Misinformation spreads rapidly across the internet. There seems to be greater misunderstanding about basic science. Masculine By Design is a blog that has a traditionalist view about men and women. Basically, it is using religion to mask misogyny and the justification to treat women less than equal. The irony here, is that it is using science as well to claim that women are inferiors. The article makes the claim women are unsuitable for combat seeing as they lack the physical strength. The claim is that they have strength of only a 13 year old boy. Basic anatomy and physiology can reveal that is incorrect. The use of running speeds is not an indicator of physical strength. That is more of an measure of aerobic capacity. Sprinting does require a level of muscular strength, while marathon running is reliant on muscular endurance. The author uses the wrong set of data to make comparisons about physical strength. Weightlifting records could be more precise. Long jump records are the only set of data could be more useful making his point. Military combat is more complex than running or playing on a team sport. Sex differences are not a justification for keeping women out of combat jobs. If they are physically and psychologically able to handle such occupations, there is not reason to ban them. Masculine By Design is not offering an opinion, rather it is distorting the facts. Anatomy and physiology do not always work against women in physically demanding occupations.
Sexual dimorphism does effect physical fitness. On average men have more natural physical strength. All women are not weaker than men as stated in the article. There can be degrees in relation to body size, somatotype, and body composition. The claim is women are weaker not by a little bit, but by a lot. A woman with an etcomorphic body type would not be stronger than any man, even a man of her similar body type. A woman who has a naturally muscular body type could be stronger than a man that does not train. Women with mesomorphic bodies would gain the most strength from a training regimen. Women can experience muscular hypertrophy from an exercise strength training program. The difference is that they will not reach the same physical fitness levels as men who do the same. It should be no surprise that a highly fit woman can be as strong as an average man or one that is physically weak. Strength can vary with age. Children obviously are not going to be strong than full grown adults. A 13 year old has not yet attained their full growth in terms of muscle and bone mass.
Growth hormone will increase during the tanner stages of puberty. At the first stage a 13 boy would not have the physical strength of an adult woman. A boy at this stage of puberty will have more strength than a 13 year old girl. The strength spurt happens between two growth spurts. Women also grow in terms of musculoskeletal mass,but not to the same degree. This is mainly because they have their growth happen earlier and faster. More muscle tissue is on the male body due to the influence of sex hormones. Androgens will allow for denser bones and muscles. The third to fourth stage of the Tanner stages see a boy’s body become more robust. Stage five sees a boy reach his full natural level of physical strength. This happens between the ages of 15 to 20. Knowing this it would be more credible to say that a 15 to 18 year teenage male could have the strength of an adult woman. This also depends on the males and female being compared. The author was comparing female athletes to middle school and high school boy athletes. Most Americans are either average in fitness or overweight, which would mean many would not be able to pass demanding physical fitness assessments of the US Military. People who are going to be drafted ( if it comes back ) are not going to perform on the level of professional athlete. Being a soldier also requires a completely different skills set.
It should also be noted that running and acts of pure brute strength are two different elements of physical fitness. Measurement is important to this calculation and data is also critical. The selection does not provide an accurate account of male and female capabilities in physical strength.
The data counts when making assertions. What was excluded was the discus and shot put records, due to the difference in equipment size. If that was a problem, then it was make more sense to use weightlifting and powerlifting statistics. It is actually possible for a person to run faster than a physically stronger person. That is not to say that sprinters do not have considerable muscular strength. Running shorter distances requires explosive amounts of power compared to marathons. Runners are doing a different method of training compared to weightlifters. One group of athlete is trying to increase speed rather than be physically stronger. Both incorporate weights into their training. Examining weightlifting records as an aggregate challenges that claims made in the text. The statement was:
” Women are physically weaker than men. Not by a little bit, but by a lot. It’s not good or bad; it’s just the way it is. The physical rigors of combat stress even the strongest of grown men, what will they do to someone that only has the physical strength of an 8th grade boy?.”
There is a strength gap. However this is extorted to suit the writer’s personal opinion. Calculate the difference between the snatch, clean,and jerk between men and women. The snatch comes to a 59.11 kg difference. The clean and jerk is 65.24 k9. As a total there is a 120 kg difference. Considering the physiological and anatomical differences one would expect that these gaps would be much larger. The disparity in running speed would be related to lung and heart size more so, than muscle mass. The quadriceps angle and pelvis size on women effects their running speed. Women being helpless weaklings does not seem to have scientific credibility. Body size is a factor. The reason it is difficult to make such comparisons is because women are on average smaller than men. The difference in performance is related to size. That is why many sports have weight classes.
When building an army, there could be people of various physical fitness levels. Every soldier is not going to be high performing. There are times when waivers were done just to increase the size of armies. Sometimes an enemy nation could be overwhelmed by numbers. Soldiers of the past were either forced into service or average civilians took up arms when situations became desperate. Training the body for combat is more than just building physical strength. It requires an cumulative system of functional fitness. Endurance, speed, hand and eye coordination are pivotal in various functions. Shooting requires fast reflexes and a level of muscle memory. Depending on which branch of the military a person goes into, requires a different set of skills for the Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marines. Basic training is an introductory course to more advanced MOS. The type of data selected is important when making a case for or against women in combat. Rather than be objective, it seems some rather use it as a justification to keep women from advancing in the US Military.
The author does not seem aware that children have been made into soldiers. Oddly enough, he claims that if anyone suggested that 13 year old boys be made to fight they would be laughed at. The truth is there are countries that use child soldiers. Children do not even have their full adult strength and size yet, but are fighting in war zones. This is an ignored human rights crisis that gets little press coverage. Anyone who is capable of firing a gun can be made into a soldier. The reason children are used is that an army of loyal and brainwashed soldiers will remain with a force for life. That way, a conflict can go on forever. Countries such as Myanmar, South Sudan, and Columbia have been known to use child soldiers. The majority are mostly boys, however there are girl child soldiers.
War ruins nations and functioning societies. When it becomes so prevalent men, women, and children will eventually become involved . Aggressor nations normally are not as effected as the victim. Libya’s engineered destruction by NATO has seen the country fall into a failed state. Indochina experienced mass bombings by the US, resulting in a large exodus of refugees in 1975. Arming populations for permanent states of warfare is a threat to civilization. The case of child soldiers demonstrates that a person does not need to be large or strong to be part of a fighting force. Societies can easily become militarized whether they are democracies or authoritarian systems. Everyone then becomes part of the fighting force of the nation.
The argument against women in combat lacks cogency. History has shown periods in which women fought in wars, but rarely got recognition. The Mino warriors saw combat in the Franco-Dahomean wars. Japan had the onna bugeisha a noble class that consisted of female combat units. This all female fighting force attempted to stop the French from colonizing Benin. The Soviet Union during World War II allowed women to fly combat missions. These are a few examples of women fighting in war. The suggestion that there entry into the US Military’s combat occupations could cause decline or collapse is ludicrous. Biological or physical arguments were once used to exclude women from law enforcement, firefighting, and construction. A similar tactic is being used here, although the author is being more dishonest. Women were already seeing combat in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was not being done in an official capacity. Fighting terrorist organizations is different compared to fighting a conventional army. If anything, the US will have more combat soldier as the result of positions opening up to women. The harsh reality is that the constant state of warfare and a military industrial complex will be America’s downfall. As the world shifts to multipolarity, the US still seeks to remain the dominant world power. This will inevitably lead to conflict with China and Russia putting global security at risk. Only skilled diplomacy can prevent a mass global conflict. Compare to other horrifying possibilities related to international disputes, women in combat jobs is not the worse thing to happen.