Tuesday, June 20, 2006

back, jezebels, the indian army don't want you!

This morning, I found it in my heart to blog about the salient fact that of the cell-phone-using, English-speaking, largely urban audience of an Indian television channel, fifty-six percent of the population that can be bothered to vote on these issues believe that women are not, and I quote this word, needed in the Indian Army.

So what's up with these people? Has their opinion prevailed against the public mood because of liberal laziness? Could it actually be that more than half the apparently elitist/radical/feminist or, well, more feminist-than-thou-at-least population of the nation thinks that women = pussies? Were all the ladies with powah not watching this show - making dinner, I don't doubt? Or is it just proof that only a majority of the most grievously stupid of all world populations engages with television news?

I doubt they were all pondering the problem of combatants required to remain in peak fitness every day of their lives, and the possibility of woman combatants failing daily health exams at least once or twice every month thanks to the energy-sapping power of menstruation is significantly high. Maybe it was the simple fear that if we let women drop the ladle and run off to war then we'll have no one to make the bread and babies. I know for a fact that at least one person came up with a reason to the effect that the country would never win a war with women fighters because women are too 'administration-oriented'. This has significant precedent in the Indian armed forces, where women have never been allowed in combat positions, of course. Plus, jocks hate geeks foreva.

A compelling argument, all in all, chaps, and one with a satisfying overarching argument, viz. this. The little women shouldn't be in a demned unpleasant, patriarchy-bitten spot like the military anyway. If the patriarchy had its way, preferably with some alternate power supply, they wouldn't be anywhere.


  1. Anonymouse3:14 pm

    Should women be needed? NO
    Should they have the option of joining? YES.

    In a civilised world, we wouldn't need armies. If we are going to have them, they might as well be equal opportunity ones.

  2. Dev, your genius for summarization makes my heart sing with joy. :)

  3. women = pussies, in a manner of speaking, one might say. apologies if i've offended anyone.

  4. um.. the question's not quite "should women be needed?". it's more "are women needed?". the results clearly suggest women are unwelcome.

  5. i have a scarier possibility- that our sistahs in the kitchen don't believe that theirs is but to do and die- for the nation. theirs is to breed and bread for men.
    i think so many women have been taught this, its in the system, that even if they were stronger and hardier than the men they knew they wouldn't think of occupying position of power- be they in the public or private spheres.
    patriarchy is upheld by both men and women.

  6. The problem is that men seem uncomfortable with the idea of working with women in the army. The solution? Not to deal with it and get used to the idea of women as useful, capable beings, but simply to ...keep women out of the army.

    Anonymouse's comment is a good comment. I agree with your anonymouse!

  7. Are they needed? Hell, guns are not needed in the Indian Army. We could use bows and arrows. We'd just be less effective.

    Anyway, I partially disagree with anonymouse. Serving with the military is not a right. Nobody should have the option of joining, unless expected to make the armed forces more effective.

    Do women make armies more effective? From the limited data available, it would appear so. So yes, women should be recruited -- not because it's anyone's right, but because it makes sense from a utilitarian perspective.

    It should be noted that being in the military and being in a combat role are two different things. Gender is quite irrelevant for a great many jobs in the Army. The question should have been, "should women be placed in combat roles?".

  8. @ unratiosenatic: well, yes. there were a whole bunch of things wrong with the framing of the argument at the very outset, but I think the bottomline women = pussies - yes, in every sense of the word - was wot was generally considered in need of reinforcement.

    @ flea: oh, yes. absolutely patriarchy is upheld by both men and women. and again, given the general unecessary, distasteful, dishonest nature of warfare, it may even be true that anyone who's not allowed to sign up for the forces is actually in a Good Place. except, you know, that doesn't happen to be the point.

    @ aishwarya: yeah, let those women pilots fly a desk!

    (and the anonymouse is devdas. he reads a lot of SCI-FI but is otherwise a sensible person. mouse, meet aishwarya, aishwarya meet mouse.)

    @ nath: i'm sorry, i don't think anyone meant to make the impression that the armed forces were to lower their standards in any way just so that women could gain entry. anonymouse's comment was about equal opportunity, not - in the most iffy sense of the term - affirmative action.

    serving with the military is a right: it's just one you have to earn with talent and hard work, which no one should then be able to take away from you on the basis of religion, sex, caste and all those unconstitutional things.

  9. Anonymouse12:55 pm

    your anonymouse?

    I am not a pointing device!

    Of course you don't need guns. Throwing rocks is far more effective. adjusts orbital anvil position.

    Oh, and on a possibly relevant note


  10. Hello, Devdas. And yes, "your anonymouse". Supriya owns us all.

  11. "i'm sorry, i don't think anyone meant to make the impression that the armed forces were to lower their standards in any way just so that women could gain entry."

    I'm not aware of any army that doesn't have lower entry standards for women. Data for the Indian army is hard to come by, but you can look at the UK and US for examples.

    As for military service being a right, I'm afraid we simply disagree here. I don't think it's enough to be talented and hardworking; it's also important that your presence, on the whole, makes the armed forces more effective. I mean this in general, not specifically in the context of women in the military.

  12. in some places joining the army is a 'right', and in others it's more a responsibility. i like to think the later describes things like peacekeeping and disaster relief that the army does which everyone, even the most most girly of us, is NEEDED for.

    anyway, hello i'm dot. just thought i'd jump in and say something!