Section I: Introduction
Women have been in the military, or associated with combat for decades. “The most famous example of the ability of a woman to not only be involved in combat but to lead forces is that of Joan of Arc's legendary battles leading the French army when she was just a teenager.”(Gerber 1) Women have been involved in espionage and even posed as male soldiers during the Civil War. Conflicts such as, WWI, WWII, Panama, and as recent as our current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan women have served with distinction in many ways. In our most recent conflict, over 100 military women have given the ultimate sacrifice. Today with changes in our society and the global environment in which we live two controversial arguments arise concerning women in combat. Basically the debate whether or not women should be allowed to participate in direct combat or not. As our society and cultural beliefs change so does what we except as social norms. Both sides of this argument bring many reasons for and against allowing women to participate in direct combat. Taking into account both views of this controversy it will show, that not only a social change has occurred, but the dynamics of the battlefield has in fact already placed female service members into direct combat.
Section II: Opposition to Direct Combat Roles for Women
Those that are strongly against it base their criticism on a number of reasons that are based on social norms that have existed for centuries. Our social and cultural norms have in the past and will far into the future dictate how we address these issues. Societies have from the beginning of time set certain norms of what men and women should be. These expectations are referred to as gender norms and are deeply rooted in our history.
Physically men have been perceived to be stronger and have always been expected to leave the home and provide for the family. Women in contrast have always been expected to manage the home and raise children. Our society has always placed the main responsibility to protect and provide for the family unit on the male. The female gender has been expected to be subservient and reliant. Staying home nurturing the children and building a home were the social norms that our society expected women to be. Women were not expected to display what would be thought of as masculine tendencies. Playing football was not acceptable for a young girl where as playing jump rope was acceptable. “Most of the women who served in the military before the Viet Nam war didn’t tell anyone about it. Not their friends, neighbors, and sometimes the families didn’t even know about their military service. When they came home from the war, the United States did not want to acknowledge the part they played in it.”(Casey 1) Our society has defined roles that both men and women have had to fill.
Placing women or allowing women to be placed in a situation that may lead to rape is...