Why it matters that men and women are different

****This is a guest post by Chrissie Dhanagom.****

Scientists recently made another not-so-ground-breaking discovery. Maybe you’ve seen the headline kicking around on facebook. It turns out that the difference between men and women extends beyond a few basic biological facts about their reproductive functions. They think differently, and as a result, behave differently.

If you’re like me, you had little more interest in clicking on that link than on something titled “Scientists discover that water is moist.” But then I decided to write a blog post about it, so I did actually read it.

Researchers mapped the neural circuitry of the brains of 428 males and 521 females. They found that connections in the male brain were stronger within hemispheres, whereas they are stronger between hemispheres for females.

Researcher Ragini Verma was “surprised” that the implications of these findings were consistent with “old stereotypes.” But as Scientific American notes, the findings are consistent with multiple previous studies on the topic. In fact, I’m pretty sure the number of studies contradicting these “stereotypes” numbers exactly zero.

I think it is time to acknowledge that studies on this topic are a serious waste of the finite resources of the scientific community. This is old news, guys. And I don’t just mean old news as in, “we’ve known these things from the dawn of time” kind of old news. I mean old news as in, we as a society have conclusively re-discovered these things even post sexual revolution.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock since the 1960’s, you’re probably aware that the question now dividing factions in the gender wars is not, “are men and women different?” but rather, “do the obvious and scientifically verifiable differences between men and women actually matter?” Do these differences have ethical implications for the roles that men and women should fulfill in the family and in society?

How you answer that question depends on how you answer a more basic one: do differences between things make a moral difference at all? In other words, do we make ethical distinctions based on nature? I propose that you cannot really have a coherent moral code unless you answer “yes” to that question. And since most of us abide by what we consider some kind of moral code, I suggest that most of us do, in fact, make moral distinctions based on natures.

Let’s start with this: a deer and a human being are intrinsically different kinds of things, and this fact has moral implications for how we interact with them.

Think you don’t agree? Let me ask you this: if your children were starving and there was a deer in your backyard, would you shoot it and feed it to them? If you think you wouldn’t, you are probably not a parent. If you are a parent and you think you wouldn’t, then these thoughts are not addressed to you. God help you, because I cannot. Of the remaining 99% of the human race, I ask: what if your children were starving and there was a random stranger in your backyard? Would you shoot a human being and feed him to your children?

Maybe, when it comes down to it, some of us would. But at a minimum, I think most of us can agree, the very thought makes our skin crawl. If we shot a deer in that situation, we would jubilantly gather our starving children around the carcass and thank whatever God we believe in. If we shot a human being, we would know we had done something unspeakable. We would be traumatized for life and would probably lie to our children about it. Some might call it excusable. Does anyone call it good?

It perhaps says something about the deep divide in our culture on moral issues that in search of an almost universal consensus on something, I must raise a case so dark and terrible. If I could think of something less disgusting to talk about, I would. But in a country where the governing majority thinks it permissible to murder children in their mother’s wombs, you have to reach pretty far for consensus. And I do try to avoid talking about Nazis. It’s so cliché.

In any case, the important thing to notice here is that we all make a fundamental moral distinction based on natures. We look at other human beings and notice that they are completely different kinds of things from brute animals. And, in the situation I have proposed, this observation is the basis for a moral judgment. I would call this difference between human beings and animals rationality. You can call it something else if you like. The important thing for the argument I am making right now is that it is there, and its being there is the basis for moral judgment.

The implications here are vast, and extend well beyond the gender question, which, you may remember, was what this post was supposedly about. Granted, of course, that there is a much greater difference between human beings and deer than there is between men and women, and this is why there is not nearly the same ethical divide in how we treat them. A deer is not the kind of thing that can possess a capacity for rational thought. Regardless of differences in brain structure or even actual ability to function rationally, all human beings are the kind of thing that can possess a capacity for rational thought.

But if human experience and a vast body of scientific literature consistently tell us that there is a fundamental difference in the way men and women think and act, does it seem reasonable to hold that this makes ABSOLUTELY NO ETHICAL DIFFERENCE AT ALL? Should we completely disregard these facts when considering whether to send women to the front lines of a war, or asking whether children need both a mother and a father for a healthy, happy childhood?

I would suggest that denying any ethical import to these facts leaves us without any credible basis for formulating moral statements of any kind. And it is, moreover, a formula for unhappiness. It seems a rather obvious thing. When we treat things in accord with the way they are, the universe runs more smoothly. Which, if we gave it a try, might turn out to be a greater good than “equal opportunity.”

-Chrissie Dhanagom

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231 Responses to Why it matters that men and women are different

  1. Dawn Monaghan says:

    I so enjoy you Matt because there is no need to first establish a moral baseline. You’re there already, leaps and bounds ahead.You certainly hit the mark for your guest writer. I had the same reaction to your guest writer as to you. Intelligent, thoughtful observation. Thanks so much.

  2. Kay says:

    I enjoyed reading the guest blog by Chrissie. Very good.

  3. LilyL2182 says:

    I recently saw a Groupon for $32 for a women’s haircut or $20 for a men’s haircut. But what if I’m a woman with a buzz cut? If I just asked for the men’s price they’d probably give it to me. Gender is definitely a factor in making decisions. However, I do take issue with blanket gender-based generalizations. Why are we asking whether we should send women to the front lines? That is as useless of a question as asking whether we should send men to the front lines. We should be asking whether this particular person should be sent to the front lines.

    At the same time we also need to ask whether the criteria used to make those decisions is based on a male standard. The one example I always hear against women on the front lines is that women carry less weight in their packs. But the amount of stuff carried in a pack is based upon what a man can carry in the first place. Is all that stuff needed? Honestly I don’t know.

    • Erin says:

      This may not be where anyone is going with this, but here’s my thought… A spoke once to a friend of mine about the issue of women in combat. There were varying opinions thrown around, but the biggest point he had to make was about our own local fire department. When local law allowed for female firefighters, the chief was skeptical. At first there was little interest and most of those interested failed to complete training. You see, firefighters as a whole were expected to be able to carry a certain weight. Most women could not carry this weight far enough to qualify. When someone pitched a big enough fit, however, the rules were changed. Now female firefighters are only required to carry half that weight. Which is great for them! Now so many more women can pursue their dream of being a firefighter. What a win for the minority. But wait! This chief who was skeptical in the beginning is proven right when he is on the scene. He is in need of someone who can carry a someone out of the building. The women on his crew cannot.

      A military pack is filled with what a soldier needs in combat. Period. The standard is set for a man, because a man is needed to carry the weight. To assume that we should change the standards so women can be there is just silly. If each person in combat is not capable of bearing the same load then they are a weak link. If a woman wants to be in combat then fine. If they want to be packed like sardines in the back of a truck for three days while on her period, unable to exit, and forced to relieve herself in a bag directly in front of a dozen men, then OK! I say let them. But they MUST meet the same requirements as a man. If women want equal treatment, they must recognize that includes equal expectation. No special treatment. Sometimes there are jobs that lend themselves to one gender or another. There may be people who are exceptions to that rule, but the standards for such a role must be maintained. We cannot change what works best just for a small minority. It is irresponsible. As a woman there are things that my genetic make up and brain chemistry prevent me from doing well. Being the best choice for a front line soldier is one of those things. That is life.

      • LilyL2182 says:

        Some standards -are- in fact based on reality, but many are not. My point is just that you assume that what’s in a soldier’s pack is what he needs…but that might not be right and it also might not be what a woman needs. She might need less food for example. No doubt there are some standards which can go all together, like perhaps a firefighter must be able to do 15 pull-ups. (I’m randomly making up an example; I have no idea what any actual standards are.) I will never be able to do 15 pull-ups but I could probably keep up with 90% of men if we’re competing in squats.

        I’m not saying we should change every standard I’m saying if a standard has historically only considered men, we need to think about it more before requiring that standard of women. This might even result in -higher- standards. Physically fit women, for example, actually are able to better withstand G forces than physically fit men. But you’ll never hear anyone argue that only women should be fighter pilots.

        • Christine Giuda says:

          Then there is the premise that innately built into a man’s psyche is the necessity to protect the female. It is at least distracting to male soldiers while on patrol to make sure that the female is safe, moreso than the other males because they all figure they guys can fend for themselves. Now I know that I will get flak for this but it is a natural trait of the male gender.

        • LilyL2182 says:

          My husband actually uses that reasoning to justify why women shouldn’t be on the front lines. And if it’s true, and the majority of military volunteers are men, then it is something to consider. However, I will say to you the same thing I always say to my husband: Sounds like a MAN problem.

          How come when women’s emotional state interferes with her job, she’s not qualified, but if a man’s emotional state interferes with is job, the problem is the woman serving alongside him?

        • Christina says:

          Actually, I think the biggest problem with women in combat is the natural tendency for men to protect women, and for women to find protection in the men around her. This is a well established biological and psychological reality that can only be so far removed by training and deprogramming.

          Plus, there is the problem of being captured in combat. A man will be tortured, but a woman will most certainly be brutally raped. Think then of what we are doing to women – putting them in roles that will destroy their bodies, rewrite their normal behavioral patters, and leave them vulnerable to brutal tortures, for what? So feminists can rejoice at men and women being the same?

        • TylerH says:

          Combat packs are not just about what each individual needs, it is about what the UNIT needs, so while a woman might hypothetically require less food, that doesn’t mean she should carry less, that would be selfish. As to the pull-up example, that is absolutely ridiculous, because your ability to do squats is irrelevant when the muscles exercised by pull-ups are required, such as climbing obstacles. Those standards are the way they are for precisely the reasons stated in the comment above yours Lily. As to you thinking that men being distracted by a woman in combat is a MAN problem…it is human nature, not something they can change, especially when she may be the only woman they see for months on deployment, which brings up a whole other issue of women on the front lines…

        • Tony says:

          That’s because both fit men and fit women can withstand the G forces that fighter aircraft can make. Who cares if women can get to 12 and men can get to 11 if the aircraft only goes to 9?

        • Tony says:

          Oh and no 180 lbs man wants to be serving on the front lines next to someone who won’t be able to pull him out of combat if he gets hurt. 95% of women and even some men wouldn’t be able to get that guy out. And your statement about doing more squats than your husband is also a horrible distinction. You should compare how many squats your husband can do to how many squats you can do while carrying enough weight to put you up to his weight, then it’s a fair comparison. Firefighters and troops are not needed to be strong enough just to get their own body into and out of trouble, they are expected to get others out of danger. Nobody wants someone in those situations that are useless once something actually needs to get done.

        • Charles says:

          I know it may seem like I’m about to be on both sides…but here goes.

          The fact of the matter is that there is a lot involved. Many men who join are not capable of doing the things required by the military. It’s why we have the training upon entry. I am very much against the different physical fitness tests for men and women….then again it has been proven that the physical fitness tests that are used by the Marines, Navy and Army are not actually tests that properly evaluate ones combat readiness. I think it’s high time a proper test was implemented with the goal of combat readiness in mind and stop the useless gender based score system. All must pass the same evaluations, these evaluations must be properly designed to reflect the needs of the service. Men will far outweigh women in the ability to perform these tasks based on basic gender differences…but I believe they anyone able to qualify deserves to be there. Even non-combat roles (with very few exceptions) must be combat ready as nearly any service member could end up fighting.

        • Tony says:

          Charles, I agree 100%

        • Don says:

          Sounds like excuses to me. You do not make serious change based on a few women who can go above and beyond most women. You make changes based upon what can be accomplished realistically with the actual population of people you will have to work with. The Marine Corps quietly moved it’s female pull up requirement out farther than the Jan 1st deadline because the female population (in basic training) as a whole could not meet the sames standards as their male counterparts who overwhelmingly met the standard. So, do you lower the standard for all (since we are equal right?) or do you lengthen training that is already 3 months long and very expensive so women can meet the measly 3 pull up minimum? Or if you keep it at 3 months, what do you give up so more time can be dedicated to physical training/pullups? Or, according to your logic, do we get rid of pull ups for women because they are not what a women needs in combat? How do you think the male Infantryman will receive the new female grunt who did not have to meet the same standards as he did just to graduate bootcamp? It goes beyond equality, it’s about being realistic.

        • LilyL2182 says:

          I have no battlefield experience, but I’d expect pull up contests aren’t a regular occurance.

          I’m going to go with what Charles said on the issue:
          “it has been proven that the physical fitness tests that are used by the Marines, Navy and Army are not actually tests that properly evaluate ones combat readiness. I think it’s high time a proper test was implemented with the goal of combat readiness in mind and stop the useless gender based score system”

        • Don says:

          Lily, if you do not understand the value of a pullup, you should not be making an argument against it. I do have have real battlefield experience, and strength solves many problems. You need to accept reality.

        • Cynthia Ray says:

          there are all kinds of reasons a person may need to be able to do 15 pull ups. In a fire situation a person may be in a position where they need to pull themselves up from one thing to another. now that may sound like the person should only need to be able to do 1 pull up. Not generally so. In the heat of a fire, with the weight of equiptment, after running up and down in the heat or all around and getting to the point of exhaustion 1 pull up may very well be the equivalent to 15 pull ups for the effort it takes. What is more, is that if the person cant get them selves out of that situation it increases the peril and work load of all the other fire fighters.

          as far as the possibility of carrying the same weight as the male counter parts in combat. It goes beyond that simple function. Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that you are right. that what a woman needs in her sack is less weight then what a man needs (unlikely but ill go with it) the could be in a position to need to take something back to camp. they all empty their packs to what they absolutely dont need so they can take this information, proof, what ever back with them. the important stuff in the pack of a wounded soldier as they carry the body of the wounded soldier back to camp. Women who decide they need to serve on the front lines in order to feel equal to men should have to meet the same requirements as a man. To demand equal treatment and special requirements is pitiful. and certainly doesnt make them equal.

        • LilyL2182 says:

          Great, so it’s established. The more pull ups the better. Each person must do 150 pull ups and then can be labeled combat ready.

