As everyone reading this blog no doubt already knows, feminists have hailed the Pentagon’s decision to open combat jobs to women, which will allow women the same opportunities to serve as men. The decision is also a backhanded acknowledgement that, for all intents and purposes, women are serving in combat today already. (Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth lost both of her legs in combat in Iraq – but officially, what she was engaged in wasn’t combat.)
It seems inevitable that, as a result of this decision, young women will be required to sign up for selective service alongside men. While virtually all feminists I know oppose the draft, most agree that as long as registration is going to be required, it should be required for both men and women. Indeed, when selective service was reinstated in 1981, the National Organization for Women brought a lawsuit demanding this sort of equality.
Reaction amongst Men’s Rightsers to the Pentagon’s announcement has been mixed. Some have welcomed the change, as a “what’s good for the goose” acknowledgement of equal rights and responsibilities. Others, like most of the regulars on The Spearhead, predict catastrophe, as inherently unqualified women are sent to the front lines. Regular Spearhead commenter Uncle Elmer joked:
After this experiment runs its course, how many men will have died while bringing tampon supplies up to the front?
Can anyone tell me the additional garbage load from tampon-related issues on all-women submarines? Could a mission fail if some gal flushed her tampon down the toilet instead of following the proper mil-spec procedure?
But the most telling reaction has come from A Voice for Men, which in an editorial suggested that it would only support the move if women were required to die as often as men.
No, really. Here’s what the editorialist, presumably site founder Paul Elam, wrote:
AVFM supports the spirit of the new Pentagon Directive … However, any blanket approval of the new measure thus far would be premature. …
[T]he only way this new policy will have any meaning will be if it is mandatory that women face combat on the front lines. With 20% of the military being comprised of women, that means roughly 20% of combat related fatalities should be female. 1 in 5 of body bags being filled overseas should contain the bodies of mothers, sisters, daughters, wives and girlfriends.
AVFM isn’t alone in hoping that one result of the Pentagon’s new policy will be increased injury and death for women. On his blog the self-designated “counter-feminist agent of change” Fidelbogen quoted – with a weird sort of semi-approval – one comment from an unknown person he says he found online:
I know this isn’t a laughing matter but this is pretty fucking sweet. Now those very same women who complain about how hard childbirth is get to experience real pain and misery by getting their arms blown off by enemy fire or their legs blown off by mines. Or getting infections when they have to stay at their post for days at a time without taking a bath. Those same women who say all men are rapists can now see what real rape is when they are taken as POW’s and gang-raped by foreign men at gun point and passed around like a piece of meat and then their heads blown off when they are done. This is real war ladies, are you ready for your cup of true equality?
In the comments on AVFM, meanwhile one Rick Westlake helped to make clearer the vindictive subtext of the AVFM’s editorial, suggesting that the Pentagon’s decision could be good for men if it served to
rub … some high-ratcheted, ‘entitled/empowered’ noses in the misandric, disposable-male double standard of the Selective Service system.
Our current society, including our military, makes mock of ‘equality’ by divorcing ‘opportunity’ from ‘consequences,’ ‘choices’ from ‘costs,’ and ‘benefits’ from ‘responsibility.’ Princesses are awarded all of the opportunities, choices and benefits and are excused from all the responsibility, costs and consequences. ‘Draft-pigs,’ meaning men, are made to shoulder all those dirty, nasty, dangerous and demeaning responsibilities, consequences and costs on behalf of the Entitled Empowered Princesses.
Putting women on the combat line would be disastrous for the military … But the fact remains, enough Princesses have clamored for the ‘opportunities and benefits’ of serving in the front line, heedless of the consequences and the costs.
By requiring Princesses to register for Selective Service, before they can claim the benefits that ‘draft-pigs’ can only receive if they’ve registered – and by declaring them liable for the same fines and penalties as the draft-pigs, if they don’t – we at least remind them that freedom isn’t free, that choices have costs, and that true equality includes responsibility and consequences.
