Gender and fitness

I went to a small liberal arts college that had a terrible athletic program.  So terrible that they let a pudgy, out of shape me run track and field.  I was a sprinter and pole-vaulter (my college was pretty big on letting everyone try anything).  I was the worst pole-vaulter on my team and the worst male sprinter on my team.

But we only had two other pole-vaulters, one male, one female.  Both were little bean-pole people with good core strength.  The guy pole vaulter could do like maybe 12 or 13 feet (that’s not very good).  I think the girl could do like 8 or 9 (that’s like, only a few feet over what some people high-jump).  Both of them had athletic builds (and both were better than me, but like I said, I was a terrible candidate physically for pole-vaulting), but the guy on my team clearly was able to leverage this into being a better pole vaulter (they both also got injured).  Both had heart and drive and determination, but there was a real physical difference in what each could accomplish.

The bigger difference was in running.  I was, by far, the worst male sprinter on my team.  When we would run in practice, I would usually end up running with the girls.  But here’s the thing:  I was faster than all of them.  I was out-of-shape and overweight, and I was still faster than every one of the girls on my team, many of whom played several sports and had been running track for years.

I’m not saying that there aren’t girls that exist who are faster than me.  There are.  I think there was one girl who had blown out her knee that year in soccer that would have been faster than me on the track team.  But if a guy like me can walk straight from the dessert bar in the cafeteria and into a track team and be faster (and stronger) than every female athlete on the team, that needs to tell you something when we start thinking about putting women in combat roles.

I read an article a few yeas ago saying something to the effect of “every woman should know that just about every man she ever encounters will be stronger than her.”  That really stopped me.  I know that there are some guys that are bigger/stronger/faster than me when I walk down the hallways at work, but there are no women that would be physically capable of taking me in a fight. I couldn’t even imagine if I knew that not only was I somewhere near the bottom of my own gender, but that pretty much I was consigned by genetics to the bottom of the entire species.

I don’t think any guy is going to say that women can’t do amazing physical things.  We’ve all watched female Olympic gymnasts do some pretty impressive stuff.  But that’s not what we’re talking about.  When discussing women in combat, we aren’t looking for assassin/spy/snipers who don’t have to run fast, lift heavy stuff, or carry a giant bag of equipment, we’re talking about people who sometimes need to drag 250 pounds of injured guy + equipment to safety.  We’re talking about people who, for the most part, are really just going to be human mules carrying heavy stuff on their backs from place to place.  And the simple biological fact is that it’s a lot easier to take a 170 pound guy and train him to carry a 100 pound pack than to take a 120 pound female and train her to do the same.

Men build and retain muscle faster.  Our hips make it easier for us to run long distances without injury. (If you ever want to be terrified for your daughter, go look up the injury statistics for things like girls cross country.)  Women are simply not suited for intense combat duties as they exist in our military.  And this isn’t just a “the average girl isn’t good enough.” This is a “95% of girls” aren’t good enough, maybe even higher.  And it’s not just a matter of “they can train more,” there are real, physical limitations on what a woman’s body can do.

There are plenty of places in the military where females can excel, which include lethal missions like piloting bombers, flying drones, and designing better equipment.  I’d be fine with women acting as snipers, spies, and assassins, because those are within their physical limitations.

It is not only wrong-headed, but also morally wrong, to put warfighters at a higher-than-necessary risk of casualty and death, and putting women in combat does just this.

[sidenote; where I work, there are sometimes National Guardsman passing through.  The physical differences between the males and females is shocking.  I am sure there are some Ronda Rouseyish girls in the National Guard.  I haven’t seen any.  I could not imagine any of them carrying heavy packs running around in combat].


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