          I never asked for ‘equal treatment and special requirements. I stated that many of the standards we have are arbitrary and it’s ridiculous to just say “well men have been meeting these arbitrary standards so that’s what we’re going to hold women to” without out any thought into those standards.

        • Dan Daly says:

          Lily, your attitude is so typical. You have no knowledge or experience in what you’re talking about but yet want to make huge changes to an institution that deals in life and decision every day. Contrary to your cutesy notion that your ability to squat more than your husband means we should have female grunts, the standards that are in place are in place for a reason. As others have pointed out, what’s in a pack matters. You obviously have no idea what’s in a combat load, do you? Usually three days of food and water, flak jacket with SAPPI plates, the individuals weapons (rifle) and the ammunition for the individuals weapon system, then shared things such as crew-served weapons (i.e. medium and heavy machine guns, mortars, etc) and the requisite ammo, radios, and other mission essential equipment. Not a lot of useless stuff, eh?

          Where are you and Charles getting your notion that the physical fitness tests don’t show how physically fit you are? That is complete BS. The Marine Corps specifically uses a three-mile run because your ability to run three miles in the timeline given (which is longer for females, by the way) is an excellent indicator of how likely you will be be to suffer a sports injury to your lower extremities. Also, the pull-up is the single best indicator of total upper body strength and is wildly practical: don’t you think the military has a vested interest in whether you can pull your own body weight up over an obstacle?

          It really irritates the hell out of me when people who have no skin in the game and just some BS vague notion that if females want to serve in the infantry we should let them. Doesn’t matter if only a tiny percentage can make it through the training – we’ll either lower the standard for women grunts (just like how the physical standards are lower for women in every branch of the military [did you know that or just not care?]) or lower the standard for everyone. Yeah, because making sure a tiny handful of women can be in the infantry if they want to is soooo much more important than maintaining high standards and unit cohesion.

          Oh, here is some good info from a former Navy SEAL:

          “Yet, there may be more to it than this. I’ll not go into the particulars of upper body strength, hygiene, lack of privacy, sexual tensions, reproductive biology, etc., etc. These will sort themselves out in the sorting process that is BUD/S and SQT.

          “In my opinion, there are but three issues:
          – First, the standards in place are combat-proven standards – there can be no slackening of standards. The run times and pull-up minimums are the same for all. On the 100-yard buddy-carry sprint–I carry you and your combat load and you carry me; it doesn’t matter if I’m a 150-pound SEAL (which I was) or a 220-pound SEAL, as many are today. Your life and mine depend on my ability to get you out of a kill zone and safely to cover. There can be no compromise.
          – Second, those women who can meet this standard have to do so in more than ones or twos. It is unreasonable to open training to 200 women to find two who can meet standard.
          – Third, and finally, there is the cultural issue. Do we as a nation, and an American culture, want our mothers, sisters, and daughters in the business of sustained, direct, mortal, combat?”

          Read more: A One-Time SEAL on Those Female SEAL-Wannabes | TIME.com http://nation.time.com/2013/06/24/a-one-time-seal-on-those-female-seal-wannabes/#ixzz2pED2bO9j

        • LilyL2182 says:

          Oh please with this “the standards are in place for a reason” arguments. Can you point to me the study that determined 3 pull ups are necessary? No, you can’t. I’d bet that standard was made up by 3 people sitting in a conference room. You assume it’s based on combat needs, but you really don’t know. And why did the Marines decide not to make women meet the requirement? Perhaps the Marines valued having those women more than their ability to do three pull ups.

          By the way, why don’t you read what I actually wrote. All I have been saying that I reject the argument that women should meet the standards that have been historically in place for men unless they are reevaluated.

      • Well said Erin! I wholeheartedly agree!

      • Erin, you make SO MUCH sense. Thank you, thank you. I am fine if women want in, but they should meet the SAME standards that men do.

      • My son was in the Navy Special Force training last month. Among 45 candidates, there were two women. The standard was the same for both woman and man. At the end, only 11 made it to the next stage. One of them was the woman. Denying the opportunity for that woman is not fair. She has been working so hard to get to that stage. My son said he had lots of respect for that woman.

        • Andrew says:

          Lisa: what is “Navy Special Force” training? There are currently 0 (zero) special forces units in any branch of the American military that allow women into their MOS at this time. Not even for testing. There are infantry units where they are trying to integrate females into the training, but no special forces units. That will of course change because of political pressure from politicians and civilians who have no idea what they are talking about and just want everyone to “feel good”, but it doesn’t change the fact that your story is BS. P.S. I’m a captain in the Marine Corps currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan. If you want to change my mind please tell us specifically which “Navy Special Force” unit it was, where they were training, and when this took place.

        • Andrew – My son was in Navy EOD 800 Division three weeks ago before he came home for Christmas. They were in Great Lakes, IL. He asked me not to mention too much about their training. I did not say this woman is already in the special force. I said she was in the training among other men. Here is another connection for your reference. http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/06/18/female_navy_seals_penatagon_unveils_plan_for_women_to_train_for_elite_forces.html

      • Bill says:

        Yet the IDF of Israel has absolutely no problem with women in combat and the are one of the worlds most elite fighting forces.

        • AR Harmon says:

          The main difference being that the entire state of Israel is besieged and constantly at war. They’re fighting for survival; the woman have as great a stake in the outcome of a battle as the men do. If the men of Israel fail, their women will fight, because if they do not they are doomed to die and worse.

    • Gary Mason says:

      a very short answer to LilyL2182 is: In my opinion, men are naturally more aggressive and violent than women, hence the reason they are preferred on the front lines. Men, in my opinion, have little sympathy or regard for the life of others or their own, which allows split second decision making when it comes to taking another life!

      • Julia Lee says:

        Men have little sympathy or regard for the life of others? And yet men started the field of professional medicine, to help their fellow humans. Males are habitually putting themselves between danger and females and/or children. What men are these that you’re sampling to have such an incorrect assessment of how they rank the lives of others?

      • James says:

        I sure would hate to know the men you know.

      • Tony says:

        I think you’re mistaking assertiveness for little sympathy for life. Men are more assertive than women (on average, of course outliers exist). In general terms, Men prefer to make a decision and act on it, and make a new decision if the first one fails; Women prefer that their first decision is also their last decision. Of course these are generalities, and there are pros and cons to both systems.

    • James Frost says:

      Lily, I enjoyed reading your comment. While you are asking whether or not this particular individual should or should not be sent to the front, I was thinking why should anyone be sent? My answer to this question is this, men throughout history have killed one another for any reasons they can contrive, and while there have been female warriors in history, predominately men have carried the actual acts of combat out. The reason for this is men (in general) can carry more weight than a woman. What is carried is necessary. I speak from experience, I was an infantry soldier from 1986 through 2004. My ruck sack would weigh up to 90 lbs. depending upon the mission. With that 90 lbs. I also carried approximately 30 lbs. consisting of weapons, ammunition, grenades, helmet, water etc. Everything carried is mission essential. The only non-essential item I carried was the Bible, but in my heart, that was the most essential item I carried. Several armies throughout the world employ women in combat, and it has been proven that women in many cases are superior pilots to men. A woman’s ability to carry the weight of an infantry soldier is questionable, but the question I pose to you is do you think that a man would be more likely to risk his life for a female as opposed to a male soldier. I don’t know the answer to this, but I do know that men will step all over each other to impress a female. Many ladies would and will serve admirably in combat, but others will attempt to get someone else to carry their weight. A man will try this also, but while he is getting assistance he is also risking a ass whipping, while I don’t think a woman would be met with the same harshness

      • LilyL2182 says:

        Okay James I’ll leave the expertise on how much a soldier needs to carry up to you 😉 My husband insists on carrying all the groceries at once, so I know first hand that men make better pack mules. My overall point still stands that when the standard has been set up around men’s abilities, I’m going to reject an argument based on those standards unless people do a little thinking about them first.

        See my comment above re: the argument that men act differently when serving with women. That’s not a problem with men, not with women.

        • Curtis says:

          Stop looking at the abilities of men and women going for the job and look at the needs of the job. Simple as that. If one’s abilities cannot meet the need, they are not qualified, regardless of gender.

        • Suzy says:

          That’s how they came up with the standards. They didn’t decide they wanted a particular group to be Extra Strong Men that would also happen to fulfill a particular role, they saw a need for a particular role, recognized that certain physical capabilities would be absolutely necessary for the tasks given to them & then developed standards to ensure that a candidate would have those abilities. Unless technology has changed sufficiently to completely change the actual job requirements, the testing metric is already adjusted for women. My pushups (5’1″, 110lbs) are a LOT easier, a lot lower weight than my 6’4″ 180lb brother. My chin-ups, rope climb, etc are already a lot easier.

        • LilyL2182 says:

          Actually Suzy, you don’t know how they came up with the standards. I don’t work for the military, but I do work for the government and so many standards are just made up by 3 people sitting in a conference room. That’s probably how -most- standards were decided. Ask anyone in the military where the push-up standards came from, and I highly doubt they’d cite you the 1994 intensive study about the ideal number of push-ups performed by a soldier.

    • Jill J says:

      The Modern Warrior’s Combat Load–Dismounted Operations in Afghanistan
      A. Worn on Body/Uniform:

      • M4 Carbine with PEQ-2 Laser/PAQ-4 Laser, ACOG/CCO, and 30 rounds of 5.56mm ball
      • Desert Camouflage Uniform with Infrared Tape on left sleeve (1”x1”).
      • Desert Combat Boots.
      • Dog Tags.
      • ID Card.
      • Undershirt.
      • Socks.
      • Tactical gloves.
      • Interceptor Body Armor with two Small Arms Protective Inserts.
      • Advanced Combat Helmet with night vision mounting plate.
      • Rigger belt.
      • Notebook and pen.
      • Watch.
      • Knee and elbow pads.
      • Sun, Sand, and Dust type Goggles or Wiley-X Goggles.
      • Folding Knife/Multi-tool.

      B. Worn on Fighting Load Carrier/Interceptor Body Armor:

      • MOLLE Fighting Load Carrier with modular MOLLE pouches.
      • 180 rounds of 5.56mm ball ammunition.
      • Bayonet.
      • Fragmentation grenade.
      • 64 ounces of water in two 1-quart canteens.
      • 100 ounces of water in a hydration bladder.
      • Casualty and witness cards.
      • Flex cuffs for personnel under custody.
      • Night vision equipment (PVS-14/PVS-7).
      • Iodine tablets.
      • Lensatic compass.
      • Flashlight.
      • Chemlight.
      • First Aid dressing and pouch.
      • Canteen Cup.
      • Earplugs.
      • Internal Communications Radio (ICOM)

      C. Carried in Assault Rucksack:

      • MOLLE Assault Rucksack or commercial assault rucksack, with MOLLE attachments.
      • 500ml intravenous fluids bag with starter kit.
      • 70 ounces of water in a second hydration bladder.
      • Two Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs).
      • Poncho and/or Bivy Sack.
      • Poncho liner.
      • Undershirt.
      • Spare batteries.
      • Two pair of socks.
      • Polypropylene or silk long sleeve undershirt.
      • M4/M16 Rifle Cleaning Kit. The Modern Warrior’s Combat Load–Dismounted Operations in Afghanistan
      • Personal hygiene kit.
      • Rubber gloves.
      • Sling rope with two snap links.

      D. Carried in Main Rucksack: (Main rucksacks were rarely taken on operations during

      • MOLLE main rucksack with Sleeping Bag Carrier or Large ALICE rucksack.
      • Modular Sleeping Bag (one bag per two men).
      • Long Polypropylene Underwear of Fleece Jacket and Bibs.
      • Two Undershirts.
      • Two pairs of socks.
      • Cold Weather Gloves.
      • Knit/Fleece Cap.
      • Additional ammunition.
      • Two Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs).
      • Sleeping pad.

      Special Equipment:

      • Map (A).
      • Aerial Photographs (A).
      • Whistle (B).
      • Concussion grenade (B).
      • Smoke grenade (B).
      • Incendiary grenade (B).
      • Global Positioning System (B).
      • Lock pick (B).
      • Collapsible Riot Baton (B).
      • Infrared Strobe Light. (B).
      • Bolt cutters (C or D).
      • Metal detecting wand (C or D).
      • 60mm mortar round (C or D).
      • Star Cluster (C or D).
      • VS-17 Panel (C or D).
      • Ground Control Laser Pointer.

      Fighting Load = A+B
      Approach March Load = A+B+C
      Emergency Approach March Load = A+B

    • CharlieO says:

      Ive been to combat and have seen Women try to keep up with men in combat situations. I am not saying there are not some women that may be able to do it. There are four big problems I have with this though.

      One is the biological function that happens once a month that women cannot control. I saw a female get stuck out in the middle of Afghanistan on a convoy when they hit three IEDs. They could not get out of there and the fog was so dense that they could not move because with fog there is no air support and with no air support troops are supposed to stay put. She was not prepared and needless to say it was 7 days longer than it was supposed to be and it was embarrassing for her and everyone around her.

      Next is the issue of sexual tension. There are already so many problems with men and women getting mixed up with each other in the military. I was on a combat outpost for 7 months with only 20 of us men holding off the Taliban. If there were women there I am sure someone would have been involved in multiple ways. When this happens it ruins the camaraderie that men in those situations live off of and the only real reason that we fight for is the men to the left and right of us. When you throw in a female it gets complicated just for the sheer fact that men cannot handle themselves around women and neither can the women around men half the time. after 7 months of being deprived of a good smelling American girl it can get rough.

      Third, I will share something that happened. My squad was ambushed outside of this village. One of my best friends got shot and we were separated. I could not get to him without running into enemy fire. I would have normally done so but we were both small unit leaders and the only ones left in our squad. So now it was just me. I had to make the decision to stay put and return fire until I could get support. My point is, if it were a female, I am not sure I would have been able to just sit back and let her scream and bleed out. I would have surely been hit as well and it was hard, but the emotional support men feel the need to fill for women is a psychological thing that many do not understand or take into consideration.

