Below is a very thoughtful email that I received today from a female soldier in the United States Army. I have removed her personal info for privacy reasons, but received permission to share her thoughts here as it pertains to a recent debate and post.
I wish to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for your stance against the ignorance and anti-equality rhetoric being preached over on the Old Virginia Blog. To be frank, I do not frequent either of these blogs, but this conversation was brought to my attention by a friend in my outfit. As a military servicewoman with two tours in Iraq on my service record, I cannot tell you how infuriating it is to see this sexist mindset still being propagated in the United States. The fact that some men still refuse to give female soldiers who put themselves in harm’s way the same respect as their male counterparts is vexing to say the least.
I will say that it is comforting to know that this primitive attitude against the inclusion of women at military academies and in combat situations seems to be a fleeting one and a minority opinion of few. Most people and places that I have encountered over the course of my career have been either entirely supportive or even benign as it is commonplace. We have come a long way since the days of Rosie the Riveter.
These Old Virginia Blog folks must live under a rock. The comments that they have posted on the surface appear to come from older, insecure men, who are obviously threatened by women in an equal or dominant role. I fear that they probably don’t treat their own mothers, wives, and daughters as equally capable females. Perhaps they were embarrassed by a woman in their own lives and therefore project their grievances on others. Whatever the issue, Mr. William’s inability to accept change in anything related to the advancement of women in the military appears to be quite evident.
In addition, Mr. Williams’ counter-points about the obvious physical differences between the sexes and the distracter of the NFL’s lack of women participants simply illustrate the fragile nature of his argument. He is not the biggest offender however as I find him to be no more than immature. On the other hand, I was bothered by the letter written by the VMI board member who would rather abandon his post than accept female cadets. Talk about a total disregard for honor and commitment.
I wonder what he would think today when women make up almost 15% of the country’s gun-toting armed forces. Does he know that there are combat-deployed women presently working along the front lines of the war in Afghanistan? Does he know the contributions that I and my sisters have made in Iraq? I doubt it. I also doubt that the Old Virginia Blog folks do. I do not know if any of these women in combat went to VMI, but I am sure that all of the women who choose to go there are better off for it.
For these gentlemen, and I use that term loosely, to hold such disparaging and bigoted opinions on the matter shows there is still a long way to go. Thank you again for your courage to speak up on behalf of us. Perhaps there will be a day when Mr. Williams and his brethren will evolve enough to catch up with the rest of the world.