I went to work this morning. It was my first day, so I had to wait for my boss to meet me in the lobby. While I was waiting I picked up a copy of the Wall Street Journal and started reading. The article on drivers picking up passengers to beat the tolls on the way to New York City captured my interest, but when I opened up the paper to read the remainder of the article I saw this. And I nearly screamed in anger.
The opinion piece, which I didn’t get to read until I got home, smacks of misogyny and lacks any real logic. The man who wrote it basically says women shouldn’t be allowed in Army Ranger school because they’re women. Seriously.
Kilcullen claims that because one of the major reasons given for opening up more combat and leadership positions to women is to foster military career growth for women, women wouldn’t be selfless enough to be Rangers.
It is this culture of excellence and selflessness that attracts young men to the Ranger brotherhood. The Ranger ethos is designed to be deadly serious yet self-deprecating, focused entirely on teamwork and mission accomplishment. Rangers put the mission first, their unit and fellow soldiers next, and themselves last. The selfishness so rampant elsewhere in our society has never existed in the Ranger brotherhood.
Considering the rigors of Army Ranger training, I can’t imagine why Kilcullen thinks self-interested women would be attracted to the Ranger program. The way I see, opening up the Rangers to women would simply allow those women that are equally attracted to a culture of excellence and selflessness as the young men to join the program.
Women in the military may be asking for more opportunities for career growth, but they’re also asking to be allowed to sacrifice everything for their country if they so choose. They’re asking for the glass ceiling established by rules (not just by culture as in most situations in the U.S. today) be removed.
And that is the secret of the brotherhood’s success. Some call it “unit cohesiveness” but what they are really describing is a transition from self-interest to selfless service. The notion of allowing women into Ranger School because denying them the experience would harm their careers makes Ranger graduates cringe. Such politically correct thinking is the ultimate expression of the “me” culture, and it jeopardizes core Ranger ideals.
Because, you know, women are never selfless. They don’t give up careers to raise children or do the laundry even after a 40-hour work week, caring for the kids, making dinners, and cleaning the house because no one else is going to do it. They don’t leave abusive husbands for the sake of their children. Not that fathers can’t do this, too. It’s just that most of the most self-less people I know are women, not men. Most of the do-anything-to-achieve-a-goal people I know are also women.
As for the physical requirements of the program, no one mentioned relaxing those requirements. Women are capable of meeting physical requirements; sometimes they have to work at it harder than men. That doesn’t mean we’re not worthy, and it doesn’t mean we’ll quit.
The amount of rage coursing through my body from reading Kilcullen’s opinion is hard to describe. I could hardly type straight. This morning, after reading the headline and first paragraph, I almost panicked that in a few brief moments I would have to appear normal and pleasant. That’s how angry I was. That’s how angry I am. I don’t think I wrote this as well as I could, but I need to get it out there. I need for other people to see it. I hope people share this post or post about it themselves. Excuse me while I go scream.