      Last is the politics of it all. There is already so much politics in the military and here are some examples of why women in combat elements is unfair. First of all, I was in when women were not allowed in combat units. I had friends who were very well qualified and should have been promoted (these were non grunts) and they would always tell me that the chick that just got to the unit got promoted instead even though he had been there longer and was more qualified. I also heard stories of women calling rape just because they did not like a guy and his whole life was ruined. Yet I saw my buddy get felt up by a female Marine and nothing happened. No one cared.
      Another example on the combat side. A female Marine on a convoy got caught in an ambush with some grunts. She with her three other female friends hid in the vehicles while the men got out and returned fire. One of the females got some hot brass (casing of a bullet after it is fired) from the machine gun that was returning fire from the vehicle. It left a little burn mark on her neck. She received a purple heart for it. Yet one of the Marines in my team took RPG shrapnel to the face and they told him he did not rate a purple heart because________ (insert excuse here).

      My point is, people who have not been to combat should not be telling people who have how to do their job. They especially should not be making decisions based on what is politically correct when peoples lives are on the line. Men and Women are just different. I can’t give birth like my wife did with 31 hours of labor with a good portion on pit with no epidural. That was painful to watch. I could never do that. Just like she could never do what I did in combat nor would ever want to. Some Women want to go to combat but guess what, some men might want to give birth but that is never going to happen (at least I hope not).

      • LilyL2182 says:

        Yeah, I’m no combat expert, but just because someone hasn’t been to combat does mean they have no input. Like, I think, despite my lack if combat experience, that those in combat situations should try to avoid indiscriminately shooting civilians. So here’s my input to your problems.

        1. It’s called Mirena. It’s an IUD and many women on it stop having periods. Or a Diva cup which weighs almost nothing and easily could be slipped into a backpack. It only needs to be taken out every 12 hours. Honestly, if people are that embarrassed about bodily functions, they probably should just stay indoors.

        2. Sexual tension is a problem with men and women. So the solution is to exclude women? That can’t be the only solution. Makes me think of the “no dogs in heat” rule in the dog park. It’s not the female dogs in heat that are the problem; it’s the un-neutered males. How about a rule banning all the men (and women) who can’t handle to opposite sex.

        3. See my comment above. How come when women’s emotional state interferes with her job, she’s not qualified, but if a man’s emotional state interferes with is job, the problem is the woman serving alongside him? Men being more protective/emotional when women get hurt is man problem, not a woman one.

        4. You’re arguing, through anecdotes, that women experience favoritism in the military? Yeah that’s why there is such an over representation of women generals. I’m just not going to buy that based on anecdotes. I have an uncle who got a Purple Heart in Vietnam. He always jokes about his injury. He was hit by something and it scratched his arm and exactly one drop of blood fell out. He was given a band aid and a Purple Heart. But even if it’s true that somehow women are favored, it’s not the responsibility of women to fix all the things that make men sad before fighting for ourselves.

        • Charlieo says:

          Well, it is clear you have your opinions on the matter. I respect that. But in defense there are not enough women willing to go to combat and take over the whole combat thing. I would love to see how well a group of only women does in combat. So my answer is yes exclude all women from combat roles and that is my opinion. Nonetheless the opinion of someone who has actually been there done that. We have every right to disagree on the matter and it is clear neither of us are going to change our minds. Keep in mind though that although your theories sound like they would work to you, those theories don’t always work out in real life.

        • Christina says:

          “Men being more protective/emotional when women get hurt is man problem, not a woman one.”

          No, it’s both their problems. Men do the protecting – women expect to be protected. It’s not just on one side of the equation that you can dismiss with a wave of the hand, it’s built into our psychies as sexual humans where females are more biologically valuable than males.

          Thus the BEST solution is to exclude women. The only other “solutions” involve changing a woman into a man (like your “take this carcinogenic hormone to stop your female problems” suggestion in #1). And saying a woman only has value if she behaves like a man is degrading to women.

        • Charlieo says:

          Another note. Civilian casualties in war is something that is going to happen. If we were compromised and a “civilian” saw us on a mission we were not supposed to be seen on, we would “take care” of the problem. We had problems with the so called civilians telling The taliban where we were and left us with no choice. That’s war for you. Mission accomplishment was more important than our life or anyone that got in our way. So don’t speak of war as if you have been there because there is no such thing as an innocent warrior. Get over it.

        • LilyL2182 says:

          “No, it’s both their problems. Men do the protecting – women expect to be protected.”

          This is just the type of categorical bs I’m talking about. It’s just not true of all men or all women.

        • Charlieo says:

          If you can show me one man who has his behind a woman for protection of his life instead of trying to protect his family ill be surprised. And disgusted. I’ve never met one though so stereotypes although they may seem unfair are pretty accurate for the majority of the population. People didn’t just make that stuff up.

        • LilyL2182 says:

          Wow Charlie I know MANY men who would hide behind anything or anyone. Would I send of of them into combat? They certainly wouldn’t be my top choice! Reportedly, Osama Bin Laden did hid behind his wife. Sadaam Hussein hid military equipment in schools and residential areas, hoping the US wouldn’t target them there. Bashar Assad is supposedly doing the same thing. Men beat their wives and rape women, of course there are men who value their own safety above their family’s!

          And I know many women (myself included) who don’t expect to be protected. For me I think this stems from the fact that all my close family is female so just never had a thought in my mind that I should expect protection from my family members.

          The whole “men are protectors and women get protected” thing is just another useless generalization.

        • Charlieo says:

          It’s funny how you just named all middle easterners and terrorists nonetheless. People we were trying to kill. I don’t count them as men. I know there are men who certainly don’t belong in combat but my point is even though on a very small scale I can see your point. In general though most of society is going to disagree with you. Like I said stereo types didn’t come from nothing.

        • Charlieo says:

          Last note because im sick of hearing your opinion. Not everyone has to agree with me or you. We are lucky to be where we are I am assuming your American but if you go to some other countries you would have your head cut off for speaking in such ways. So don’t forget to thank the MEN who actually carried out missions they don’t always agree with to keep America happy. Also I like how you get really really mad over things I say it shows how intolerant you are of people’s opinions that don’t coincide with your own. Really shows maturity on your end so good job with that. Ignorance is bliss right?

        • DJ says:

          OK Lily, I’ve listened to your arguments here and you’re starting to work on my nerves. Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one. You have NOT been in combat (neither have I), so neither of us is “qualified” to have a “meaningful” opinion on this! Those who have been there, done that, I respect your opinion/input on this matter. Thank you for enlightening me.

        • LilyL2182 says:

          The “you’ve never been there” argument is just ridiculous. I guess Matt should stop having an opinion on abortion. Barack Obama certainly has input and he’s never been there. Sometimes people have input specifically because they have never been there. You don’t count the examples I gave as men, but they are.

          Also, I’m not mad at all. I was simply in disbelief that you really don’t know any men who would hide behind their families. They exist.

        • Charles says:

          I have “been there and done that”. I think a non combatant is vital to a proper evaluation. Those of us who are combat vets will have a natural bias. We will want to justify our actions no matter how logical or illogical our defense may be. Listening to an outside opinion is vital to retaining a degree of objective thinking.

        • Charles says:

          In fact, it was my civilian, with no military history, therapist who helped me come to terms with the things I have done and accept the extreme situations I was in and the different evaluations that must be applied in such circumstances.

        • pentamom says:

          So the solution is to put vast numbers of women on medically non-indicated drug therapy and re-educate men to overcome their God-given natures under extreme levels of stress of every imaginable kind, and then expect that group of people to respond appropriately in combat situations?

          I can’t imagine what could go wrong there.

        • Charles says:

          The actual truth is that everyone already goes under behavioral modification treatment in basic training. It’s kind of the point. To retrain the way you think and react. To increase your comfort level with killing. To make you more pliable and willing to take orders. All these things are done to increase combat readiness. Each can have positive, negative, or no long term effects on a persons psyche. When you enlist you give up certain freedoms in the interest of the mission.

        • pentamom says:

          Training you to think in certain ways for certain purposes is not equivalent to totally unwinding the basic instincts of men toward women, and depending on that working well enough to avoid the catastrophic effects on combat effectiveness and the safety of the women involved that everyone admits will be the case if the re-orientation doesn’t “work.”

          IOW, “if including women in combat will have a disastrous effect, men will just have to grow up” is not a grown-up approach to the situation, it’s a childish one. It’s childish to expect known realities to change just because you want the world to be different than it is. That’s not to say it is wrong to attempt to change people — we don’t have to accept evil within the status quo without trying to change it. But imposing a situation that is known in advance to be untenable and then just blaming the people involved for not being what we would wish them to be, is kind of like assigning 6 year olds as prison guards — well, if the guys in prison just behaved themselves, kindergartners would do a fine job guarding them. (That is an analogy, not an equivalence — women are not kindergartners and soldiers are not prisoners, but the relationship is the same: you can’t just make something work because it “ought” to if people “did the right thing.”) You have to deal with the variables as they currently are while working to change things, not with utopian hopes and dreams of a better world as though you can just make everything work the way you want it to.

        • Charles says:

          “Training you to think in certain ways for certain purposes is not equivalent to totally unwinding the basic instincts of men toward women, and depending on that working well enough to avoid the catastrophic effects on combat effectiveness and the safety of the women involved that everyone admits will be the case if the re-orientation doesn’t “work”.”


          In training we are re-oriented to ignore what, for many, is a value of life and a hesitation to take it. Did you know that after they switched from round targets to human shaped ones hesitation and refusal to fire upon another human decreased dramatically? This is a redesign with very real implications and negative effects. The truth being that you cannot accept one harmful re-orientation that has very real benefits while ignoring another. The behaviors that are redesigned are just as basic as the one you are trying to imagine as being more inherently damaging in its shift. The truth is that no matter what, the training required to turn someone into a killer will always have costs. We don’t get to draw arbitrary lines so long as we are wiling to accept the costs of what is required. There are women ready and able to bear this burden. We have no problem removing a hesitation to kill from the human psyche…removing the instinct to protect women is no more inherently dangerous.

        • Charles says:

          For example. There are many mantras used a drill sergeant asks “what makes the green grass grow?” The recruit responds “blood, blood, bright red blood!”. Another is “what is your purpose?” The response “to kill! To kill! To kill without mercy!” Or we respond with “one shot one kill!”. These are repeated over and over. Developing a mantra that encourages a mindset in soldiers that a soldier is not male or female would require a similar approach. I think the issue is people like to dress up what a soldier does. We kill. That is the purpose of a soldier. They do it to protect the nation, each other…many reasons. But in the end…they kill. A soldier is a weapon, it’s an ugly but neccesary truth.

        • Tony says:

          “There are women ready and able to bear this burden.”

          Not going to argue with you on the ready half, but the ready half. The percentage is so low that it’s not even worth working into the system.

          The military is not some playground for politicians to experiment with social policies. It’s supposed to be our fighting wing of our great country, and it’s supposed to win every time. To that end it should be brutally effective.

          Coming up with ways to accommodate the 5 females that are both fully willing and fully able to be as capable as a man in combat is not worth the time and resources required to make it possible. It is far, far more effective to find a better role for those women and keep the front lines 100% male.

          There are many female positions that involve combat that don’t require them to be able to pull the dead weight of a 200 lbs man in combat gear out of the line of fire to save his life.

          Let me put it to you in other terms that might be easier to understand. If you had a lemonade stand and you were selling lemonade for a day, what would you need? A pitcher, some cups, a money jar and a cooler to store your lemonade to make sure it stays cool. If 1% of your customers would prefer hot chocolate, do you find some way to also keep hot chocolate for sale at your stand, or do you just accept the fact that you’re only going to please 99% of your customers?

          I’m perfectly okay with making 1% of our military personnel unhappy that they don’t get to be in combat even though they are qualified, because it means we are that much more effective. 1% being percentage of the military that are women that both want to be in combat and are capable to do so. I’m rounding up to 1%.

        • Tony says:

          Edit: my first sentence, I’m not arguing with you on the willing half.

        • Ann says:

          You are absolutely right, you can still have an opinion on women in combat even though you’ve never been there. But please don’t be offended if those of us with little ones who need protection from the Taliban and all the other nasty forces in the world prefer Charlieo’s take on things to yours. The way this war goes will affect us all back at home. You won’t see the Taliban sending Muslim women into face-to-face comabt with the US infantry because the Taliban wants to win. We should be more concerned about what will help us win than what a small group of people want to experience in this war.

          As for the pack question, I can ask my brother in Afghanistan how much extra stuff he throws in his bag just to prove to himself that he can carry more than a woman when he goes out on patrol, but I think I can safely say what his answer would be: “Nothing.”

          I’m thankful that there are still men willing to defend our country. I won’t blame them if they get tired of women saying, “Hey, I think I could do that too!” instead of just saying, “Thank you for your service and sacrifice.” How would you feel after giving birth if your husband said, “If I could just have surgery to get a womb, I could totally do what you just did”? What if he insists he wants to nurse the baby? Are you going to go crushing his dreams by telling him men and women are a little different? Men: the correct thing to say when your wife does something you can’t do is to say “thank you,” not “Ooooo, let me try!” Women: same goes for you.

        • LilyL2182 says:

          Ann, you are ridiculous. Ideally a solder could carry 1000 pounds, but since that’s not feasible for any women, stuff has to be prioritized.

          If you want protection for you little ones, maybe you shouldn’t exclude 50% of the population for volunteering to do the job.

        • WastingMyTime says:

          Lily, I read this whole conversation and I would like to know. What is the point of constantly repeating yourself? You have your opinion. The others have their opinions. You both have valid points. Guess what? No one is going to change their opinions based on an online argument. You posted your opinion, but you seem so upset that people don’t agree with you, but, hey, that is the internet. Anyone from any background can post here. They will think differently than you and that is ok. If everyone thought the same way then the world would be a very boring place.

