Cultural Revolutions

Genderless Society Just Around the Corner

The genderless society is just around the corner. Eager to oblige, the Pentagon has ordered a series of "reforms" that will admit women to some 4,000 military positions previously reserved to men. The only restriction remaining is the congressionally mandated ban on women in direct combat, and even that barrier is increasingly porous ("we will now go as far as we can within these legislative constraints," says the head of the task force that recommended the most recent changes). Women are now to serve as Marine security guards at U.S. embassies, aboard Air Force reconnaissance craft and Navy ammunition ships, and in Army forward support battalions. Polls, meanwhile, show growing numbers of Americans favoring an expansion of the female role in the military, even into combat.

What is left out of this social policy is, of course, the mission of the military—which has something to do with defending the nation and its interests. That mission is seriously complicated when a large number of soldiers cannot perform the most routine tasks. Most Army jobs require lifting at least 65-85 pounds, and many require lifting over 100 pounds. While only 3 percent of women can lift "very heavy" weights (as opposed to 80 percent of men), the Army has assigned 42 percent of its women to jobs requiring just that. The average female soldier cannot lob a grenade far enough or carry a light machine gun at length or drag...

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