Men and women the same? Tell it to the Marines

Posted: January 16, 2014

I KNOW that I will probably get some flack for this, but I just can't hold my tongue any longer on this issue of female Marines participating in combat.

I've been following this story closely for the past two years, and let's just say that this is where the egalitarian rubber meets the road.

If you haven't been following the story, here's the skinny:

More than half of female Marines can't do three pull-ups, and that's the minimum standard that the Marine Corps designated to integrate women into combat jobs. According to the military, eight pull-ups is a perfect score for females, but male recruits must do 20 pull-ups for a perfect score.

If we're all the same, why the gender exception? Shouldn't women be required to do 20 pull-ups, too?

Additionally, female recruits should also be physically capable of climbing a rope, scaling a wall, marching 12 miles with an 88-pound pack and, of course, be capable of throwing a wounded comrade over one's shoulder while running under combat fire to safety.

Now, don't get me wrong. As a red-blooded, equal-rights-loving American womanist and fitness enthusiast, I fully salute any woman who can make the grade by passing this physically and emotionally grueling test. And, sure, there may be a few outliers that can actually achieve it, but they will be the rare exception.

The question is, will those few outliers be enough to make a difference? I doubt it. Should we be tailoring the toughest and most physically demanding military training by gender? Absolutely not!

I get it. We are on this nonsensical egalitarian trip and just don't want to admit the truth - women and men are different.

That's right, folks - women cannot compete physically with men.

Does anyone find this fact surprising?

For example, let's just take WNBA phenomenon Candice Parker, who some say is the best female basketball player. Now, with all due respect to Ms. Parker, does anyone think that she could be a serious contender in the NBA competing against top male basketball players like LeBron, Kobe or Kevin Garnett? Of course not, right? Why? Because even the best female basketball player is no match for her male counterpart, whose sheer physicality would in all probability crush her's 99.9 percent of the time.

Without a doubt, most people would agree that a co-ed NBA is probably a bad idea, just like integrating women into direct ground-combat fighting teams.

Although I am all about equal opportunity, lowering the bar and allowing women to squeak by with the basic minimum fitness requirements is a disservice to all. You're either qualified to do the job, or not. Lowering the standards for political correctness is not just irresponsible, it will, no doubt, prove to be deadly.

Kimberly Garrison is a wellness coach and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia. Her column appears Wednesdays.

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