The old me would hate this, but…
Again and again I find myself repeating this phrase. Over the past couple of weeks, my mind has been racing with the new (and old) implications of legislation such as Roe v. Wade and now, women in combat.
I’ll admit, there is a part of me that is fascinated by the idea of Army Rangers, Navy SEALS, and the like. I’ve watched several documentaries on the SEALS, I’ve seen Act of Valor at least 4 times, and sometimes I imagine how I would respond if I were in a war-time situation. There was even a brief time when I considered attending West Point. Many of my ideas are romanticized, but there is a part of me that longs to be tested and found worthy, to be faced with death and fight bravely, to sacrifice myself for the weak and powerless; all qualities embodied in combat missions.
I struggle with this new legislation allowing women to fight in combat positions because there is a part of me that wants this for me, but there is another part of me I don’t fully understand yet that can’t imagine this.
I’ve been blessed to grow up, live, and work in an environment where men are (over) protective of women. Where I am treated with honor and respect. Where I know men would die to protect me. I am safe. I am able to thrive because of this. I do not want to live in a world where men no longer protect women.
I laugh sometimes because I am usually caught off guard when a guy makes an inappropriate comment to me in public because it is so out of the norm. I’m not used to worrying about men who cross that kind of line. Yet, I am acutely aware of the times when I have felt most vulnerable physically; almost every time involves me being alone in a situation with a man who could overpower me-in a parking garage, hotel hallway, or on a sidewalk at night, for example. It is a miserable and terrifying feeling. I am a fit woman. I can almost always tell you which object in a room I would grab first to defend myself. I’d like to think I would put up a good fight. The reality, however, is I live day-to-day knowing that 50% of the population could hurt me if they truly wanted. I could fight to scare them away or not to lose, but I cannot win. All of the training in the world will not change the reality that I am shorter, lighter, and my bones are weaker than most men.
Aside from the physical limitations, the reality is that men and women are different. Equality does not mean sameness. A butter knife and a butcher knife are both equally knives, but they are different. As a woman my brain, hormones, and chemicals are different from a man. I feel emotion and process information differently. This is a good thing. I am better suited for some situations than a man would be and this is OK. Men and women together reflect the full image of God.
I am still working all of this out in my head. I welcome your thoughts. I’ve never been in the military so I am drawing from second-hand information at best. There are people more qualified than me to speak on this topic – here are some of the articles I’ve found most thought provoking.