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1 Eclectic Cyborg  Fri, Dec 27, 2013 8:22:33pm

This is a difficult thing. Generally speaking, men have more upper body strength than women. That upper body strength is important when doing pull ups.

On the one hand this could be a case of the Marines simply wanting universal fitness requirements regardless of gender.

However, it could also be a sneaky way of trying to ensure as few women as possible actually make it to combat. I suspect for some in the higher ranks the idea of women in combat is a bad one.

2 wheat-dogghazi  Fri, Dec 27, 2013 8:41:17pm

Three pull-ups seems pretty minimal. That said, my grandniece who wants to join the Marines has a long way to go before she’s in the right kind of physical shape for boot camp. She’s in JROTC now, and is working on her running endurance, but still needs to shed a few pounds. I am not sure she could pass the three-pull-up test.

3 Dark_Falcon  Sat, Dec 28, 2013 8:18:47am

re: #1 Eclectic Cyborg

This is a difficult thing. Generally speaking, men have more upper body strength than women. That upper body strength is important when doing pull ups.

On the one hand this could be a case of the Marines simply wanting universal fitness requirements regardless of gender.

However, it could also be a sneaky way of trying to ensure as few women as possible actually make it to combat. I suspect for some in the higher ranks the idea of women in combat is a bad one.

Said higher ranks don’t like the idea of women in ground combat (they’re fine nowadays with women as combat pilots), but that’s much less sexism and more concern women won’t be able to handle the physical requirements of ground combat tasks. There is also a justified concern over the fate of a female Marine who falls into the hands of an Islamist enemy.

4 CuriousLurker  Sat, Dec 28, 2013 11:03:17am

re: #3 Dark_Falcon

Said higher ranks don’t like the idea of women in ground combat (they’re fine nowadays with women as combat pilots), but that’s much less sexism and more concern women won’t be able to handle the physical requirements of ground combat tasks. There is also a justified concern over the fate of a female Marine who falls into the hands of an Islamist enemy.

Why are Islamists a special concern? Women can be and have been brutalized during wartime by non-Islamists as well (for example the Serbs, Japanese, even some Americans, etc.) I’m quite sure male soldiers have also been raped by other men as a way to humiliate & debase them, though it probably doesn’t get talked about or reported very often.

5 Dark_Falcon  Sat, Dec 28, 2013 11:23:02am

re: #4 CuriousLurker

Why are Islamists a special concern? Women can be and have been brutalized during wartime by non-Islamists as well (for example the Serbs, Japanese, even some Americans, etc.) I’m quite sure male soldiers have also been raped by other men as a way to humiliate & debase them, though it probably doesn’t get talked about or reported very often.

The Islamists aren’t an exclusive concern, but their open and extreme misogyny, coupled with the fact that they are the enemy whom we are currently fighting makes them the foe the generals most likely see in their mind’s eyes abusing captured women.

6 CuriousLurker  Sat, Dec 28, 2013 1:33:31pm

re: #5 Dark_Falcon

The Islamists aren’t an exclusive concern, but their open and extreme misogyny, coupled with the fact that they are the enemy whom we are currently fighting makes them the foe the generals most likely see in their mind’s eyes abusing captured women.

Fair enough regarding them being the current primary foe. I have no hard data to back it up, however I’d venture to guess that the underlying causes of cultural misogyny are quite different from the underlying causes, or rather the intent, of wartime rape & abuse of women

7 Fortitudine  Sat, Dec 28, 2013 2:12:53pm
However, it could also be a sneaky way of trying to ensure as few women as possible actually make it to combat. I suspect for some in the higher ranks the idea of women in combat is a bad one.

For anyone in the Marines, the idea of putting someone in a combat role who is not physically qualified to perform it, is a bad one.

Policy decisions should first have to answer the question “Does this increase a Marine’s chances of winning?” If the answer is no, then we should not adopt the policy.

(Disclaimer. I am a retired Marine, and female).

