Skip to comments.Female Marine Pullup Failure Doesnít Mean Women Arenít Strong
Posted on 01/04/2014 2:41:29 PM PST by nickcarraway
More than half of female Marines in boot camp can't do three pullups, the minimum standard that was supposed to take effect with the new year, prompting the Marine Corps to delay the requirement, part of the process of equalizing physical standards to integrate women into combat jobs.
The delay rekindled sharp debate in the military on the question of whether women have the physical strength for some military jobs, as service branches move toward opening thousands of combat roles to them in 2016. Beginning this week, all female Marines were supposed to be able to do at least three pullups on their annual physical fitness test and eight for a perfect score. Men have the same minimum requirement but need 20 for a perfect score. The previous minimum standard for women was a timed flexed-arm hang. The new requirement was tested on female recruits at Parris Island last year but only 45 percent of women could do even three.
Now, some might say that this proves women arent strong. Hogwash. Women are very strong. To give just one important example, more than 100 million women give birth each and every year. It is an impressive feat of strength. Women also nurse their babies, which is fraught with problems ranging from mastitis to thrush. Women display physical strength in many ways, from athletic prowess to working jobs requiring them to be on their feet all day.
And it doesnt prove that men are physically superior in every way. To given just one unimportant example, some large percentage of men have such a hard time dealing with the common cold that fantastic comedy sketches are written about it. (For Gods sake, woman, hes a man, hes got a man cold!)
But to state the obvious, by which I mean Im about to say something extremely controversial, the average female is not as strong in the upper-body region as the average man. (Again: Please dont demand I be written out of polite society for noting this truth that was universally acknowledged until roughly 15 minutes ago.) Even at my Crossfit gym, which is full of freakishly strong humans of both sexes, the men routinely outperform the women. And one of the things I love about my gym is that everyone is simply encouraged to do their work to the best of their ability.
So the problem with the fact that most female Marine recruits arent meeting even the minimum requirement for upper-body strength isnt that women arent strong. In fact, the problem is not even that men and women have different physical strengths.
The problem is that we are all supposed to pretend that men and women are identical. It doesnt help men, women, children or the institutions they inhabit to pretend natural differences dont exist. And here, its actually dangerous. We may have forgotten in our rush to drone warfare what actual combat entails. Its grueling and requires tremendous physical and mental strength and discipline.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos wants training officials to continue to gather data and ensure that female Marines are provided with the best opportunity to succeed, according to a statement from the Marines. The Associated Press then goes on to characterize the truth that pullups require the muscular strength necessary to perform common military tasks such as scaling a wall, climbing up a rope or lifting and carrying heavy munitions simply as a belief held by the Marine Corps. I wonder where they got that crazy idea. I mean, I cant scale a wall or climb a rope but Ive noticed that everyone at my gym who can do these things can also do a pullup. Or 20 pullups. One can read these statements and the backtracking on pullup requirements as a precursor to watering down the skills required to be effective in a Marine combat situation. The story states that if the military decides to keep some positions closed to women, they must explain why.
Success for women should not mean being viewed, contrary to reality, as interchangeable with men in all things. Men and women are both strong but strong in very different ways, both of which contribute mightily to human flourishing.
No no no no no no no....
And going swimming doesn’t mean you are going to get wet.
I don’t think anyone ever said women are not “strong.” I am sure most, if not all, men could not stand the pain of childbirth (although many women are foregoing that these days — who knows what the long-term implications of THAT are).
BUT women are not strong WHERE IT COUNTS when on the battlefield.
Leaving her buddy to die (or dying with him/her) because of PC is a pretty awful ending.
America demands Justice for the Fallen of Benghazi!
Ya, they beat up men all the time on TV....
And cold weather means the planet is warming up.
It’s gravity’s fault.
This author confuses tough with strength.
If at 200 lb person is upstairs overcome with smoke in a house fire, we should all hope a woman fireperson arrives on scene to carry them out...
Pull! Pull, Pyle, Pull! One Pull Up, Pyle!
When it comes specifically to doing pull-ups, yes. Yes it does.
But it does prove they can't do a pull up.
This is really pretty stupid.
Boy, did I read that wrong. This piece doesn't make any statement. She, like most pundits today, equivocates her topic to the point the piece is pointless.
Gee, she’s comparing apples and oranges. Childbirth has nothing to do with battlefield survival.
So the new standard of strength is giving birth and nursing someone?
A person (male or female) who cannot pull his or her own weight up is W-E-A-K!
I almost puked when I read the part about women being strong because many are on their feet all day. Marines have to be on their feet all day where all day may literally be all 24 hours of a day and part of the next standing while marching and fighting. Strength tests for Marines must be based on strength required in combat.
Frankly, women should stick to giving birth and nursing babies.
I think woman should be allowed to compete in male professional boxing matches...
Why aren’t women allowed in the NFL??
They’d do so well...
Semper Fi, Brother. Been wanting to say that for a while.
The article is quite comical. Apparently the author thinks dealing with pain makes one strong. All this time I’ve been using intelligent programming in the gym with progressive overload. From now on, I’ll just bash my shins and junk, then call it a day.
“Childbirth has nothing to do with battlefield survival.”
