Women have served in the military for over 4,000 years, all around the world. But GOP Congressman Tom Cotton is concerned that our “nature” could really bring down the infantry. In an interview on Laura Ingraham’s radio show yesterday, he was asked whether he supported allowing women to serve in combat roles in the miliary, and responded with platitudes about women’s physical inferiority:
“To have women serving in infantry, could impair the mission’s central task in those units. That’s been proved in study after study just as a matter of nature… upper body strength and physical movement and speed and endurance and so forth.”
The conversation was spurred by a recent study that suggests women are averse to serving on the front lines; researchers’ findings suggest that most women believe they’d be unable to do the “toughest fighting jobs.” Gee, I wonder why?
Despite being a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Cotton didn’t really refer to personal anecdotes or specific data about women’s ability to serve. He just pulled out the same kinds of stereotypes that discourage women from feeling strong or capable in the first place.
It’s worth noting that, as Slate has pointed out, women’s admission to the military would be subject to physical fitness tests, just like men are. It’s also worth noting that there are plenty of men who, whether because of nature or years on the couch, are in no way fit to serve the front lines when they initiate military training.
But hey, why not discourage half of all people from participating in the defense of their country?
Photo: flickr user expertinfantry