          Arguing here will not change the standards for women in the army. It will not change anyone’s opinions. It will make no difference. Do you know why? Because people who read these comments are just like you. They absolutely refuse to admit that any opinion but their own is valid. They do not care what arguments there are against their opinion, only what arguments there are for it. In high school, when writing an essay, one of the first things you learn is that it is important to consider the counterargument, not just point out why it is invalid because not all counterarguments are invalid.

          Just because you do not believe something, that does not make it not true. There are many religions in this world and every person believes in one of them. (For people who believe there is no God, they believe in Atheism. This requires as much faith as any other religion.) If they believe that all other religions are false, does that make them false? No, because almost every person who truly believes one religion is choosing to believe that it is the one true religion. That means that every religion has people not believing in it. In that case, every religion (including Atheism) is false. When every religion is false, there are great contradictions. One of them is true. Disbelief in that one does not change the fact that it is true.

          In the end, arguing online is not going to make a difference, you have your opinions, they have theirs. When you started, you were posting about something you truly cared about, but as the argument has progressed, it has become clear that it has become more about winning. You do not want to be wrong. No one wants to be wrong. I do not want to be wrong. I have continued to argue before even after I was definitively proven wrong. The need to be right is something most human struggle with. You want to be right. You want to win this argument. However, no matter how hard you drive your point into the ground, there will still be someone who disagrees with you. Online arguments cannot be won.

          Now, this is not necessarily aimed at just Lily. I wrote this really to everyone who insists on arguing online. There is no point to it. I’m sorry Lily if any of this offended you. I know that this itself is technically an online argument since there is no way it can change your mind, but I just want you to consider what I have said. I am not going to argue with anything you say. Writing this was probably as much a waste of my time as any online argument is, so you can call me a hypocrite; you can argue with me; you can say whatever you want. You know what? You may be right, but what does it matter? I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I am human. So are you.

        • LilyL2182 says:


        • Cynthia Ray says:

          wow, comparing having an opinion on abortion to knowledge about the battle field. as if those two can possibly be compared. . .

        • LilyL2182 says:

          I wasn’t comparing combat to abortion (though I don’t see exactly what is wrong with making a comparison…). I was comparing having an opinion on abortion to having an opinion on combat.

      • Peggy Allen says:

        So I guess you never heard about the female soldier who won a silver star for repulsing an attack against a convoy? It doesn’t take much strength to pull a trigger. And who in all the animal kingdom is considered to be the most fearsome fighter? A mother. Don’t believe me? Mess with a mother grizzly. Women have been fighting in wars declared or not since time began. Modern men just use slight differences between women and men to have a reason to treat women as second class citizens. I’m quite sure a 5′ 7″ man of average build can’t carry a 300 lb man out of a building. But a 6′ woman who lifts weights can easily carry a 200 lb person. Stop using your hatred of women as an excuse to hold women down. And that goes for the author of this post. I ask her, if women are so “different” than men, how is it she can write a blog post? You laugh, but these are the kinds of questions men had about women 200 years ago. They weren’t allowed to go to college because no one thought their brains were developed enough. They couldn’t vote, couldn’t do anything that would put a man out of work, which is what this is all about.

        • TylerH says:

          A 6′ tall woman’s ability to carry a 200 lb man is irrelevant when its a 300′ man that needs carrying, so comparing a 5’7 man of average build who in all likelihood could still drag someone out of the worst of the fire until the Firemen show up to a 6′ woman who may or may not be able to do the same with the same victim is useless.

        • LilyL2182 says:

          I love you Peggy. The point is there will alway be a job that is too big for one person, and in these sorts of situations having a penis rarely helps.

        • Peggy you are absolutely correct. My son was 5’8. He was in Navy EOD Special Force training before he came back for Christmas. There were two women in his class (45 total). Both woman were about his height. They ran faster, swim faster, did more pull ups than most men. Their mental abilities also were stronger than most men. My son said the standard is the same for those two women. After 3 weeks, only 13 people made it to the next level. One of them was the woman. She was respected by every man in that class. Cancelling her “Equal Opportunity” is wrong. She deserves the same respect, not discrimination.

        • Amanda Al says:

          I would just like to point out a couple of things.
          First, men and women are different biologically. From puberty on, boys are growing more muscle and girls are growing more fat (breasts and thighs, etc.) Yes, things like exercise, diet, and genetics can make a difference, but boys have a leg up from the start as far as muscle goes.
          Second, while it does not take much strength the pull a trigger, it was difficult for me to fire a gun at a shooting range and frankly the small explosion going off in my hand made me decide I would never do it again if I did not need to do so. But shooting a gun is not the only thing required in being a soldier, as many have already pointed out.
          Third, yes, a mother protecting its young can be very dangerous, but not all women are mothers. If you take the young out of the equation, then the animal becomes far less dangerous. So if a woman is sent to fight with a baby to care for as well, then I suppose the mother aspect would kick in, but that is not likely.
          Last, men and women being different does not mean than women cannot write. It means that men are better at some things, and women are better at others. Multitasking is one example. Women are better at multitasking, while men prefer to focus on one thing at a time and complete it. Yes, men can multitask, and women can focus on one thing, but they do not prefer to do one way because they are better at the other.

  4. trishasage says:

    Calling reproductive choice “murder” makes me uninterested in anything else Chrissie has to say.

    • Brandon says:

      Calling the killing of a human being a “reproductive choice” makes me uninterested in anything else you have to say.

    • GBean says:

      Reproductive choice is birth control, not abortion, which is, in fact, murder.

    • Lydia Allen says:

      Here’s a thought, instead of murdering an innocent child, why not control your own body and not have sex? That’s a much more selfless choice.

      • chicagomom says:

        Choosing not to have sex IS reproductive choice. So is birth control. It doens’t mean abortion. Good grief.

    • James says:

      Calling murder “reproductive choice” leaves any intellectually honest and rational person completely uninterested in anything else you have to say as well. Or for those with a compassionate and understanding heart, they are moved to great pity for you.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      It’s sad because Christians are mixing up societal laws with God’s laws. Christian teachings are supposed to be about love and forgiveness, rather than the anger and condemnation anti-abortionists utilize. They’re only exacerbating the problem by causing more people to jump to the opposite end of the spectrum to avoid being associated with such animosity.

      • Incorrect. Jesus got pretty pissed at people doing evil things. This hippy dippy “it’s all about love be nice” brand of “christianity” is a new thing, to make the bible seem less offensive. It’s not actually biblical, at all. Loving someone =/= being nice, or completely acceptance of all their actions.

        • …Or, as a meme recently put it “When someone asks you “What Would Jesus Do?” remember that overturning tables and chasing people with whips is within the realm of possiblites.”

        • jasonjshaw says:

          I think he only expressed anger with the money changers in the Temple, from my recollection, and he definitely didn’t go around attempting to control everyone who didn’t understand things the way he did. He made an effort to connect to those people in troublesome situations to help them see a different way. Christians could learn a lot from Jesus if they paid more attention to how he approached such situations.

        • Jasonjshaw,
          Perhaps you need to read the Bible with a bit of discernment rather than claiming the social gospel platitudes about Jesus.

          And every embryology textbook will tell you that a human life exists from conception.

        • jasonjshaw says:

          Abortion isn’t the problem, it’s the lack of responsibility leading to pregnancy which is borne from a lack of loving education. If Christians would focus more on the root of the problem then we all would be much better off in not having to worry so much about such an issue.

        • Jasonjshaw,
          Abortion isn’t the problem, it’s the lack of responsibility leading to pregnancy which is borne from a lack of loving education. If Christians would focus more on the root of the problem then we all would be much better off in not having to worry so much about such an issue.

          The only “education” that should be given is to not have sex if you don’t want a child. What IS unloving in the way of education it to tell our young people that sex is for recreation and then hand them a condom, rather than telling them that sex is for joining a husband and wife together as one. It is ONLY Christians who give the proper education about this subject.

          IF a woman is so irresponsible as to have sex outside of wedlock, or for those who are married and yet are so irresponsible to not use birth control, then you don’t “fix” the problem by killing the child.

        • jasonjshaw says:

          What sex is should at least be defined clearly if this is the route taken. And what about those who don’t believe marriage is necessary for a loving long-term committed relationship? What about the curiosity of the way people’s bodies function? What about forms of sex that aren’t intercourse? I am sure many children brought up in Christian homes who are taught to abstain from sex will participate in such things as they don’t believe it constitutes as sex. Abstinence from sex until marriage isn’t taught because some mystical power decided it is so, it is taught because it is a wise route to take. Those who have that route suggested to them should at least be respected enough to have the real information as to why it is a wise route to take rather than simply told it’s because God says so.

          Also, if this view is enforced, those who do end up in situations where their curiosity may get the best of them and they engage in such an act, they will feel that they are alone as they “broke the rules” rather than know that they are being brought up in a loving environment where understanding is put ahead of superstition.

          In a world where the guidelines given through the Bible are absolute, undoubted truth, then your suggestion would make perfect sense as everyone would understand the consequences. Unfortunately that is not the case with the real world.

          Education about the physical AND psychological causes and effects is important, because once a teenager decides to rebel against the bubble they are being held in, at least they can make informed decisions.

        • LilyL2182 says:

          Jason: your comments are great. I think abortion is -a-problem, but you’re right it’s really a symptom and not the real issue.

      • Bonhoeffer said it well, “Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another … back from the path of sin.”

        • jasonjshaw says:

          Causing stress to someone carrying the beginnings of a child is a better alternative? That’s rather harmful to the child AND the mother. The focus needs to be on education and understanding for people to prevent such situations from arising in the first place. Of course, Christianity tends to neglect this and then gets all bent out of shape when people already in bad situations seek abortion in order to prevent the situation from becoming worse. The root of the problem should be the focus more so than the fruits of the problem. Christians should know better about focusing on the fruits.

        • Causing stress to someone carrying the beginnings of a child is a better alternative? That’s rather harmful to the child AND the mother. The focus needs to be on education and understanding for people to prevent such situations from arising in the first place. Of course, Christianity tends to neglect this

          No one is causing stress to a woman carrying a child other than the woman herself who had irresponsible sexual relations. Christians do NOT neglect proper education on sexual morality. The “sex education” the left gives is to hand out condoms and abort the results of the failure.

        • jasonjshaw says:

          If that is the sex education the secular world pushes, then yes, that is a problem too. You have to realize that those are two ends of a spectrum and are both big causes of these troubles. A middle ground where understanding and respect towards all parties involved would likely allow for much wiser decisions to be made.

        • Charles says:


          “No one is causing stress to a woman carrying a child other than the woman herself who had irresponsible sexual relations. Christians do NOT neglect proper education on sexual morality. The “sex education” the left gives is to hand out condoms and abort the results of the failure.”

          I do not recall abortion bring promoted as birth control when I went through sexual education. I do remember these things. Casual sex increases your chances of pregnancy and STI’s (then called STD’s). I remember abstinence being mentioned as the only foolproof way of preventing pregnancy and preventing STI’s that can only be contracted through inter course or other such activities (as STI’s such as herpes can be contracted by contact with contaminated surfaces without sexual actions abstinence is not foolproof for that one, but it’s but one of the myriad of diseases). Comprehensive sexual education teaches children that IF they have sex then they should take every possible precaution. It even encouraged sexually active people to get tested regularly and demand proof that their partner display such proof as well. Abstinence only teaching leaves a large gap for those who do not choose abstinence. It’s irresponsible to not teach them safer ways to have sex simply because of the perception that they are “doing it wrong”. The idea of teaching responsible sexual education is to try to reduce STI’s and unwanted pregnancy. One can never prevent it…but one can reduce it. I do believe some teachers do a poor job of this…and this individuals need to be corrected….tossing out a full and comprehensive sex Ed where protection, responsible choices in partners and abstinence are all taught together. Giving our kids real and viable information about risks.

    • James Frost says:

      Its not a choice for the baby, but many are too blinded to give the child a chance

      • jasondrexler says:

        Thank you, James, for pointing out what social liberals often ignore: Some of them want animals and the environment treated as though they’re human beings … but the actual human beings inside women’s bellies? Those are just lumps of cells.

    • Christine Giuda says:

      What would you call killing another human being no matter what stage of life?

    • Janice says:

      “Reproductive choice” is a euphemism for abortion, i.e., ending a life. If there was not the slightest conscience problem with the act, then proponents of it would call it what it is, as Chrissie did: murder. If someone killed your boyfriend or your husband, you wouldn’t hesitate to call it murder. But if an abortionist killed your boyfriend or husband before he was born, you would call it reproductive choice?

      • Exactly, Janice! Proponents of abortion claim they want it to be rare and safe. When is abortion EVER safe for the defenseless unborn babe, all nestled up securely in his/her mother’s womb? Since proponents view it as such a wonderful, necessary part of healthcare, why, at the same time, do they think it needs to be made rare? Convoluted thinking much?

      • chicagomom says:

        I wonder why Ms. Dhanagom doesn’t explain which stereotypes are reinforced by the study?

        “Ragini Verma, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, said the greatest surprise was how much the findings supported old stereotypes, with men’s brains apparently wired more for perception and co-ordinated actions, and women’s for social skills and memory, making them better equipped for multitasking.”

        There is nothing in the study to support the stereotypes that are being mentioned by the posters here (men being more aggressive, women being more nurturing, and so on).
        All the study says is that men are wired to have better motor skills. Women are better multi-taskers. (And, it goes on to say that this does not apply to ALL men and women).

        • coldfiction says:

          Thanks for taking the time to read from the actual study, chicagomom, it’s good to see what Dr. Verma was actually referring to.

  5. Jam says:

    Excellent post by Chrissie Dhanagom!

  6. Charles says:

    This would be a thoughtful article if it did not make as many “leaps and bounds” as it claims its opposition makes.

    Talking a study which displays the obvious, that men and women are different, then using this observation to make the assertion that bases on this data that all differences are universal across gender boundaries is a Herculean leap of comparisons.

