Yes, those of you who call yourselves “men;” I’m talking to you.
The two women you see above are Captain Kristen Griest and First Lieutenant Shaye Haver, who have made Army history as the first two women to have graduated from Ranger School in Fort Benning, Georgia, on August 21.
When I first saw this story, I thought to myself, “Wow. That’s good stuff.” I’m not necessarily a history “buff” per se, but I can appreciate and respect whenever history is made in some way, especially when it’s something positive.
In many ways, I’m thankful I was raised by a single mother. Even though we didn’t get along the best as I grew up, I want to say that simply being in that situation has helped shape me into the man I am today. Despite our many differences, my mother is very likely the reason I am HUGE supporter of women’s rights. I know a person doesn’t have to be raised by a single mother to support and respect women, but just in my case, whether intentional or not, even if my mother didn’t necessarily teach it to me herself, I believe that just the presence was all the influence I needed.
I enjoy hearing about women making history, especially when it comes to things like this. On one hand, it’s great to see women still making advances. On the other hand, it’s 2015. It’s almost sad to me that certain advances are JUST being made. In many cases, they are LONG overdue.
This is certainly a BIG day in our Army’s history…or least I and some others think so. However…not everyone agrees that this is a big deal.
Even though men aren’t the only ones who have an issue with this being a big deal, most of the rude comments, at least that I’ve noticed, have come from men.
Let me rephrase that…forget “rude.” How about primitive. Chauvinistic. Sexist. All the comments any sensible person would think that in 2015, we were LONG past hearing.
Now I could even force myself to play Devil’s Advocate and accept (somewhat) if these comments were from civilian men. But no…these ladies’ fellow brothers in arms are many of the ones making the comments.
Call me crazy, but I think that the Army making history with the first-ever female rangers graduating from ranger school puts the Army in an AMAZING light. As a soldier with 18 years and counting, I’m extremely proud. I’d much rather see the Army in the news for something positive like this than some negative, such as, I don’t know…some high-ranking MALE official being charged with sexual harassment or assault.
Back to some of the men and their comments. Probably the most common complaint is the allegation that standards have been lowered in order for these females to have passed ranger school.
For starters, ranger school is NOT something that everyone could do. I’m sure I couldn’t. I can be honest with myself about that. Without researching right now and just going off what I’ve been told by those who have attended themselves, even with the lowering of standards, a lot of MEN would never be able to get through it. Even if this did happen, I can imagine that they weren’t lowered to such an extent that it made the school a cakewalk. Not even close.
To be fair, I can understand where this comes from. Every six months, every soldier must pass what we call the Army Physical Fitness Test. The test consists of two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups and a two-mile run. Different age groups have different requirements, along with different requirements for males and females in both the push-ups and the two-mile run.
Now, the standards are a bit lower for the females in these areas, but understanding the physical differences between males and females, this really does not bother me at all. To me, it’s very acceptable. For the same reason that it’s not a big deal to me that there are different standards for the different age groups. Army or not, certain things cannot and truthfully shouldn’t trump nature. Just because I can do 70 push-ups on the test and a female may be able to do 30-35, I don’t consider her “weaker” or beneath me in any way, because guess what? There may be other areas as far as the Army is concerned that she is likely much better than me in. And who am I to determine which is more important?
Then again, I know some females who could run circles around and smoke OUR standards on this physical fitness test. They can get out there and outdo us men, again, by OUR standards, not theirs (shoutout to my friend Lucy from our Fort Campbell days. I honestly think she still could today, even after recently having a baby).
So I do get where this thinking comes from. But again, are these standards really lowered to such a ridiculous extent that it actually makes the ranger course that much easier for these women? I seriously doubt it. Again, even the lowering of the standards, whatever they are, would probably still be too much for many of us men. And I’m talking about most of the ones running their mouths.
As for the comments, many are just beyond embarrassing. Of course, the classic “get in the kitchen” and “make me a sandwich” jokes are overused, but then there’s a bunch of “this is why females don’t belong in the Army” and “they’ll find out once they’re in combat how tough being a ranger really is.” I even saw a comment to say, “I hope they don’t hold the rest of their team back in combat.”
“Instead of getting the ranger tab, women only deserve the sandwich-making tab.”
“Women just need to stick to jobs where the standards are the same, like medical or office jobs.”
Just a lot of jealousy and hurt feelings by men who are threatened by the women of today who remind us that when they go after what they want, low and behold, many actually GET IT.
“But what happens if she would have to do a fireman’s carry on someone bigger than her? Then what?” Okay, genius…what about any other man out there who would have to carry someone larger than him? Are we assuming that every single man out there is strong enough to carry another man with size difference not being an issue? So men can’t have that problem?
Of course we can. Hell, I’ve seen it MANY times. I can think of several men off the top of my head who would struggle mightily with trying to lift a man larger than him. Even some who couldn’t lift a man smaller than him as well.
Shortly after this, a press conference was held, publicly congratulating Captain Griest and 1st Lieutenant Haver. Some men came out to say, “But I passed ranger school and didn’t get a press conference!” Well…when was the first time a male passed ranger school? It sure as hell wasn’t last month. By now, it’s not news that males have passed. History wasn’t made when YOU passed ranger school. History was made here, and as far as I’m concerned, it was VERY WELL-DESERVING of a press conference.
The bottom line is that it’s pretty damn sad that there are still men out there who have these primitive ways of thinking about women as though it is still the 1930s and 40s. I mean seriously…”stay in the kitchen”? The men who say this really still find that funny? The last time I can remember women being “expected” to “stay in the kitchen” was on those old sitcoms from the 60’s, which of course, was about 50 years ago. If it makes you feel like a man to insult women like that, at least find some new material. That one’s a little played out.
Of course I don’t expect any man to just change how he feels based on this post. If you’re one of the ones I’m talking about, then your ignorance alone will prevent you from changing anything. I’ll just end to say this.
Will either of these two women see this blog post? Probably not. However, I’d trust going into combat with them more than I would trust a lot of the men I know, and here’s why.
A lot of men out there think that simply being men is enough to make it. Women like Captain Griest and 1st Lieutenant Haver feel that it takes HARD WORK to make it. That is who I would want on my team. All day, every day. You can continue living in the stone age and feeling threatened by women who feel that anything you can do, they can do better.
The beautiful thing is, there are a LOT of women out there who, without question, CAN do it much better than us. If you’re not used to it by now, you better get there…
…because the women will certainly be there, with or without you.