8 sagehen  Sat, Dec 28, 2013 2:27:39pm

Is pullups the best measure of the type of strength required to do the job?

I remember decades ago, when the fire department had pull-ups and pushups and a 2 mile run as their fitness test, there was a lawsuit claiming sexism, and new standards were devised.

The new standard was a timed run up 3 flights of stairs wearing x pounds of gear, bash through a door with an axe, then carry a 150-pound person-shaped dummy out the window and down a ladder without dropping it. (nobody could deny the relevance of that test).

The disallowed test, 90% of women and 20% of men failed. The relevant test, 60% of women and 30% of men failed.

9 calochortus  Sat, Dec 28, 2013 3:09:37pm

re: #3 Dark_Falcon

Please be aware that “protecting women” is a time-honored way of being sure they aren’t truly equal citizens. If you protect women from assault by having a curfew for them, you also protect them out the chance to work swing shift. Protect them from having to lift more than a certain weight on the job, then you can keep them out of a job by having a requirement that they lift more than that. Job requirements (as for firefighters) need to be relevant. I have no idea whether doing pullups is relevant for Marines. If it is, fine. If not, well then it’s a bad idea.

In the case of keeping women out of combat to protect them from the evil males of the enemy, I’d be a lot more impressed if the men in any and all militaries refrained from raping women when they have the chance.

I appreciate that you respect women and care about us, but one way to show that respect is to realize that we are adults and can make decisions about the risks and rewards of our decisions as well as men can.
One protects children, and others without the ability to look after themselves in a very different way from how one might protect a loved one from a falling tree or someone with a knife. It is important to recognize the difference.

10 palomino  Sun, Dec 29, 2013 12:32:28am

re: #9 calochortus

Precisely. Women who join the Marines aren’t looking for any sort of condescending protection from potential foreign rapists. They’re putting their lives on the line, and they join because they want to protect all Americans from our enemies, just like male Marines.

11 Timothy Watson  Sun, Dec 29, 2013 1:07:19am

re: #3 Dark_Falcon

There is also a justified concern over the fate of a female Marine who falls into the hands of an Islamist enemy.

T. E. Lawrence called, he wants to have a conversation with you.

And as CuriousLurker pointed out male prisoners were abused on a massive scale in both Serbia and during the El Salvadorian civil war.

12 Fortitudine  Sun, Dec 29, 2013 11:45:30am
Is pullups the best measure of the type of strength required to do the job?

Maybe they are not the best indicator of upper body strength but they are the best one that is cost-effective to administer to hundreds of Marines at a time. When everyone in the command is required to pass a PFT annually, that’s a consideration.

A lot of active duty personnel would like to see the PFT replaced by the CRT. Note that the events are the same for males/females but women are graded differently.

military.com

13 ausador  Sun, Dec 29, 2013 3:45:03pm

With all of the “urban combat” the Marines are and have recently found themselves engaged in I would think that the ability to pull yourself up and over a garden wall or yard fence to gain cover would be a very good thing.

But if less than half of female Marines can do it on the training course then what percentage of them can do it in full combat gear?

That’s OK, some other guy or girl will just stay in the line of fire while boosting them over the wall so as to “not leave any Marine behind” right?

If he/she doesn’t make it out afterwards at least the family might get a posthumous Bronze star medal out of it ehh?

If women want to be in combat then those women need to be at least as physically fit as the average male service member is. Anything else is just politically correct bullshit that is going to get people killed.

I’m not being misogynist, I’m being a realist, lowering the physical fitness standards just to allow more out-of-shape females to qualify is just going to get more people of both sexes killed (as would lowering the standards so that more males could qualify). If the females want into the Marine combat infantry then they need to train for it and pass the basic tests.

If you can’t even do three pull-ups then you simply have no place in combat ops, sorry but that is the truth. Unless they are grossly overweight, anyone could physically train-up to be capable of three pull-ups within a matter of 3 or 4 weeks at most. No sympathy from me if you can’t pass…


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