Culture

Feminism In Practice: Pregnant Women Prepped For Combat

By Elizabeth Condra··  6 min read
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Feminism In Practice: Pregnant Women Prepped For Combat

President Biden addressed International Women’s Day in the most advantageous way possible—by giving remarks on updates for female members of the U.S. Armed Forces. These updates didn’t just include new acceptable hairstyles for servicewomen. They also included updated combat flight suits...for pregnant women.

Naturally, both sides of the political aisle had a lot of thoughts about his remarks, and as you can probably deduce, they differed greatly. As Daily Wire contributor Matt Walsh surmised, “For [the Biden administration] America’s greatest adversary isn’t China or any other world power, but intolerance. And the best way to defeat intolerance is through the promotion of diversity and inclusion.” 

At the risk of trivializing the issue, there’s a lot to unpack here. But it’s a brave new world as far as this administration is concerned and, as most of us know, that’s not necessarily a good thing. 

Actual Feminism at Work

Feminists and their allies can rejoice: this is what their practice looks like in action. 

If the rallying cry of feminism is equality above all else, here it is. Never mind that pregnant women in any other capacity are usually awarded special exemptions or considerations given the fact that they’re, you know, carrying a child. 

We view the issue of gender as a power imbalance, which seems misguided most of the time. Why is our discussion constantly revolving around equality and hierarchical narratives when it should be centered around employing the strengths and weaknesses of both, qualities which naturally serve to complement each other? These qualities aren’t better or worse than the other. They’re just different, and that’s what we’re still struggling to bring to our discourse.

This is what total equality and gender blindness in practice looks like: pregnant women in combat.

Let’s be clear: this is not centered around knocking female service members. We owe more to them than we’ll ever truly appreciate, and without them we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the freedoms, liberties, and opportunities that we’ve been afforded.

But where did this narrative come from in the first place, that pregnancy is a condition or a symptom like any other? As any mother or pregnant woman will tell you, it isn’t. It’s one of the most unique and profound experiences we as women can go through, one which grows families, influences our communities, shapes our livelihoods and our futures. Yet the agenda now seems to be that those reasons aren’t enough to make us pause when it comes to expectant women in combat.

What Pregnant Service Members Experience

And it isn’t just concerned civilians who question these implications. Pregnant women in the military face their own stigma around their growing families as well. Jeanette Haynie, a Marine who flew Cobra helicopters, saw the attitude firsthand when she became pregnant and her fellow squadron pilots largely viewed her pregnancy as a way to avoid deployment on missions, a collective view towards pregnant servicewomen that’s more common throughout the military than not. 

Her fellow pilots largely viewed her pregnancy as a way to avoid deployment on missions.

Another veteran observed during her time in the Navy that more men took medical or other leave for all kinds of reasons — including injured knees, motorcycle accidents, driving under the influence, and divorces — while their pregnant counterparts stayed and reported for duty. 

Meanwhile, military higher-ups and even elected officials urge female service members not to get pregnant for fear of “jeopardizing” their deployment. An Air Force reservist noted that pregnancy in the military is viewed “as a short term inconvenience instead of an opportunity for long term retention.” 

A Distraction from the Actual Issue

If you’re looking for genuine criticism or in-depth analysis on Biden’s remarks, you won’t find any. All that’s dominating the coverage so far is Tucker Carlson.

The conservative pundit, as you can probably guess, completely blasted the president’s address in a heated take on his show, which even the Pentagon didn’t take lying down, saying it was not “an accurate reflection of our values.”

Carlson’s critique was targeted for “causing drama” and even labeled ”transphobic,” but his hard-hitting points didn’t actually get to the heart of the issue. While addressing maternity flight suits, he called them a “mockery of the U.S. military” and said the decision was evidence of the Pentagon being “out of control.” But he completely neglected to mention the victims at the heart of this policy and the ones who will be affected by it: the pregnant women in question who will wear these uniforms and serve our country as they do so. 

Manufactured outrage is enough to distract us from the actual issue at hand.

Master Gunnery Sergeant Scott Stalker, a leading official in U.S. Cyber Command went toe-to-toe with Carlson’s points, saying the decision was made with the input of medical professionals and adding, “We value our families in the military.” But according to Jeanette Haynie’s experience and those of her fellow servicewomen, that isn’t exactly true, is it?

Constant, generated outrage in reaction to Tucker Carlson (whose viewpoints should come as no surprise, given they’re what he does for a living) is all we’ll see, not the input of servicewomen or concerns addressed directly to Biden because, as we know by now, manufactured outrage is enough to distract us from the actual issue at hand.

Is This What Inclusivity Looks Like?

Pregnant women in the Armed Forces aren’t making a mockery of our military. What is truly unforgivable and even inconceivable is that women who aren’t even permitted to ride roller coasters because of their condition are now being pushed towards combat. (But again, medical professionals were consulted, so it’s "fine.") 

Women who aren’t even permitted to ride roller coasters are now being pushed towards combat.

Pregnancy is treated as a cavalier thing now because that’s the way we view it. In a culture where everything is disposable — even unwanted pregnancies and biology — why wouldn’t we? If you want it, fine, but it’s no big deal if you don’t. What’s worse is that respect for this or even observance of it is often repudiated and seen as sexist or misogynistic. 

This is what peak equality and inclusion look like, in case you were wondering. When there are no boundaries or lines or biological distinctions between men and women, there’s no perceived oppression or inequality. That means minimizing, at all costs, the most incredible thing a woman can experience in her lifetime, even if it means looking at it as a mere inconvenience. 

Closing Thoughts 

Despite what the U.S. military may think, pregnancy is in fact a big deal and centuries of biological and anthropological attitudes and norms agree with that most basic assessment.

President Biden’s goal may be inclusion or diversity, but he implements such policies at the risk of the erasure of our natural capabilities and the minimization of our inherent biology.

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  Women's Rights  Feminism
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