Why The Female Marine Cut From The Infantry Course Should Still Be Applauded
OMG, did you hear? A female Marine dropped out of the infantry course because she couldn't take it. It's totally, absolutely, solid proof that women shouldn't be allowed to serve their country in combat roles, right? I jest, obviously, because the female Marine cut from the infantry course is a total rockstar nonetheless, and anyone who uses her as an example of why women shouldn't be allowed in combat needs to get their head right.
I'm not just randomly cheerleading her (the Marine Corps hasn't released her name) because she's a chick and I want to watch Bachelor In Paradise with her and drink wine in some basic, empty gesture of female solidarity. It's about the numbers, people.
First, you have to understand how things work. After basic training, Marines choose (or are sort of forced into, depending on your read) units. They follow a track, depending on skill levels and passions. Infantry is a tough one. This woman was the 30th woman of all time to lay in her bunk and think, "I wanna do that." A lot of men don't even try. In April, she didn't cut it. She had a second chance in July and joined a class of 97 people as the only female.
She had to drop out again; it was hard. So did 32 other men. I'm not great at quick math but that sounds like 34 percent of the class (correct me if I'm wrong here) didn't make it. And 1 percent of that entire group was a female. I'm going to file this one under a success.
Men don't meet fitness requirements in the military all the time. That's because it's really, super, insanely hard to be a Marine. I understand that women in combat roles is a new thing — the first ones were only allowed to think about taking the Combat Leadership Test in 2012. As of right now, women occupy 93 percent of the Marine's occupational roles. But women make up just a little over 7 percent of the entire Marine Corps as a whole.
That's not a lot. Any woman in any military outfit should feel like a badass for breaking through stereotypes and being a leader. Using the woman who tried to complete the course and failed as an example of how women will never make it as Marines is so very wrong. Can you imagine, as a woman, trying two times to complete the course the sort of stuff she probably had to listen to while doing? Having the guts to go back and try again alone is admirable. Female enrollment in the infantry course is low — some higher ups think it has to do with the physical requirements and the intensity of the program.
Men have been dropping out of the infantry course since the dawn of military history and taking other paths in the armed forces and we, rightly, salute them. If we use the women who don't make it through a course, or even boot camp, as an example of why the gender should be banned from combat roles, then we're going to have look at the males, too. If 30 percent of an infantry class is male, and they drop out, then we should judge guys in the armed forces too, right? I'm just looking for the logic here.
A few years ago, a woman wouldn't have even been able to take a shot at the course. Apart from the actual training, this woman, like all women in service, are battling stigma every single second of their waking lives in the military. Women who want combat roles have a lot to prove. So yes, the one woman in the infantry course this July dropped out. Along with 32 men. Why aren't we picking on those guys? I mean, just look at the numbers.