    The question of equal opportunity is not “are men and women different?” it is “are these differences logical in a establishment of gender roles where outliers are completely ignored and forced to adhere to a standard which has little to no beating on themselves?”

    My point being that, yes, men as a majority tend to be physically stronger than women. Does this mean its accurate to then assert that all men are stronger than all women and therefor are the only ones to consider for roles requiring such strength? If you answer yes then I pity you. I am stronger than some women…and some are stronger than me. Are all men inherently better leaders than all women? These are the questions that challenge gender roles.

    It is not about if a majority is better at something, it’s about if that majority being better can translate into forbidding the minority who surpass or equal the majority should be prohibited.

    This faulty argument that equal opportunity ignores the facts that gender does contribute to one gender, as a majority, being better at a task than the other. This is not the premise of equal opportunity. The premise is that each instance should be evaluated by that instance alone. That a man or woman should not feel forced or prohibited from entering a role simply because it makes them an outlier.

    This is the failure of the “traditional roles” and stereotypes. Exceptions exist and to ignore them for the sake of the majority is foolish.

    • GBean says:

      “It is not about if a majority is better at something, it’s about if that majority being better can translate into forbidding the minority who surpass or equal the majority should be prohibited.”

      I think we tend to get carried away in protecting the minority, to the point of oppressing the majority.

      • Charles says:

        I am curious to know what you mean by this. How does allowing men and women the opportunity to do the same tasks create opression?

        • Jordy says:

          For example, a during a job interview there may be both a man and a woman applying for a position. However, the company only has six other people on staff, and by coincidence, they are all male. Both the man and the woman are fairly equal in terms of experience, but during the interviews, the male displays a skill not necessarily on paper that would help with the job – a highly personable attitude. The man gets hired as a result, and the woman, furious, goes after the all male company for discrimination. The company would have to do some serious scrambling to protect themselves, even though the male ‘was’ the better candidate for the job.

        • Charles says:


          What you are talking about is not equality. It is an absue of the system. We cannot forbid equality just because some would misuse it…we must simply deal with these situations of abuse properly and call them what they are. That is not an equality issue…it’s an issue of perceived entitlement.

          Curtis. So you are saying that if the majority of a gender cannot perform a task then even the minority who can should be disallowed? It’s no secret that men, in general, are stronger…but there are women in construction who perform equally and even better than their male counterparts. These individuals have every right to be allowed to perform this task.

      • LilyL2182 says:

        This isn’t about majority/minority. It’s about lumping people together based one one characteristic: gender. Gender is only the most important factor if you are choosing a surrogate or a sperm donor.

        • Curtis says:

          When women take over the VAST majority of construction jobs and cattle handling, I’ll be more inclined to believe you.

  7. thedmancometh says:

    The decision about women in the front lines brings me to my own upbringing.For years upon years real men were raised to treat women with respect,and in a relationship to protect them,I know that in this age chivalry has been set aside for political correctness.I still open a door for a woman (not all are ladies any more).I see the question of a woman on the battlefield based on my own treatment of them throughout life.(I’m 73) I do believe however,that is more the gay agenda that is driving this issue than anything else.When a woman finds that she wants to do what men can do,that’s fine,no problem there.However I have seen incidents in the past,where lesbians would attack a young woman in the barracks,and believe me,there are some of that ilk I wouldn’t want to tangle with.A Marine friend told me of one situation where it took several MPs to arrest two lesbians.If they start discussing sexual attacks in the military which Obama just signed another law for,there will be no mention that the attacks were by lesbians or gay men on the same sex.Finally I must add this.Look at how Muslims treat women,that are part of their family even,and then try to tell me that a female captor would get special treatment as a woman.

    • Jennifer says:

      I think the idea of what “treating a woman with respect” means is changing. Years ago, a lot of what we would consider chivalry was based on the idea of women being unable to protect or care for themselves and the assumption that women were always physically weaker.

      Nowadays there is an understanding that plenty of women are strong and athletic. Women work outside the home and are financially independant. Many of us are even able to physically defend ourselves. We are not fragile flowers.

      That being said, courtesy is still appreciated. I hold the door for everyone behind me, whether man or woman. When I was pregnant I was always offered a seat on the subway, and I offer my seat to the elderly or handicapped. .

      These gestures are less about respect for someone’s gender but about respect for them as a person in general.

    • Charles says:

      Unfortunately the cases of heterosexual rapes and attacks far outweigh the homosexual incidents. Also the incidents which are quieted by the military where homosexuals are attacked or assualted. We should not base our observations on “hot topic” words. Sexual assault and physical assault is wrong no matter what parties are involved. The question is not about sexual preference in the military…the question is why does the military still hide and protect certain individuals who do so, regardless of orientation? Many are simply reassigned and never reported to prevent bad PR. They need to stop “protecting their image” and punish all violators…I don’t care if they are homosexual, heterosexual or a eunnuch.

      • Glenn Dupuis says:

        I will agree to a portion of what you say about the numbers,but when was the last time you heard or read about homosexual crimes on the news.

        • Charles says:

          Oh, do not mistake me. I fully understand that the media is scared of reporting such things. I abhor it. While I am for homosexual rights I am disgusted with what it is being used for. There is that fringe element that liked to pretend that homosexuals are perfect beings who never break the law or commit crimes. The honest truth being that such incidents only have relevance to ones orientation if it is a crime based on ones orientation or a sex crime. It is very likely that crimes are reported where a homosexual is involved but their orientation is not mentioned…just as you will never read “Straight man robs bank”. But, as with the incident at a gay pride rally where a group assaulted and harassed a small number of protesters this information was suppressed by major networks out of fear of protest. That is a sad state when one is afraid to report an incident for fear of being accused of “gay-bashing”. This incident was not indicative of thd typical behavior of homosexuals….orientation does not affect ones propensity to violence…there was no need to suppress it as the orientation was only relevant to the environment of the instance of the crime and not it’s motive. When the media conceals such information it creates unnecessary suspicion and only hurts those who do not behave as such.

        • Someone says:

          When those violated are minors ie by soccer coaches, priests, Boy Scout leaders etc. By calling such people pedophiles we like to forget that they are also gay.

  8. Jennifer says:

    I am not sure what the point of this post was, except for a chance to make a random and completely irrelevant abortion comment. Is it that we should hold men and women to different moral standards? Is it that we should consider someone’s gender before we apply judgement to them?

    I would like to say something about it but I was honestly unclear what the message was supposed to be.

  9. Hendricus says:

    Morality and ethics exist primarily in group agreement. Yes, it requires individual decision to abide or deviate, but a main point of morality is that proper behavior comes not only from internal processing, but morality communicates from the group to the individual, as well as from God to the individual. Modern man has enjoyed a period of freedom. We are not so quickly chained or beaten to submit. We are allowed to process and proceed from a place of preference. Today, preference and taste are all important. At the heart of sexual promiscuity, abortion, and homosexuality is the desire to “make it okay” to do something I want to do. In our world today, when “what we want,” goes against morality, we don’t miss a beat. We quickly challenge morality. But none of this is new. Consider The Book of Genesis. Consider the story of “The Fall.” God said that there are going to be rules. The Serpent was quick to challenge, “Did God REALLY say…?” In other words, “Morality? Pif! What morality?”

    • jasondrexler says:

      Yup. The mantra of “modern” man: If I want to do it, it’s moral, God and His followers be damned.

      • Charles says:

        Who has said this exactly? I would be very interested to hear a long list of people who have actually claimed that desire is all that is required to designate morality.

        • Curtis says:

          It’s pretty much the entire basis of the “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one” argument. People I encounter, in college and such, actually try to tell me that morality’s only valid basis is the choice of the individual, which if true would mean that murderous dictators didn’t do anything wrong, as they simply followed their personal moral code. That rapists are morally justified because they’re living by their moral code. When this is pointed out to the people who try to tell me that there’s no degree of an absolute morality, they usually just say that those are extremes, but often times the extremes are the logical conclusions of an ideal.

        • What happens to those folks who claim there is no basis for morality – it’s all good – when they are cut off in traffic, or someone steals apples from their orchard, or their kid’s classmate cuts up their kid’s new coat, or another man makes a pass at their wife, or their kid gets caught cheating on a test, or someone smashes their new car while parked on the street and drives off, or gives their child a drug powerful enough to land them in the hospital, or punches their elderly grandmother down, or kidnaps their beautiful young child?

        • Charles says:

          That whole argument is based on limited perceptions though. Everyone does have their own moral code. Some share most sources of their morality with others in the form of religion. Others have a different spiritual outlook…there are a vast myriad of sources of morality. This is often displayed by the fact that even within social groups, both religious and non, there will be sects who are incredibly violent and oppressive. It’s a very broad stroke to say that one morality or another is logically more likely to make a claim unless the claim is directly made. It’s a very involved topic. Because no matter how much you try to teach a morality to some…it won’t stick. Atheists who justify atrocities and Christians who do the same. Each has a vastly different source….but their morality is similar because it is their personal morality formed from the concepts of others…and so on. In general people value themselves and life…so this is reflected in values.

          It’s really a fascinating subject.

  10. Penny Johnson, aka Isabelle Johnson says:

    Matt, Your blogs really help me to stay centered on the Tao. That is they help me remember the “law” of basic human decency. Thank you. About the difference between human beings and brute animals. The basic difference is that humans have an innate understanding of the Tao and animals do not. The really dangerous and wicked thing that I see in the world today is that this basic human understanding is being attacked and dismantled. When such an understanding is gone the only “law” becomes “might makes right” and “my ego wins because it is bigger and stronger and more cunning. than your ego.” Such a change would make the world a terrible place. I write as a lady who has trained horses, dogs, worked a a farmer and hunted wild elk and deer. For that reason, I have no illusions about animal nature. Again, thank you. Penny Johnson

  11. Hendricus says:

    A couple of moral tenants that I believe are alive and well in our world today:

    (1) Pursue what makes you happy. Follow your heart. Be true to your internal desires. If you do this, you are being good.

    (2) Pretty much anything goes. The only restraint is that you should not force someone else to do something they don’t want to do. If you do, you are being bad. (Every increasing tax rates not withstanding.)

    I’m sure there are a few others.

    From these tenants we shall order our world.

    • Penny Johnson, aka Isabelle Johnson says:

      How would you feel about the two principles that you just defined if you were in a car accident, at the bottom of a cliff and it was very cold and icy and with out help you would die of either your injuries or the cold. But for some one to attempt to rescue you they would be endangering their own life and would not be happy in endangering themselves? Just something to think about. Penny

      • Charles says:

        It’s dependant upon the likelyhood of the success of the individual evaluating their ability to rescue me. It said person does not have the physical prowess or resources to attempt to rescue me then it would be a waste of two lives for them to attempt such. If said person had a reasonable chance of success based on physical prowess and resources then it would be a viable attempt.

        You could compare it to a firefighter and a civilian in a rescue attempt of a burning building. The firefighter has entered his field to save people. He has been trained for rapid evaluations of the chance of success of rescue in burning buildings. There are times when the chance of success is zero…and no one goes in. But when there is a chance they go in. Their chances are increased dramatically due to resources and training. The actual success rate of an untrained and I’ll equipped civilian in these circumstances are staggeringly low. More lives have been lost in attempts by untrained and I’ll equipped civilian rescue attempts than have been saved. It’s about proper evaluation.

      • Joseph Lee says:

        It doesn’t matter how Hendricus “feels”; he wasn’t stating what “should” be what what actually “is”. We have a very self-serving society and in an attempt to justify it, the above tenets are have become enshrined. A failure to be “true to yourself” has been elevated to a sin, because in doing so it provides an argument for those that wish to engage in behaviors that are harmful either to self or society.

        The second “rule” is just because thankfully, we aren’t so far gone that truly anything goes… or perhaps it is just that we aren’t stupid enough to forget that the first point left unfettered will ultimately result in “might makes right” as the different desires of the people clash.

        Of course, I may be misreading the statement, but I didn’t take it as an endorsement of the views; just pointing them out.

    • pentamom says:

      Just for future reference, a belief is a tenet. A tenant is someone who pays someone else for the use of real estate.

  12. Just another human out there says:

    Hmm, so who is to decide what jobs only men do and what jobs only women do? Or have we as a species gone beyond the need for most of these defining lines. I see you have focused only on the biological, not considering the environmental or even that each and every one of us has our own individualized gifts/talents, let alone personality, all of which I might add come together to make us who we are now.

    The biological starts us on a path, the rest molds and makes us who we are. I agree science often rediscover known truths, however within those truths a new discovery is made, if and when a person uses new eyes (peridime shift) to find it. Most scientific discovery has been repeating the old process and see the results differently or by accident, so though it may seem that that this particulars path of science is a waste of time and money, it is not. What it does is helps us understand who we are physically so we can better move beyond our physical defining traits, which we as humans we are driven to continually do. But to say that because you are born female or male should define the roles you can have in your life ( other than child birth) is ludicrous.

    And please do not forget the Cannibalistic tribes that have existed in this world for ages. Cannibalism in these tribes is a learned norm for these people. Vegetarians would not kill the deer either they would want what the deer was eating.

    So to following our preset job guidelines bases only on the biological, I say NO. I know women who are better suited for the military then some men. I know some men who are better suited for raising children then women. It is in who the individual is that matters most. I do believe that a child needs two differing personality types to succeed in this world.

    I do know and believe that children need constant support by both males and females mentors to guide and mold them to be well rounded strong productive ethical human adults. Does this mean people should only have kids if both the mother and father are their. Does that mean every mother father pair is a conducive enviorment for child rising, no. What it means for the single parents out there or anyone who has kids out their, just make sure that your children have quality time with good male and female roll models throughout their growing up years. Good parenting is what is needed for our children, not gender rolls. We as a species divide ourselves from the rest of the animals out their, because of choice. In the bible it says God gave us choice. Animals live and breath on instincts and training. We humans, live, choose and are human because we have moved away from instinct, and use our minds now to decide our paths. Not the infrastructure of our brain, but how we use what we have is what sets us apart.

