It is peculiar, but it grew, like so many feminist fantasies, from one foundational error: the idea that men and women are in all important respects alike, and where they are different it is because society has trained them to be so. There are thousands of studies, examples and life experiences that put the lie to this notion, and O'Beirne quotes many. But one stands out particularly. In gauging the attitude of college students toward casual sex, a researcher recently asked college students to approach a member of the opposite sex and say, "I've been noticing you around campus. I find you very attractive. Would you go to bed with me tonight?" Seventy-five percent of men said they'd happily carry out the assignment. None of the 48 young women assented.
Feminists have peddled more than their share of myths over the past 40 years -- that women earn less than men for the same work; that domestic violence is rife within the traditional nuclear family; that women do not want to take care of their young children and therefore require government-funded day care; that children do better in group care than with their mothers -- and Kate O'Beirne debunks them all. But one area in particular deserves wider acknowledgment and that is what feminism has done to the military. Against the better judgment of generals and admirals, women have been given more and more access to combat, to the point where scores of women have been killed and wounded in Iraq.
Many did not even recognize, when they entered the service, that they would be deployed so close to the front lines. It isn't just women who suffer. Large numbers of women soldiers are mothers (single or married), leaving behind babies and young children. Nor is the participation of women in combat situations good for readiness or morale. Women have far higher rates of injuries and sick days than men, to say nothing of pregnancy, which in one famous case sidelined 10 percent of the women sailors on a Navy ship. But O'Beirne's argument is completely politically incorrect and completely on the money as to the most profound reason to keep combat an all-male occupation. She quotes historian S.L.A. Marshall, who found that a man will overcome his fear and do what he must because he risks losing "the one thing he is likely to value more highly than life -- his reputation as a man among men."
Kate is fearless and funny and a must read.
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