I don’t ask in jest or out of any hidden misogyny. It stems from the public questions regarding women in combat. I look at things in black and white, and I mean this as a legitimate question requiring a legitimate answer.
Headlines like: “Women in the infantry – NO THANKS,” “Why Women Do Not Belong in the U.S. Infantry,” and a long list of others make it appear that women have no place in jobs that men believe that only men can do.
It is hard to come away from the current media trend regarding women in combat without the impression that common sense tells us women and men are not equal – How can you expect a 130 lb. woman to be able to carry a wounded 220 lb. comrade out of the fray?
Can you imagine having things turn to shit, your position is being overrun, you call in air support, throw purple smoke: then you hear some high pitched squeaky voice with a southern Belle twang come over Fox-Mike: “Ah’ see goofy grape… Lavender Unicorn is inbound… Weapons Hot”.
Sure, there are some great children’s stories that depict women doing a man’s job and doing it well. Women like Boudica, Abigail, Joan of Arc, and my favorite childhood story – the Women from the town of Weinsberg.
Weinsberg had my kind of women… I even dated a woman from there when I was in my 20’s. In the 11th century, the town was under siege by a much larger army and, as was Germanic custom, the attacking king offered terms of surrender that would allow the women and children to flee the city and live.
The Women of Weinsberg petitioned the enemy king to allow them to take some of their belongings for the journey. The king agreed that they each be allowed to leave and to take whatever they could carry on their backs. The next morning, when the women marched out the city gate, each one was carrying one of the town men on their backs.
The King’s Generals protested. They wanted to attack and kill the men, but the king had integrity and allowed them to pass un-harassed, saying, “a King does not break his word.” The women of Weinsberg saved their men, fairy tale, or not; it is a cool story of women saving the day.
That is all nice, and the stories are truly inspiring, but they likely are myths – stories made up or embellished to serve a purpose. I am more interested in documentable real-world history, and I’m just not sure about this women in combat stuff.
Maybe I should do some research and find my point before I try to prove it.
How about if I make a list of women who tried to prove they could do a man’s job. The failure rate will surely make a woman’s actual limitations clear and put this nonsense to bed.
The U.S. Military was born on June 4th, 1775. That is where we will start. Surely there are cases of women serving in the Revolutionary War. One can’t think of women at war without considering the likes of Catherine Moore Barry – “Heroine of the Battle of Cowpens” or the young patriot girl, Sybil Ludington, who rode through Putnam and Dutchess Counties warning the militia that Crown Troops were burning Danbury.
Ludington was a mere 16 years old when she made her courageous 40-mile-ride. It required evading British and Loyalists patrols all the way. Young Sybil’s ride makes Paul Revere look like a wimp.
Then there is one of my favorite characters in US history; Nancy Hart. Nancy was known to have a hot temper and “to take no shit” from anyone. She was also Gen. Daniel Morgan’s cousin and close friend – apparently “badass” ran in the Morgan family and didn’t skip the women.
Early in the revolt, Hart showed her metal when six British soldiers in pursuit of a rebel leader ransacked her farm, searching for the Patriot. Hart denied knowing the man, although she had just helped him escape. The Tories didn’t believe her, and for some reason, they shot one of her turkeys, then demanded she cook it and serve it to them.
They stacked their weapons in the corner and demanded something to drink. Nancy Hart complied, and as the soldiers drank wine, Hart sent her daughter to fetch water and secretly alert the militia that Tories were in her home.
Hart then discretely passed the loaded weapons through a space in the wall to her daughter outside. One of the soldiers noticed ½ their weapons were gone and tried to grab the remaining muskets. Hart gave one verbal warning, then shot the soldier dead to make her point. She held off the rest until militiamen arrived.
It was suggested that they shoot the prisoners, but Hart said no, it would be a waste of powder, so she hanged the surviving Tories. In 1912 workmen grading a railroad near the site of the old Hart cabin unearthed a neat row of six skeletons – Evidence of the Patriot Nancy Hart’s handiwork.
During the U.S. Civil war, more than 400 women disguised themselves as men and fought in the Union and Confederate armies. No student of military history is unaware of the Bataan Death March or the atrocities committed on prisoners, but did you know there were over seventy Women Officers Nurses on the Bataan Death March too? They refused evacuation and ended up POWs with the men. The men who survived refer to them as the “Angels of Bataan.”
On the Atlantic side of the war, there were women like Virginia Hall, a one-legged American woman who became one of the most sought people of the war. The Gestapo passed out hundreds of wanted posters displaying a drawing of Mdm. Heckler (the name they knew her by) and the caption, “WANTED – The woman with a limp.” In 1944 she was reinserted into France where, although she was well known and continually on the run, she continued to kick Nazi ass, with her one good leg, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Then there was 1LT Sharon Ann Lane, who was posthumously awarded the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm and the Bronze Star for Heroism. She was KIA in June 1969. You can find her name on panel 23W, line 112 of the Wall.
I did my research, and I think I have a valid answer to the question I posed at the onset of this rant.
What are women good for?
Just about anything they set their minds to.
Written by Gideon D. Asche – Pine Grove, Florida
Feature Photo by Katherine Hanlon
I Won’t Apologize for Being a Woman
by Zorina Jerome
“The author shares her world of pain, loss, love, spirituality, hardships, and victories with the readers through her literary prowess. This book is truly something valuable. It reaches out to every sister, mother, friend, and most of all, to every woman who has fought tooth and nail for her independence and for her sanity.”
~Dominique Campbell for Readers Favorite
Why should women apologize for having alluring curves? It can be said that if a woman embraces all of who she is, which is a journey of living, learning, and understanding, she will love and respect herself, eventually becoming a stronger person. And if by chance, she stumbles and falls victim to a scandal of her own desires all the while remaining true to herself, she will survive. She will be O.K. All because she wouldn’t apologize for being a woman—expressing what she thinks, feels, experience, and even though she may might make bad choices, she will always rise again, stronger, humbler, and wiser. That is living. That is not apologizing for being who you are. That is you.
- Paperback: 78 pages
- Publisher: IWA Publishing Services/IWA Publication, January 20, 2011
- ISBN: 978-1456336561
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
I Don’t Care, But This Notebook Makes it Look as if I Do Journal
“I love the cover of this item. Great quality!” ~ Vicky B