    • Jennifer says:

      I think we have gone beyond most of those dividing lines. What job a person should do should be based on their qualifications, talents and abilities, not their gender. So yes. a job that requires incredible physical strength (such as firefighter) will have more men in it. But a woman who is able to meet the requirements can do this job. Likewise with other gender roles. I was a preschool teacher and I can count on one hand the number of male assistants I had over the years. But there are plenty of excellent male teachers out there and they should not be viewed as less masculine for choosing this kind of work.

      • Jennifer says:

        There is only one job that only woman can do and that is give birth to a baby. And as someone who has done that, I would be happy to allow the men in our society the chance to try it. 🙂

        • Glenn Dupuis says:

          I have had kidney stones several times,try that!Compare the sizes of the outlets,I couldn’t expand mine!

        • Gospel X says:

          @Glenn: My wife has passed a stone and had a baby. Passing the stone was overall a better experience.

        • Um, is this not an odd statement for you to make, Gospel X? Once your wife passed the kidney stone, the pain and effort was over and done, with nothing to show for it. Of course she felt much better ridding her body of a painful foreign object, not meant to be there. However, once she went through the birthing process, she had a beautiful baby for her laborious effort, her own flesh and blood. Passing a kidney stone doesn’t hold a candle to bringing forth new life now, does it?

  13. jasonjshaw says:

    For those who are angry about abortion, you might want to consider this Biblical nugget starting at Matthew 5:21 (NIV version here):

    21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.

    Christians need to learn to be more loving rather than controlling on such matters if they truly want to reduce such actions.

    • Yes, Jasonjshaw, we should have been much more loving towards the Nazis while they were murdering Jews and any other “undesirable”

      • jasonjshaw says:

        If there was more love earlier on, it might not have escalated to such a point.

        Of course it could be argued that you are comparing humans with consciousness to groups of cells that could develop to have consciousness. There is a bit of a difference there, but when you get to the root of it, a lack of love and connection will likely tend to be a leading cause of all such things.

      • Jill J says:

        well dang, i guess Hitler’s (and Goebbels’, and Hess’s, and Doenitz’s, and Goering’s, and Speers’…and so many others) mothers and fathers and significant others should have just loved them more…then all would be roses, and the holocaust would never have happened…silly me, i thought there was actually sin and evil in the world…

        • Charles says:

          Why is everyone so eager to jump to hitler and his ilk? Do you base every action you take on the extreme? Guess what? The only way to deal with hitler was with war. He was unwilling to tolerate and accept the differences of others. Any ideals other than his own were evil and destructive. This is the realm of his mind. Violence and opression are born from intolerance. Atheists, Muslims, Christians, even some sects of Buddhism have been guilty of this.

          So yes…tolerance and acceptance, moderated with critical thought, is the answer. Extreme situations require extreme measures.

      • Charles says:

        And what was the source of these atrocities? Hitlers inability to accept and tolerate differences and different perspectives.

    • jasondrexler says:

      You’re right that we Christians shouldn’t be condemning anyone, but I’m afraid that in the last 50+ years (since the Sexual Revolution, that is), we as a society have merely shifted from one extreme (condemning unwed moms) to another (claiming that virtually everything must be accepted and “tolerated,” even celebrated). Loving an unwed pregnant women means welcoming her into the group (your family, church, whatever), AND it means gently showing her that there’s a better way to do things the next time around (God’s way).

      • jasonjshaw says:

        Exactly. A clear understanding of the balances involved is what we should strive for. When we think in one extreme or another, we neglect the whole other side of the coin, and that’s what gets people into these troublesome situations.

      • Charles says:

        Or the way of the Bhudda, the way of the Tao, the way of compassion. There are a multitude of ways to convey this message. As long as said message is responsible and compassionate.

    • Curtis says:

      How loving is it, to see the death and destruction of your home, friends, family and nation coming fast, and never speaking up to warn anybody of the coming danger?

      • Charles says:

        Is it more loving to see a person whom holds a different belief system then you and tell them the only way they can be good and moral is to adopt your own?

        This is the issue with any belief system insisting that theirs is the only way to “morality”. Would you abandon your faith is someone told you theirs was the actual “correct” one and you are evil for not following it?

        Insisting that your way is the only proper way and refusing to compromise and negotiate IS the reason for intolerance and polarizing. Without a desire to understand and accept then there is no hope for peace. And don’t jump into the hitler debate. That is an extreme circumstance requiring unique and extreme measured to counteract. Out lives do not exist on the extreme alone.

        • Just another human out there says:

          Thank you for your insights militarily and your level headed views. It is hard to take the time to look at situations from multiple view points not just the one that you where trained to accept. I agree we still have a ways to go in many gender roll areas and we need to work with people who have had hands on experience to help guide in the dismantling of gender roles. I see us as humans that will eventually be able to make this happen if it does not get stalled by preset paradigms and biases. Thinking out side the box is what has made this a great nation to live in, and of course what the military has done to help keep this country a place where we still have the freedom of speech. Thanks for that also.

        • Joseph Lee says:

          If the only way they can be “good and moral” is to indeed adopt my belief system then… of course it is more loving.

          Remember, most of the worldviews that have concepts such as “good” and “evil” have an interesting angle to them; what is “good” is what is best for you while “evil” is at best “less good” and often very “bad” for you. This can go in two different directions; good versus evil is entirely subjective, based on how it benefits “me”… or what would line up with Christianity; “good” just happens to be what is ultimately best even if at times it seems “worse” for you.

          So if someone believes that doing what is “right” is ultimately what is best for a person and that person fails to share this “enlightenment” with others, that is at least a disservice and actually a grievous injury… at least if the original “someone” is “more correct” than the person being informed.

          As for jumping to extremes, they can be correctly used to refute claims when those claims make no allowances for them. Sadly, most internet arguments aren’t exactly “logical”. 😉

      • jasonjshaw says:

        Exactly, good, caring communication is of utmost importance. Pushing an agenda if ignorance and blind faith in teachings will only lead to ignorant choices when someone is faced with the situations that were ignored in their teachings. Faith based in understanding actions and real consequences is a much more loving form of teaching faith. Topics of sex and violence shouldn’t be ignored in faith, they should be understood with teachings of faith.

    • Curtis says:

      You’re confusing some vital terms here. “Loving” and “accepting” are not interchangeable, they are two entirely different concepts. Also, “love” and “acceptance” need a defined object to target in order to be valid. Are you saying that Christians need to love and accept people, or love and accept the very actions they find morally bankrupt? Because people are not the same as their actions. You can love one without loving the other. In fact, if your child takes up stealing, would it be loving towards your child to endorse their behavior?

      • jasonjshaw says:

        With your example, if your child is stealing, do you lock them in a room so they can’t steal? It’s the same idea as trying to ban abortion.

        I think the wiser route is to speak with your child about actions and consequences so that they can learn and understand how their actions affect all those involved and the risks they are exposing themselves to. This is the route I suggest Christians would be wiser to take in their battle on abortion.

  14. Sheila says:

    Chrissie, if you read the study, then you know two things. First, that there was no difference at all detected in the brains of male and female children. The difference was only found in the brains of teenagers and adults, which means it’s just as likely a cultural difference. People who spend 10-18 years playing with specific kinds of toys (dolls vs. legos) do in fact rewire their brains. Of course the study didn’t include anyone from a non-Western culture to see if these trends are universal.

    Second, the differences were based on averages. It’s not like you could necessarily tell if someone was male or female from their brain alone; there were plenty of outliers.

    So what does this mean from a moral perspective? Do we insist on a brain scan before letting someone join the military — you must have a “male brain”? Or can two people get married just because they have different gendered brains, even if their biological sex is the same? If someone has a typically female brain but male genitals, do we call them male or female? Should they alter their genitals surgically so they match their brains? Does their wish about what gender they want to be merit any consideration here?

    Sure, the nature of things leads to ethical considerations. However, it is absolutely unclear what ethical considerations are implicit in the information that the average man is better at reading a map than the average woman.

    • “Dr. Jerome LeJeune, M.D., Ph.D., professor of fundamental genetics on the faculty of Medicine of Paris, held the Kennedy Prize for being first to discover a disease caused by chromosomal abnormality – Down’s Syndrome, a member of a number of prestigious medical and scientific organizations.spoke these beautiful words, “We know by the human observation, that there is a specialization of information carried by the sperm compared to the information carried by the ovum. And I would say I was wondering, not surprised, but wondering that we were discovering at this extraordinarily tiny level of information built into the chromosomes, that paternal duty was to build the shelter and to make the gathering of the food, to build the hut and the hunting. And that the maternal trick was household and building of the spare parts so the individual can build himself. And it’s a kind of admiration that we have for nature that since we have seen in the grown up that the man is going hunting and the mother is doing the kitchen, it is just the same deeply written inside our own chromosomes at the very beginning at the moments the first human constitution is spelled out. Each of us has a unique beginning, the moment of conception. As soon as our program is written on our DNA, there are twenty-three different pieces of program carried by the spermatozoa and there are twenty-three different homologous pieces carried by the ovum. As soon as the twenty-three chromosomes carried by the sperm encounter the twenty-three chromosomes carried by the ovum, the whole information necessary and sufficient to spell out all the characteristics of the new being is gathered. Inside the chromosomes is written the program and all the definitions. Chromosomes are the table of the law of life. When the information carried by the winning sperm, out of thousands vying for the special position, and by the ovum has encountered each other, then a new human being is defined because its own personal and human constitution is entirely spelled out. It is a personal constitution which is entirely typical of this very one human being which has never occurred before and will never occur again. The information which is inside this first cell obviously tells to this cell all the tricks of the trade to build herself as the individual, this cell is already, to build that particular human person we will call Sylvie or Hannah or Lily; it’s already there, but its so small that we cannot see it. It’s what is life, the formula is there; if you allow this formula to be expanded by itself, just giving shelter and nurture, then you have the development of the full person. A first cell knows more and is more specialized than any cell which is later in our organism. When we split at the beginning of our life, it is at the three cell stage that a message goes from one cell to the two other cells, comes back to the first one and suddenly realize we are not a population of cells. we are bound to be an individual. At the very beginning of life, the genetic information and the molecular structure of the egg, the spirit and the matter, the soul and the body must be that tightly intricated because it’s a beginning of the new marvel that we call a human. The first cell is knowing how to differentiate the progeny, the cell progeny. If we take one cell of a chimpanzee embryo, of a human embryo, of a gorilla embryo and give it to one of my students in the Certificate of Cytogenetics in Paris, and if he cannot tell you this one is a human being, this one is a chimpanzee being, this is one is a gorilla being, he would fail his exam; it’s as simple as that. The amount of information which is inside the zygote, which would if spelled out and put in a computer tell the computer how to calculate what will happen next, this amount of information is that big that nobody can measure it. You have to realize that this enormous information which makes a man is enormous compared to the information which makes a computer, because it’s a man who has made the computer; it’s not the computer which has made the man. Surely it’s much more complicated to build a human being, to determinate on one cell the wiring of his brain so that he will some day invent machine to help his own brain to understand the law of the universe. There is something peculiar to the human beings compared to others. What defines a human being is: He belongs to our species. So an early one or a late one has not changed from its species to another species. It belongs to our kin. And I would say very precisely that I have the same respect, no matter the amount of kilograms and no matter the amount of differentiation of tissues. The duty is not to kill, and that duty is universal. And I would say that if by technique I as looking at the chromosomes of this baby, and I see the chromosomes abnormal, say for example, he has a trisomy twenty-one, I would say that this is the disease. But if I look at the other forty-six chromosomes that are normal I would see the mankind of the baby, and I don’t condemn a member of my kin. If I was convinced that those early human beings are, in fact, piece of properties, well, property can be discarded, there is no interest for me as a geneticist. But if they are human beings, which they are, then they cannot be considered as property. They need custody.”

      • Jill J says:

        thank you for posting this…i will copy and paste it where a great many others will see it, this is a great piece of thinking, of writing…again, thank you

    • Alex says:

      So much this. Thank you, Sheila.

  15. Bob T says:

    Well thought and written, Chrissie. I would add one notion to the discussion of ethical morality. In my view, the American ideal expressed by the term ‘individual liberty’ and derive from the law of nature recognizes something I call human dignity. This certainly separates humans from the remainder of the animal kingdom and might lend a small distinction (part of what is meant by American exceptionalism) to the American view from much of the rest of the world that fails to acknowledge individual human dignity. (Note that not all Americans subscribe to what I just described.)

    Here’s something that I think has been a major influence in getting us to this stage where such gender role disputes are prominent. In prehistory, before one could even reference culture or civilization are part of the human condition, change in human actions or behaviors was extremely slow (probably beyond most modern comprehension) just as primate evolution is slow. With the emergence of what we term civilization (where individuals act in concert for common purposes) material progress began to accelerate and when we get to where we are today, the rate of change of material progress and, thus, human actions and behaviors is overwhelming. But our brains, male and female, have still evolved at a pace determined by evolution. So all those aspects of behaviors influenced by instincts contained in our brains have not gone away.

    If we recognize this, then, in our modern world where much of what any individual human, male or female, needs to do to survive and prosper can be accomplished equally as well by either (this was not always true), we face a problem. We still have much of the animal instinct from our prehistoric condition where the male was the hunter/gatherer/defender and the female was the caretaker for posterity and adjustment to this change requires much rational processing.

    Hey, I have no credentials or expertise on this subject, but this is a layman’s view.

  16. Gary Mason says:

    I do like this commentary. However, it contains a lot of broad generalizations, including the example of shooting the deer to feed starving children. I am a parent, and I wouldn’t shoot the deer. I am saddened, that because I wouldn’t shoot the deer, I was categorized with someone that needs divine guidance and help. Just for arguments sake, let me point out that if there is a deer present, then there are things that can sustain a deer, meaning, I could go out and find any number of vegetables, fruits, roots, nuts, etc. to sustain my family. My point is, when you make generalizations, it hampers the credibility of your writing and allows for people who actually are capable of an intelligent thought to poke holes into your theories. I find it is more credible to use actual examples than ones of fiction. Your observations and subsequent writings are decent. Thank you for sharing!