I can already hear the thin, reedy screeches from the Princesses. Fine. Let them learn what it is to hump 35-pound fifty-cal ammo cans to feed Ma Deuce in a firefight. Or let them scuttle back to the home and the hearth, and give thanks for (and to) the Brave Men who will defend them.
Elam himself echoed this vindictive “let them eat equality” stance in a sneering comment posted under his own name suggesting that in the wake of the Pentagon’s new policy plenty of women won’t find the “aroma” of equality to
be so sweet … This is what feminism was always about, and now, after three waves, the chickens are going to come home to roost. Because feminism never was about anything but creating tax paying, laboring, consuming, bleeding and dying servants to the masters of corporatocracy.
They lured women in with visions of corner offices and autonomy, and now that they have fully taken the bait, the doors are going to be slammed behind them and locked. They will be left to languish in their “freedom” as corporate wage slaves, and when needed they will be forced to contribute to the rivers of blood required to keep it going.
NOW and others will likely succeed in keeping the last part “optional” for while, but it won’t last.
The grand daughters of today’s college woman is as fucked as any man in history.
To which every feminist I know would say: bring it on. Feminists are well aware that equality, along with its many benefits, brings certain costs. Putting more women into combat roles means, inevitably, that more women will be injured or killed. The feminists supporting the Pentagon’s decision are aware of this. Unlike many MRAs, though, they look at combat injuries and deaths as one of the sad but inevitable consequences of war — not as something to rub anyone’s face into.
Here’s a hint to any MRAs who think that either AVFM or the more blatantly sadistic commenter quoted by Fidelbogen has a point: Civil Rights activism is about uplifting everyone, not making others “pay.”
When the American civil rights movement took up the issue of voting rights, civil rights activists demanded that black people be allowed to vote without harassment or other obstacles like “literacy tests” standing in their way.
Civil rights activists didn’t demand that whites be kept from voting.
The Civil Rights movement called for historically all-white colleges to be opened up to blacks. It didn’t call for white people to be banned from these colleges too.
This is how you can tell that the Men’s Rights movement, as it stands today, is not a true civil rights movement. Because insofar as it is about anything other than complaining about (and sometimes harassing) feminists and women in general, it’s about tearing down rather than building up.
Instead of trying to build domestic violence shelters and other services for men, for example, the MRM is more interested in defunding shelters for women – even when their efforts in this area directly harm male victims.
It’s telling that when Father’s Rights activist Glenn Sacks had an issue with the advertisements being run by one DV shelter, he encouraged his followers to bombard the shelter’s donors with phone calls in order to cripple the shelter’s fundraising efforts – even though the shelter in question also provides services for men. It’s telling as well that MRAs rail endlessly against the Violence Against Women Act, and have celebrated Republican opposition to it – even though the act is officially gender neutral in everything but its name, and would provide funding for men’s shelters if MRAs got off their asses to build any.
Instead of fighting for the rights of male victims of rape, the Men’s Rights movement is more interested in downplaying the rape of women, wildly exaggerating the number of “false rape accusations,” and in endless discussions about whether or not having sex with women incapacitated with drinks or drugs is really rape. All of these things contribute to a “rape culture” that harms male victims of rape as well as female.
Not that most MRAs actually care about male victims of rape except as a debating point — perhaps because that would require acknowledging that the overwhelming majority of their rapists are other men. (MRAs do get outraged in the rare cases in which women are the culprits.) The group that does more than any other to fight for male rape victims is the anti-prison rape group Just Detention. Try to find even a mention of this group on any of the leading Men’s Rights sites. (The only mention of the group on AVFM is a comment in a post attacking a feminist writer noting that it isn’t part of the Men’s Rights movement.)
There are endless other examples, because this is in essence the way that the so-called “Men’s Rights” movement does business.
When you take a certain pleasure in the notion of women being “made to pay” or otherwise harmed when they seek equality, you’re about as much of a civil rights movement as the Klan.