many have already served honorably. I just hope that there is a clear understanding of the face of the world they are entering into.