    • Bob T says:

      As you may see from my earlier comment, I view the human individual as possessing innately a certain dignity, which I equate to liberty, and humanity resides at the pinnacle of the animal kingdom with reason, language, and consciousness as capabilities that enables stewardship over the earth and its creatures and resources. What humanity must do then is figure out, since we are the one’s with rational capacity, to what useful purpose this material elements may be put, and it is important, ultimately, to do this without creating our own destruction.

      We do not eat what wild animals eat. What is the useful purpose of a deer. My conclusion is that it is useful as food for other animals. In the absence of humans killing and consuming deer in my part of the country, they are meals for cougars. And beyond that, when I examine the useful purpose for cows, they seem perfectly suited for human consumption needs and for little else. So I do not find the example of killing the deer to feed the starving children a generalization in any sense.

    • Kelsey says:

      Your reasoning is flawed. The premise is that you your children are STARVING., which means that there is not enough nutrition in your environment to sustain you. If there are fruits and vegetables and nuts, you are not starving.

      in addition, the existence of the deer does not mean that there is enough nutrition in its environment to sustain it. After all, you and your family exist even when there isn’t enough food for you. In the same way, the deer exists even when it can’t find food.

      The whole point of the thought experiment is that your family is on the brink of death. If the choice is to starve to death or kill and eat a deer, which do you choose?

      • Charles says:

        The inherent problem with the example is that it has absolutely no relevance to anything else save for the fact that each instance required individual evaluation based on the factors involved. This actually destroys the basic idea of the entire article. This realization shows that no matter the similarities or differences in the universe…each point of data in each instance requires critical analysis and therefore gender roles cannot be used as a universal standard as variables exist in every moment of ever decision and moral evaluation.

        If the family were not starving they might make a different decision. This is based on the family, the environment, everything.

        The author actually eliminated every argument she used by using this though experiment. She then goes on to imagine that the differences in men and women are absolute and final. Despite the fact that the very same study shows that infants evaluated showed a very small difference, if any. The results she uses are with adolescents who have had a multitude of continuing factors including environment and social expectations.

        • Gary Mason says:

          Excellent, intelligent responses. Charles, you are correct, the example given wasn’t relevant to the rest of the article. I am guilty of using the word “generalization” incorrectly. Thank you for your insight!

  17. Adele says:

    Reblogged this on An unfiltered musing and commented:
    one of my favourite blogs of all time – this guest post is brilliant!

  18. Tony Anthony says:

    Enjoyed the writing style. Easy to read. Seems though that there wasn’t enough meat. I think she could have used more than one paragraph to drive her point home.

  19. centavita says:

    I am really confused here. How did this become a debate on job equality, women in combat, having babies, rape, abortion, etc.? I thought it had something to do with the fact that men and women are different and about making moral decisions. Whether you believe in God or not, I believe that God knit ethics and morality into us at the time of conception. Man or woman, you know what’s right and what’s wrong even if the decision you make is not moral or ethical. Men work at some of the hardest jobs on earth. Women are better at so many different things.. Why does the debate have to be about who deserves the hardest job? I believe in equal pay for equal work. I never wanted to be a soldier or fireman, but would have loved to have been a doctor or paramedic. Those things didn’t happen for me, but my life experience leaves me satisfied.

  20. Richmond says:

    Hmm, this sure is a long, verbose road around blatant sexism…

  21. Your final point – about treating things or people in accord with the way they and therefore the universe runs more smoothly – is a valid point in my opinion.
    My children insist that they each get the same thing whether it’s apple juice or time at the computer. When I tell them no or ignore their request, they occasionally ask why. My answer is you are not the same person and not everything is meant to be equal.
    No, not everyone or thing is the same and therefore some thought needs to go into how people/things are treated based on need.

    • Curtis says:

      This reminded me of a story I once heard, a modern-day parable, if you will. Two people were given some pepsi to drink. One person received a 12 .oz can, while another received a liter bottle. Both were sufficiently pleased with their gifts. The person who got the can drank it, and enjoyed it. The person with the bottle poured a couple glasses for his friends and drank the rest with them. Then the person with the can heard that the other person received more and asked the gift-giver why. His response was simple: I gave each of you what you needed, what was useful to you. You did not need any more than you received. Gifts, blessings, and all its like, are given with the individual in mind. What gift is good for one may not be enough for another, or may just be clutter to the second. We fool ourselves into thinking we’re all equal, ignoring the realities of our biology and what we’ve actually accomplished. A sad, sad day it is when one person writes and publishes a novel after years of labor on it, to go unnoticed, while another on Facebook receives a hundred accolades on a poorly written status about being asked on a date.

  22. Luscinia says:

    Her Providence sought nothing.
    Her Providence made nothing.
    She but looked on, silent in Her sorrow.
    The Goddess pitied mortals, destined as they were to die, and so She deigned to intervene in the hour of their greatest peril. She averted cataclysm that was to be, and put to rest the ones who would have robbed so many of what time fate had ordained.
    Her compassion did not end at this.
    The Goddess pitied also those subjected to that fate of Focus, crueler still than death. To them She sent Her messengers, to deliver hope when all was lost.
    – Sermons of the seeress Paddra Nsu-Yeul

  23. Gail says:

    I don’t think there is really any question about whether or not we are different or whether or not there are certain implications. We generally focus on more relevant issues. (1) Of our chemical and physiological differences, what percentage develops as a result of independent biology and what percentage develops as a result of the biological implications of our environments [nature vs nurture]. (2) Which of the implications are natural and helpful, and which are derived and harmful? Clearly girls aren’t hard-wired to like pink, but it is largely without consequence that within the last 70 years each gender has been assigned a color. If anything, this is a sub-group culture which largely enriches a society. What about the idea that boys like girls who aren’t as smart as them? I’d say that this is also a result of nurture, and most people would agree that it is harmful for not only the girls and women discussed, but for society as a whole. The what’s and why’s aren’t really relevant. Our responses are the only consequential discussion. Men and women should have all of the same legal boundaries. Outside of that, may we all develop grit as we learn to adjust to the harsh realities of the unfairness in life, because that is also natural and we can’t beat nature.

  24. April K says:

    I find this post rather unsatisfying. The author thinks gender differences in thinking should determine moral and ethical principles. Fair enough, but there’s no example or references to how such a thing might play out. True, many of the moral and ethical standards governing animals aren’t the same for humans. But a human who beats or starves a dog will go to jail, and a dog that viciously attacks a human will be put down. In those instances, the ethical standards are nearly identical. If you claim to believe in moral absolutes, then you accept their universal application.
    I could just as easily make the claim that fundamental differences between healthy brains and the brains of the mentally handicapped require us to apply different moral and ethical considerations toward them, but without clearly illustrating what I mean, I’d probably come off sounding Hitler-ish to several people. Expressing open-ended ideas is a slippery slope; you’ll have a lot of people nodding their heads, but you won’t know what they’re thinking. People have used gender differences for decades to argue that women shouldn’t vote or that men shouldn’t win child custody hearings. Clarify your argument, and we’ll all have a more productive discussion.

  25. Cylar says:

    Should we completely disregard these facts when considering whether to send women to the front lines of a war, or asking whether children need both a mother and a father for a healthy, happy childhood?

    No one has even attempted to explain to me how putting women in combat roles would enhance battlefield performance of the military…..or why absolutely anything OTHER than battlefield performance enhancement would be considered when making personnel decisions about the military.

    • LilyL2182 says:

      “No one has even attempted to explain to me how putting women in combat roles would enhance battlefield performance of the military…”

      Oddly enough, no one has ever attempted to explain to me how putting men in combat roles enhances battlefield performance! What a coincidence!

      Men are automatically included and apparently exempt for having to explain their value. Why don’t you go ahead and think of all the ways men are valuable? Well it’s pretty much the same reasons for women.

      • Curtis says:

        Let’s see… men, throughout history, have carried heavier loads and fought more aggressively on both a ranged battlefield and in hand-to-hand combat. There’s two reasons, now let’s hear your one justifying an advantage for women dominating the battlefield, despite all the possible negatives that have already been described.
        Mind you, I’m talking about the physical and psychological realities here. Yes, there’s stuff women do better than men, and I won’t take that away from them. But at the same time, women like you must realize there ARE things that men can handle better.

        • April K says:

          Women, on average, shoot better than men. The best gunner at my Army boot camp was a woman, and I was one of the top firing coaches for my platoon.

        • When my dad was a Marine, he was by far the most proficient sharpshooter they had at the time.

        • Glenn Dupuis says:

          Ginny you base your statement on relativism.Let me explain.In one situation a woman will score higher than a man,however in a different situation the man will do better.Take 100 men and 100 women and have a shoot out,before that it’s a moot argument.

        • Charles says:

          Did you know that during the World War some of the most feared snipers were women in the Russian army? They were more accurate and patient than most others.

          You are making the same mistake as many others. The majority of one eradicates the minority of the other.

          Besides…women ARE on the front lines now. In Iraq there were no “front lines”, women were regularly in convoys that were attacked, OP’s that were attacked..ect ect. The performance of said units showed no mark able difference in profiency either negatively or positively. At best, and worst, these examples display that having women on the front lines had no effect whatsoever, on the whole.

      • LilyL2182 says:

        Okay men win in the “carry more crap” category, but they don’t win every category. Ginny, you are funny. What are 12 years old? When your dad was a marine, were there any female sharpshooters?

        In most circumstances, it’s beneficial to have people with different strengths.

        And Charles is right. The question is pretty much moot now.

        • Curtis says:

          Avoid resorting to personal attacks like your “what are you, 12?” remark if you want to be taken seriously.

        • How kind of you to come to my defense, Curtis. I wondered if anyone would.

        • Lily, I hope I am like a child for Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:3, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Sobering words, don’t ya think? Just because you declare something to be moot does not make it so. Why do you find such delight in making condescending remarks to people? I presume it’s because misery loves company, and you have a great need to puff yourself up by putting others down. I simply made a comment in order to indicate how proud I am of my dear dad; that was my sole intention. He was a man of character, and whatever he put his hand and mind to, he did all unto the Lord, for he was a man of excellence. There are many physiological differences between men and women. For instance, men have 50% more brute strength, and a greater lung capacity, while women’s sense of smell is heightened. Women have no place in the military alongside men for many blatantly obvious reasons. When my mom and dad married, common sense was prevalent. Men were paid enough to be the sole wage earners of their families, so their wives could be the keepers of their homes and nurturers of their children. Due, in large part, to the second and third waves of feminism, and kicking God to the curb in our public square, of course, we are paying a heavy price, especially our neglected children. Common sense is not common anymore.

        • LilyL2182 says:

          Um….The “what are you 12” remark wasn’t a personal attack….it was a comment on the fact that if Ginny is older than that, her dad served in the military when there were no female sharpshooters.

  26. Kim Konash says:

    I was a bit disappointed that the writer seemed to get off on a longer tangent about the difference between humans and deer than she did on expounding on the possible moral implications of the difference between men and women. I don’t disagree with anything she said, but would have preferred the post to be more on-point. Not that it could be exhaustive, as there are far more moral issues to consider than just sending women to war or a child needing both parents.

  27. This problem shows itself far beyond moral issues. Academia, for example is a hotbed of decisions being made on the basis of the false assumption that there is no difference mentally between men and women. Title IX is based around this assumption, and has done more to eliminate opportunities than it has created them. Also, the mere suggestion that men and women might have different spheres of excellence academically is enough to get even big-time liberals in danger of losing their jobs. It almost happened to Lawrence Summers at Harvard.

    • LilyL2182 says:

      Boo hoo Title IX caused schools to eliminate their crappy football teams. Title IX has nothing to do with claiming their is no difference between men and women.

      • Title IX has EVERYTHING to do with assuming that there are no differences between men and women, because it requires that there be “equal opportunity” for women in all aspects of educational institutions. This causes little trouble in academic areas. But there is a documented disparity of interest between men and women in collegiate sports interests, and therefore the effect of Title IX has not really been increase of opportunities for women but rather decreases for men, and what has fallen by the wayside is NOT, primarily, football, but more sports of individual endeavor such as wrestling and track & field. It seems that you don’t care about such things. THAT IS EXACTLY THE POINT. Women have far less interest in participating in such things than men, therefore all this does is make things worse for men. Thank you for helping to prove my point.

        • LilyL2182 says:

          Requiring equal treatment in PE classes and scholarship opportunities has nothing to do with ‘assuming their are no differences.’ Nothing.

          And are you seriously claiming that Title IX has not increased opportunities for women?? That is just ridiculous.

          As a side note, I grew up in California, so perhaps I have a different experience in this, but I’d bet anything there are MORE girls here who participate in sports than boys. Yes in some areas girls are discouraged from playing sports so of course there is less interest. Maybe here in CA we should have fewer scholarships for men than women?

        • I am a Californian, born and bred. Fresno. But anyway, I didn’t SAY that it HADN’T increased opportunities for women. What I said was that it has done MORE to DECREASE opportunities for men than it has done to INCREASE opportunities for women. And I am HARDLY the only critic to feel that way. Read the following links:

        • LilyL2182 says:

          The amount women have gained from Title IX is enormous. I know you aren’t the only to dislike Title IX. When men complain about the supposed impact on you poor babies, you’re right I just can’t care. It’s not my job to fix all the things that make men sad, empowering men more, before I try to fix things for women.

        • Why does the answer to discrimination for liberals always involve MORE discrimination, just in a different direction, instead of less? When proposals are made to ban all racial and sexual preferences by government, you scream like stuck pigs, because you like discrimination, as long as the “right” people get discriminated against.

  28. Daphne says:

    “When we treat things in accord with the way they are, the universe runs more smoothly.”

    Excellent. I am glad Matt had you write a guest post here.