I know, that was such a stupid thing to say. OK, so no men can be birth mothers....but we knew that!
And the breastfeeding? It may need some physical stamina (I gave it up PDQ, my child was not getting enough nourishment and I hated it) but “strength” no.
Did any of you people READ the article past the second paragraph?
She’s on our side, for pete’s sake. She’s saying that men and women are different, and are physically strong in different ways.
The money quote, for those of you who can’t be bothered to read past the headline:
“The Associated Press then goes on to characterize the truth that pullups require the muscular strength necessary to perform common military tasks such as scaling a wall, climbing up a rope or lifting and carrying heavy munitions simply as a belief held by the Marine Corps. I wonder where they got that crazy idea. I mean, I cant scale a wall or climb a rope but Ive noticed that everyone at my gym who can do these things can also do a pullup. Or 20 pullups.”
If they put her in the ring with a male pro boxer/fighter/MMA, she’d be killed....
Of course, then they’d really wanna ban the sport as it would make them all liars and idiots.
The AP nailed it—In modern warfare, fought from computer terminals, it’s ridiculous to assume that Marines will ever have to scale walls, climb ropes, or lift and carry heavy munitions.
It’s all a misogynistic plot.
This is just silly. Even if a woman could do three pullups, that doesn’t make her strong. Three pullups is nothing for a fit man. A man who can only do three pullups is weak.
The average Marine combat load is 70+ pounds of body armor, weapons, ammo and other gear. There are virtually no women who can carry that weight and then perform to even minimal combat standards. If there are more than a handful in the Corps who could do so without quickly sustaining serious injury, let alone do so while picking up and carrying a wounded soldier any amount of distance, I’d be shocked.
Let’s just make all female Marines Generals when the take the Oath before they even begin Basic Training. Problem solved.
No, it just means that in combat they aren’t near as good as men.
Cindy grab Jim...Can't...too heavy.
Never mind Cindy. I'll carry Jim and Joe and the ammo. Just grab the coffee pot...
Look, we see woman on TV and in the movies throwing men twice their size around like rag dolls...
We’ve learned from Hollywood, most men are bed wetting fat wimps with IQ’s of dumb puppies...
So there ya have it.
Just imagine the war applications there!
I'm not getting anything.
Right. That was her point.
I LOVE women. I am a heterosexual 66 year old man.
I am glad I am a man.
I would hate to go through a monthly menstruation cycle, with accompanying cramps and bleeding. I wouldn't want to share a tent or foxhole with one that is going through that.
When a man and a woman have that first time "in the sack", it is the woman that experiences pain and discomfort, and we men can just lay back and think how great it was. I wouldn't want the temptation around me on the battlefield.
I doubt I could withstand the pain of childbirth. I don't like to stub my toe. I don't want my battlefield partner getting pregnant so she can go home.
I fathered four children, but the mom is the "go to" when our children have a problem and need a little nurturing. We dads are supposed to be the disciplinarians, and feared (I realize that is not a universal truth).
I would never want to rely on a woman on the battlefield. I am 5'10" and at my prime was around 165 lbs. A 110-120lb. woman could likely not remove my body, whether I am dead or alive.
I love women. My wife is now also my business partner. She can do things I can't do, and has many useful skills. BUT, she always calls on me for lifting the heavy stuff!
She shares your point of view.
She has since changed her public tune on that one. I think the UFC told her to knock it off. She wound up saying that it would look bad for a guy to be pummeling a woman...I agree.
I suspect you don’t realize she’s agreeing with you.
I was wondering if I had read a different article than the other posters. lol
Google “youtube Marine M777 fire for effect” and watch those Marines put ten rounds down range in slightly over 2 minutes and tell me upper body strength doesn’t count. Watch any arty fire for effect. Watch any real life video of Marines dragging wounded and tell me strength doesn’t count.
Tankers were always the biggest guys in the regiment, not because they could carry their work out equipment on the tank, but because they had some heavy, heavy work to do.
An army general recently said that the days of Rambo are over. My dying butt. Watch these guys kicking in doors, hauling ammo, humping heavy loads. IT MATTERS!
I will never forget how much that stuff kicked my butt. Never lessen the standards, if anything, make them tougher.
You are quite correct! It’s actually a great article and I agree with her entirely. I live near Camp Lejeune MCB and I know from the local news stories that three women did actually successfully graduate from the infantry program. They obviously made it through boot camp since they are stationed aboard Camp Lejeune.
Methinks Mollie Hemingway doesn't quite grasp that the definition of "strong" depends on context.
Her dishonesty in conflating the many definitions, and tapdancing around or (ignoring) the specific "strength" being addressed, made her entire opinion rather useless.
Yes, I admit that in tests of physical strength requiring "work" in the physics sense, there are many women stronger than I but that does not make rendering a physical strength standard useless in certain professions and applications because it's not politically correct.
The woman must be a nutbar, or is an attention whore...If she ever climbed into an MMA ring with a pro male fighter, they’d be calling the coroner to remove her body..
Yow, we've got some irony-challenged people here.
Until 100% of all wars can be fought on computer terminals, that is a profoundly stupid statement.
Google Jessica Lynch.