• Thu, Apr 29 2010

Navy Women Now Allowed On Submarines

Sometimes the holdouts that endure surprise even me. After a forever-standing ban on navy women serving on submarines, the Defense Department announced that they would life the ban in February. The time for Congress to object ended yesterday, so it looks like co-ed submarines are a go!

But here’s the most interesting part. According to BBC News, while women have been allowed to serve in the navy for some time now, the submarine ban stayed intact because “The cramped conditions had previously precluded women…”

Really? The cramped conditions? What is this, a New York City subway car? Sailors would be all packed up in there, and somehow a male sailor would be reaching behind him to grab the female sailor’s ass? Or another pervy sailor would take out his cell phone and try to film an upskirt video? I mean, WTF? Is that really who we have patrolling our borders underseas, or whatever the fuck they do in submarines? People who literally can’t be in too close proximity to women, lest they lose their fucking minds, manners and respect for their colleagues? Or is it because the prim ladies of the navy might feel as though they can’t keep their modesty intact, lest a man catch a glimpse of them changing clothes? This is just outright depressing.

But I supposed it shouldn’t be, should it? The “men can’t control themselves” line is, after all, used as an excuse in just about every country for every reason all over the world. I do believe that’s why they have…oh, what do you call them…burquas? And before you get your panties all up in a wad, I’m not suggested that not allowing women on submarines is the same as forcing women to wear burquas (and yes, I know that some aren’t forced). But it does seem to be the same train of thought, doesn’t it? And a train of thought is often not easily derailed. And is that not part of the reason for the persistence (hopefully to soon be ended) of “don’t ask, don’t tell”? Because straight folk (presumably, mostly straight men) simply wouldn’t be able to control their rage (and indeed, in some cases haven’t controlled their rage) around anyone that they knew was gay?

Listen. I think it’s high, high, highhighhighhigh and beyond time that that excuse became moot. If you’re a dude in the navy or army, you should be offended. Your superiors are suggesting some pretty unkind things about you. And if you’re one of the people about whom this lack of control is true, then as far as I’m concerned, you’re the one who shouldn’t be allowed to serve. You’re certainly the one who shouldn’t be given a gun, or any other form of weaponry. And you’re most certainaly not the person that represents me, or the country I grew up in.

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  • David Pardoe

    I have served on submarines, so it makes me laugh when someone who doesn’t have a clue about life on a sub thinks they know it all!

  • Micky mouse

    Doesn’t seem like author stopped to think what life is like in a submarine. Rather just be offended that woman just weren’t “equal” to men in that aspect. And of course, a woman wrote it.

    First article that came out when searching Submarines on google. FAIL.

  • Yourmind

    It is sad that this was the first article that came up on google when I searched for submarines. This author does not have a clue on how it is on submarines. This is nonsense

  • Steven

    Ha! That picture is of a Russian sub! FAIL

  • R.

    What it really comes down to is that there really is a very big space issue on submarines. It’s not that any bad things should be intended towards anyone in this environment, it is just that many things are to consider. First off, in these environments, it is inevitable that people will brush up against each other, and not a single male wants to have the “he just touched me sexually” card raised up against him. Secondly, while the first groups of women aboard submarines are bound to be very professional, there are always going to be a few of the unprofessional dorks that make their way into the fleet eventually (the same goes for men). There will inevitably be the woman that gets pregnant the night before leaving, only to have to leave her team behind halfway through a deployment. There goes a vital crew member, and the mission was just compromised. Things like this can really get in the way of a successful mission – which is the point. Then there is the male end of the spectrum: there will always be that one jackass who would assault a woman on the boat, and nothing could really be done about the incident until the boat can surface, which could be months of ruined crew morale. Further, simple things like supplies, paperwork, watchbills, medical support, and more just got a whole lot more complicated; and submarines are already complicated enough as it is! Also, if anything as simple as a man walking into the bathroom while a woman is in there happens, the entire situation could be awkward for both parties for the duration of the deployment. There is no “going home and leaving drama at work.” This isn’t about “holding women back” or anything like that. Submarines are just not the most friendly, co-ed environment and to design them that way compromises their functionality and puts undue financial burden on the Navy. Is it really the best to spend the Navy’s money on refitting and redesigning the entire submarine fleet to accommodate women when there will only be a small fraction of female submariners to begin with? An SAIC study mentions that “Introducing women into submarines is less a question of whether they can do the day-to-day work than it is a question of whether the added complications of a mixed gender crew will undermine the operational effectiveness of the ship. Therefore, the focus should not be on women, per se, but on the ramifications of having mixed-gender crews in the unique submarine environment… The need to keep submarines fully manned, coupled with the need to have enough people of the right gender to match with available living accommodations, would impose a burden not only on the ship but on those who would have to recruit, train, assign, retain and ensure equal career opportunities for both male and female personnel.” And one final thought: what on earth would make a woman want to work in a horribly cramped, chemically dangerous steel can full of nasty, sweaty, men? It seems like it’s only because the option isn’t allowed that it’s demanded. /end rant

  • Chem Eng student

    I’ve just spent several months considering what the waste system would be like for a mixed submarine – and in all my research one things stands out: each bed on a submarine has 3 people sleeping in it (on rotation through a day)… now imagine women having their period having to share a bed with each other over that time, and the added burden of sheet washing because of that…

    Quite frankly, submarines don’t have enough space for what they have in them already, let alone adding in another set of toilets and all the rest of the baggage that mixed-sex crews would generate.

    The question of ‘equality’ on submarines has been moot for several years now, because it all comes down to a question on space – and unless a submarine was crewed solely by women it’s just not feasible.