(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
Last month, the Department of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff announced women soldiers would be allowed to be placed in combat situations, a somewhat controversial change in policy. I'm not sure how this will play in Poughkeepsie or just about anywhere else. I do not doubt the tenacity and determination of women soldiers, but their use in the infantry isn't exactly being greeted with a lot of enthusiasm. This is another area where people are trying to press the envelope, perhaps for the wrong reasons, namely sexual equality.
Hollywood may be following suit. There is now talk about merging the best "actor" and "actress" categories into a single gender neutral grouping. Some people welcome this merger, others see it as a threat to women, such as Sally Field who recently claimed such a merger would prove disastrous to recognizing women. Personally, I'm old-school and still make the distinction of "actors" and "actresses." Referring to a woman as an "actor" just seems silly regardless of political correctness.
I'm a little surprised the gender neutral people are not advocating a similar position in sports. After all, if women and men can now face each other on the battlefield, why not the playing fields? The answer is rather obvious, the physical differences between the sexes. I really do not think it would be fair to permit a woman to face the offensive line of the Green Bay Packers, or go one-on-one against the Boston Celtics, or hockey or baseball. I'm certainly not trying to provoke a Bobby Riggs challenge to women in these sports, only to recognize the obvious physical differences. In boxing and wrestling there are "classes" dividing the competition, such as flyweight versus heavyweight, which observes physical differences in order to provide fair competition. I do not see the separation of men and women in athletics as being any different.
There are obviously things women can do better than men. Going back to acting, there are scenes women can portray more convincingly than men, such as sorrow, affection, and concern. Meryl Streep is often recognized for the variety of roles she has played. There have been many others over the years as well, such as Katharine Hepburn, Betty Davis, Myrna Loy, Patricia Neal, and many others, who could do scenes that men couldn't possible hope to replicate. A flash of their eyes alone can speak volumes. Conversely, there are scenes men can do more convincingly than women. So why not celebrate our differences as opposed to merging them into something indiscernible?
Gender neutrality is always a touchy subject. However, this is less about equality among the sexes and more about what is practical and fair. There will always be people though who want to press this issue to the sublime. Frankly, some things should just be left alone.
I wonder how the DOD will react when women soldiers are captured in combat. Do they believe our enemies will observe their human rights? My guess is they will be treated more brutally than men. Maybe this is the type of equality the gender neutral proponents are looking for. You cannot help but wonder if this new policy will hurt or help our effectiveness in combat situations. I guess we are about to find out.
No, I do not believe in an asexual society. We should celebrate our differences as opposed to trying to merge us into one. And, Yes, I will continue to use the word, "actress."
Keep the Faith!
Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.
Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.