Ladies: Your Country Needs You. Sometimes.


From News.com 19/4/11

WAR veterans preparing to commemorate Anzac Day in Sydney have cast doubt on women serving on the frontline.

One retired soldier said he’d rather be shot than see females in combat.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) plans to open up all frontline jobs to women as part of its response to the Skype sex scandal at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).

“I’d stand up and be counted and rather be shot than have them working on the frontline of the infantry, certainly not,” Brigadier (retired) Olof Isaksson MC, 93, a World War II veteran who fought in the 1941 Siege of Tobruk, said.

“I’m totally opposed to women on the frontline.

“Conditions are impossible for them, no privacy, no latrines and I think it downgrades the status of womanhood to suggest they should be in the frontline.

 

Now on some levels, I’m with Olof here. I’d rather cook a three-course dinner for my ungrateful family, make my own clothes, do the laundry, serve my husband his fourth scotch once I had ensured he had slippers and a pipe, listen to his problems at work whilst nodding and smiling at the approriate places and see our very quiet yet many children were tucked into bed before sinking into a hard-backed chair for a sherry and then starting the dishes than serve on the Front Line, but that’s just me. Also, not having proper “latrines” would faze me. Totally.

There are far better women than me serving in the army. I salute them. Apparently heaps of test pilots are women because they multi-task much better than men. But I’d like to point out that this is easy journalism. Let’s interview a 93-year-old man about what he thinks of women dodging bullets. Crikey, Olof was born in 1918 – women in some countries had only just been given the right to vote.

By the time he was in his 40s, women had only just started wearing mini-skirts and started burning their bras. In Olof’s day, women got paid less than men because they were women and he probably still calls them “the fairer sex”. Let’s be fair, the guy had a bayonet and other weapons made of sticks and a bar of chocolate to get him through the war. I’m not demeaning his war effort by any means, but it’s a stupid question to ask an old man conscripted into service who never ever served alongside women.

I know, it’s terribly difficult, nigh impossible, to interview actual current serving members of the military on what they really think. But asking Olof? Really? Women on the front line is a difficult topic. I have friends in the military. How gender interaction plays a role in warfare is a Very Important Question. Anything that puts life at risk is not going to be accepted and neither it should be. But there should be no doubt there are places for women on the front line. Places for PEOPLE, who are the best of the best, who work well together, to do a fucking difficult job.

Women are in the armed services. Fact. And perhaps in many quarters men have to Grow The Fuck Up and stop acting like children and accept that the armed forces are not a man’s domain anymore. That women can and will contribute excellent qualities and that bike-shed mentality is fucking ridiculous. It will take time but women are already doing incredible things. But maybe it will take time for Governments to stop crying “rape” everytime a female soldier is captured to ellicit more sympathy for their cause and therefore diminishing what women do.

Men and women are different. We Fucking Know That Already. But that doesn’t mean some men and some women can do some of the toughest jobs they can get. Christ, if you can cook Christmas dinner for 12 without burning anything or losing your mind, if you can give birth to twins (eeewww) and be up and about the next day, if you can do five things at once, at least one of which involves boiling water, then maybe you have some skills the army needs. Just fuckin saying.

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About ohhellwhatthehell

I like gin, mittens and otters, not necessarily in that order. Here's some stuff I felt like writing down when I'm not chained to a desk writing other things for a living. Please use caution when using this site; there may be sweary words, cute animals and general bullshit. Don't say I didn't fucking warn you.
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