  29. Agnostic Theist Girl says:

    It doesn’t matter how many studies are done on the differences of men and women, with a few exceptions, both are capable of doing the same job, only the way they go about it is different, and even the exceptions are starting to include both sexes such as bouncers, mines even the clergy, and men are quiet capable of staying home and being home makers, many just don’t want to because of the stigma but not liking it or wanting to doesn’t mean they can’t do it..
    As for the deer/human it comes down to intelligence, as humans we have the most complex and intelligent brains of all living things, the lower the intellect of the living thing the more likely it is to become food. Monkeys, dolphins, elephants, apes, etc are the most intelligent of the animals the majority of humans would never eat their meat and fight to protect them, dogs, cats, bears, horses etc are lower down but still not eaten but dogs and cats kept as pets, birds, sheep, cows, deer, swine, sharks etc are not thought of highly intelligent animals they are commonly used as food but it is done as humanly as possible, fish, rodents, reptiles are not usually considered, insects, arachnids, parasites etc are not considered at all intelligent and there is often no regard for their life, plants are also living things that are killed for humans to use and eat they are the least intelligent and as such there is the least regard for their lives. The higher the intellect of a living thing the more we relate to it as something close to our species and therefor it seems more cannibalistic.

  30. Jessica says:

    I debated the need to reply because I will never change people’s opinions… Hopefully the following information will be considered and maybe, just maybe, the personal attacks will cease to materialize.

    I am an F-15E pilot. I have served as an Air Liaison Officer with the Army. I have deployed to Afghanistan, twice. I have served in Korea, twice. I have carried heavy items for men when they were not able (thank you Crossfit for changing my life). Men have carried things for me. I have watched men carry heavy things for weaker men. I have defended men and women under my command, in my formation, and in contact with the enemy. Conversely, I have had men, women, superiors, peers, and subordinates defend me when I needed it.

    Bottom line – there always needs to be a standard. Men and women need to adhere to the standard. It’s not complicated. It becomes complicated when people want to make it complicated and skirt the standard. The standard is established for the good of the organization. Someone has to carry the 240, someone has to find body parts after an IED explodes, someone needs to call in CAS, someone needs to analyze Intel, someone needs to drop the bomb… the list goes on and on.

    Women don’t need to become men; they simply need to adhere to an unchanging standard. Men don’t need to become the ultimate protector of women serving along side of them; they simply need to adhere to an unchanging standard. Anecdotes of “this woman did that, and this man did that” being used as justification to shove people into a particular societal construct is disappointing. Peeing in a bag, 6 feet in front of my WSO, is not detrimental to the mission, and it has not eroded any of my close friendships with those men AND women. Each individual is different; as long as the individual is qualified and adheres to the standard… the mission will be accomplished. Just because a bad apple female doesn’t want to ruck with a full kit does not mean women should not serve. That particular girl, attempting to circumvent the standard, should not serve.

    Plenty of men AND women are not cut out to serve in the military. Plenty of women AND men are not cut out for civilian careers. I am not mother material. I am not school teacher material. I love my job. My job brings me happiness and fulfillment. Flying a desk, traipsing around people’s ‘feelings’, and coddling people in a matronly manner… kills my will to live. I have found a place where I “fit”, where I succeed and where I am accepted. To say my brain is wired a certain way, and as a result I should raise kids and be a school teacher is amusing.

    I am extremely thankful the fighter pilot community did not change standards when women were allowed to try out for the team. We have weeded out plenty of men AND women who could not adhere to our standards. I can only hope the standards remain unchanged during this next cycle of adaptation and outsider induced “drama”.

    • Curtis says:

      And you have proven yourself a woman of sound ideals. Thank you for your input and your service. And the fact that you get the concept of standards, that standards are absolute and for a reason. Bless you and your career!

    • AmandaM says:

      Thanks for this comment! I am forever frustrated by the “women can’t be in combat” mantra. SOME women are not fit for combat, just as SOME men are not fit for combat.
      When I went through boot camp, out of my platoon (with the highest ratio of women to men – 15 women in a platoon of 60 men) we had plenty of men quit because they couldn’t hack it, but all the women made it though. We don’t get enough credit for our physical and mental strength.

    • Erin says:

      I made a comment earlier that was misconstrued by some, but this was exactly my point. Thank you so very much for your service. I admire ANYONE (man or woman) who chooses to serve our country. If they are qualified for the job at the standard then gender should not be an issue. But they must meet the standard. My greatest concern is that over time the standard will be changed by outside pressures, not because it needs to be changed :/

  31. Bob T says:

    I agree totally with Jessica’s comment. Here is one more perspective and it does not change the facts regarding who (including gender) does what in this world. If all attributes (physical, mental, psychological, etc) are graphed in a way that reflects the nature of any given attribute, many, if not most, will result in some form of normal distribution across the entire population. Any two normal distributions will, in many cases when compared, will be offset to reflect an average difference between any two population attributes when all other attributes are held constant. There will be, again in most cases, an overlapping part of the distribution where the attribute is not distinguished between the populations.

  32. AmandaM says:

    So are you comparing women to the deer in this scenario? Sorry, but you write very much like Matt, as in there’s a message you want to put out there, but it never quite is clear.

  33. AmandaM says:

    And just because men and women’s brains may function differently, that doesn’t make one better than the other. It also doesn’t mean they can’t both do the same things, albeit maybe getting there in a different way. And it is absolutely NOT a reason to pigeonhole us into traditional roles. Shame on you.

    • Peggy Allen says:

      100% Right! The argument about women not being able to carry enough weight is wrong. It was already decided that the soldiers carried too much weight in Afghanistan and now a humvee is used to carry most of the supplies. There was a story told by a female soldier (or marine) how when she was stationed in a FOB, when the Special Ops team came in and asked for an additional soldier to join them on an ops, the wanted the person who was best with the machine gun. It was a woman. She went with them so many times, they’d ask for her whenever they came. There are so many instances where women have been in combat and done well that it can’t be ignored. These arguments against women in combat and elsewhere are the same ones used against blacks and gays. Oh and the one about men will fight to protect women and it will screw up unit cohesion? That’s easily dismissed. The Trojans, the greatest fighting force of all time (the ones many young men cream over because of the movie ‘300’) were basically GAY. They screwed each other. The Generals felt that the average soldier would fight HARDER if their loved one was beside them. Soldiers who were in combat say they were fighting to save their fellow soldier NOT for the US all the time. So if they fight to save their “brother” it’s ok, but if they fight to save a woman, the army falls apart. B.S. You’re just afraid some woman is a better soldier than you. Get over it.

  34. Bob Webster says:

    Link from WEBCommentary posted today!


    Happy New Year!

    Bob Webster Editor, Publisher WEBCommentary

  35. Excellent post.

    Sent from my iPhone


  36. Alex Miller says:

    Right, science CONSISTENTLY tells us there are inherent difference. Well, here’s something inconvenient: science is not a monolith. Here’s a different interpretation of the data: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/07/brain-science-ditch-male-female-cliche

    • Alex says:

      Oh, hi, other Alex. Wish I’d read your post before posting nearly the same thing (much more wordily) below. Thanks for the article. Favorite quote, relevant to Chrissie’s blog post:

      “In fact, Verma’s results showed that the neuronal connectivity differences between the sexes increased with the age of her subjects. Such a finding is entirely consistent with the idea that cultural factors are driving changes in the brain’s wiring. The longer we live, the more our intellectual biases are exaggerated and intensified by our culture, with cumulative effects on our neurons. In other words, the intellectual differences we observe between the sexes are not the result of different genetic birthrights but are a consequence of what we expect a boy or a girl to be.”

  37. Mark says:


    Actually, the derivation of the physical fitness standards is pretty straightforward and well-documented. Pull-ups test overall upper body strength, crunches are used for core endurance, and the run is for testing cardio. We (the Marine Corps) do not do pull-ups. We also recently implemented an additional test aimed more specifically at the demands of combat, which involves a shorter run, repeatedly lifting a weight, and a short course that involves carrying weights and a simulated casualty.

    The actual standards (how many pullups, etc) are determined by statistical analysis, ie a bell curve. When we (the military) are implementing a new test, typically there’s also a lot of interviews and input gathered from people who are actually in combat, including both the leaders and the junior enlisted. It’s not, as you put it, determined by “3 people in a room.”

    Since I know you won’t take my word for it, I even googled this for you. Here was the first result:

    Click to access navyphysical%20readiness.pdf

    It has history and everything–for the Navy, not the Marine Corps, but it’ll serve as an example fine.

  38. Pingback: Does it matters that men and women are different? Isn’t it more fun and exciting? | Adonis Diaries

  39. Joey says:

    this is awesome. thanks.

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  41. Susie Que says:

    @LilyL2182, What all of these gracious men with combat experience are trying to get across is that the standards are NOT arbitrary. I can see where you might think so, given your feminist, outsider perspective, but reality is much harsher than you think. You absolutely need to be able to carry 180-250lb soldier to safety, climb over obstacles, run long distances, exert yourself without injury, and a myriad of other difficult physical tasks in combat. The tests and standards that have been honed over the years give the military a way of examining your ability to do those things with relative ease. Imagine with me for a second that skinny little women were allowed in combat against the all male militaries of our enemies….what chance would those women stand against those men? You’re saying women shouldn’t be accountable to the same standards as men in combat, but you can bet all those men behind enemy lines are at least as prepared as your male counterparts, except now half their force consists of dainty women who can’t do pull-ups or carry their own packs or defend themselves in a melee fight. Think of it this way: the enemy will be prepared with big strong men who are fully combat trained. What disservice would it be to our country and our women soldiers if we didn’t make sure they were equally prepared? All it would lead to is death, capture (with would lead to rape and torture and then death), and the loss of the battle. Stop thinking the other countries will play by your feminist ideals. It’s unrealistic. Never underestimate you enemy. Never expect them to play fair or by the rules. It’s called war for a reason and the better prepared our troops are, the better, even if that means excluding phyisically underqualified women from the frontlines.

    Also, bringing up the fact that men don’t have to defend their abilities is ridiculous. Men already exceed the current standards and, oh yeah, have been responsible for our country staying free for as long as it has. Show some respect.

    I understand you are embarrassed of the utter failure of your argument, but please give up. You’re disrespecting veterans and current soldiers everywhere and sounding completely unintelligent to boot. It’s a rough slow train wreck to watch.

  42. Alex says:

    Did anyone even read that one very telling, very important sentence near the end of the article Chrissie’s referencing? Did Chrissie herself read it?

    “Male and female brains showed few differences in connectivity up to the age of 13, but became more differentiated in 14- to 17-year-olds.”

    No one can deny there are significant differences between the general male population and the general female population, but how much of that is due to society and cultural influences? Ironically, the study she’s referencing would seem to imply that the answer is “quite a lot.”

    Our brains are adaptable and can be shaped. That’s why it’s silly to use a study on adolescent-to-adult brains to assert that men and women are “intrinsically” different. Of course we’re different. We’re products of a society in which the male experience and the female experience are very unique. But to use this study on adult brains to imply that we’re born with those differences? Silly.

    For the record, I don’t quite believe that there are NO intrinsic differences between men and women other than sexual biology. I think the Bible often alludes to a very mysterious, very beautiful distinction between the sexes that goes beyond mere reproductive convenience. But, like I said, that distinction is mysterious, and it’s both silly and short-sighted to try to sum it up by saying (in so many words) that God created men to be “protectors” and women to be “nurturers.” No, society did that.

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  44. I don’t think this topic will ever become obsolete. The more researches are conducted the more researchers tend to dig into the topic of how men and women are different and to what extent.

  45. rad_giant says:

    To Lisa Woolery: Ma’am, my husband was in your son’s chain of command at RTC Great Lakes and I can tell you that the female your son spoke of WAS NOT a candidate for Naval Special Warfare. My husband is the immidiate superior in charge of all 800 divisions at RTC (Recruit Training Command) and has met and had a hand in training all recruits that left his barracks, including your son and the female he spoke of. The female your son spoke of was a candidate for Air Rescue, Diver, or E.O.D. (Explosive Ordinance Disposal). All she did was graduate Navy boot camp. While that is an accomplishment, it is NOT even remotely close to the completion of Naval Special Warfare training or BUDs (as compared to Special Operations) as it is called. Not only that, but the number of females that actually make it through the training pipeline to become Diver and E.O.D. (Special Operations) is miniscule.

    On another note: I am a former Naval Officer and athlete. Although I would not consider myself an elite athlete, I was an academic All-American and played in the MIlitary World Games in 2011. I am 6’2″ and 185lbs, and I lift weights and work out regularly. My husband, who is NOT an elite athlete, can beat me physically at ANYTHING and EVERYTHING easily and without really trying. In fact, the average male could beat me, even at my sport (and even more so in combat). I am under no illusions that I am able to compete with men physically. Let us value women for our strengths. We try so hard to act like we are ‘as good’ as men by saying that we need to do the same thing as men. I am a stay-at-home mom and proud of my God-given role as a mother and nurterer. Let’s leave the men to do what God has enabled them to do–to lead and protect their families.

    • Nerobyrne says:

      Me, I prefer the company of equals, which is why I cannot ever date a Christian woman. Christian women do not respect themselves enough to look me in the eye and see themselves as equals.

      Just because we are different doesn’t mean we cannot be equals. But equality is something religion hates thoroughly, because it thrives on subjugation and subservience.

      I believe that we should give all humans the same chances and let the ones who don’t make it fail. I see no need to restrict all humans outright because of their birth. But the way you and Matt sound, it looks like you would support laws that segregate us based on our genitals again.

  46. Nerobyrne says:

    There is of course a giant problem with this way of thinking:
    It marginalizes everyone who doesn’t fit into the stereotypes. I do not believe that we should make laws and rules because of gender tendencies.
    And what of those who are in between male and female?
    If we institute systems that just put everyone in a box, then we will create a system which causes millions to suffer, namely all those who do not want to fit into those boxes, or maybe even cannot.

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