Female Marines Shouldn't Have to Be as Fit as the Guys

chin upsIf you have ever met a proud member of the United States Marine Corps, you know better than to call them wussy. And yet a debate over the Corps shelving its plans to stiffen the physical fitness requirements for female Marines is certainly making it sound like there is a line in the sand between "real" Marines and their fluffy counterparts.

So, is it fair for the girls to get off with an easier fitness test than the boys? As long as they can't take the top jobs away from the boys, well, then, yeah.


As long as they can't do every job in the Corps, they shouldn't have to meet the requirements of every job. What's fair is fair, right? It's the limitations of the female body that are at the root of the current Marines set-up. Women cannot apply to every job within the Corps. Although out in the fields overseas, for example, they are not allowed to serve in the infantry.

As a woman, I want to say that girls can do anything. But I'm realistic about the make-up of the body. It isn't misogyny that tells us male muscles are "generally faster and have higher maximum power output than female muscles." It's science.

Science explains why putting the average man and the average woman on the starting line of the same physical fitness test at the same time is tantamount to setting the female up for failure. She may be in top shape, she may be working her butt off. But we can only push our bodies so far.

It's one of the great inequities in life, and yet there it is. We can't "do anything," because our bodies are limited. On the flip side, I should note, so are men. Their muscles don't recover as quickly, and they're faster to fatigue. In fact, if you do a rundown of the female and male forms from head to toe, I'm sure you'll find at least a dozen pros and cons to each.

Heck, I know my barrel-chested mountain of a man contractor father would sometimes kill for my mother's petite stature when he has to work his way into a tiny crawlspace to check out a job. And I'd much prefer my husband's testosterone-powered ability to drop weight. But I digress.

If you're up for a job, you need to be able to meet the requirements. So if the Marines open up every job to every Marine, it will be time to revisit the fitness test. But until then, this seems just about right.

What do you think? Do you agree that women's bodies put the limitations on their output to an extent?


Image via Ian B-M/Flickr

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