Posted: Nov 19, 2014 9:35 am
by TMB
Sendraks wrote:

tolman wrote:Isn't the whole point of feminism (in the sense of egalitarianism) that women (or people in general) shouldn't be assessed as members of a group but as individuals?

Yes I agree and that is consistent with what I recognise (from a policy professional perspective) equality policy to be about.

The difficulty with an ideal like this is the measurement. How do you assess and individual except against a standard based upon a group. In this case, the standard is based upon only passing the elite, and setting the standard so you get enough people, but not too many. The standards ae based upon the assessment of men and/or women to meet a specific quantity and to get the best. So they don't insist the candidates can fly or do magic, they are assessed on what is known to be possible but so difficult that very few will pass. In this case the standard is so high no women pass, just as the qualifying times for Olympic men's event are set to get just enough men, and at that standard it would eliminate all women. So they set a woman's standard, and each individual must be assesses against the group standard.

Sendraks wrote:
tolman wrote:As far as discrimination at the level of selection for a role is concerned, it shouldn't matter to feminists whether women are not equal in numbers with men in a particular role if selection criteria are fairly applied and are not specifically chosen to unreasonably exclude women.

Again I agree. I don't believe the article gives the impression that anyone thinks the IFC criteria unreasonably exclude woman. The issue being raised that woman are not trained, through the earlier military careers, in such a way that would build the necessary physical fitness to pass the bar set for entry the IFC. Of course we've no way of knowing that is true until such time as a suitable sample size of women have gone through whatever the necessary levels of training are in there earlier careers, to see whether they can pass the bar or not.

Or the standards have been set in the same way as they are for men, to limit how many women make the grade. The author contradicts herself by saying that she was not given the chance to train with men, implying that by training with women, she is not being pushed as hard. This is true, however there are many examples where quantitatively women still cannot achieve the same levels. There is no doubt increased competition can lift the level, but it also discourages others, especially when they get consistently beaten, and need to return to their own group to be a winner. For women it is possible to get an advantage by training with men, and competing with women. This is a common practice for elite women in many sports as it offers competition not always provided by the women they compete with.

A more likely scenario is that the earlier levels for fitness are set based upon eliminating a certain % of female candidates, upping the ante mot male levels might eliminate too many females, or deter them from applying in the first place. By her own admission the author states that she set no limits for herself outside the marines and did pretty much what she could. However she notes that she can do 16 pull ups/chins and other women might do better. A visit to my local gym has males doing in the thirties and they are not marines. Looking at the world records for this event, this is one of the weakest events for women, the difference gets close to 100% for the 12 and 24 hour records. It's also interesting to see that one woman holds most of the records while there is a range of males at different times. It looks like the woman is an exceptional outlier, and probably also that most women don't seek out to excel at something like this because it's not a big status thing, but it's one of the better indicators of upper body strength and that's why they include it.