I usually wake up on Friday morning with thoughts of what sort of fashion-related knowledge I can bring to the world. Today, I didn’t have to think too far. Around 7:15 am, my head perked up during my favorite A.M. broadcast (The Today Show, obviously) where I learned that the Obama administration declared its official support for mandating female entry into the Selective Service at age 18. My initial reaction was to think about how good I’d look in full-on camouflage…
What? Is a real, live draft happening? I thought we didn’t do this anymore, besides for incredibly handsome, talented athletic young men who get showered with branded sports apparel when they’re picked up by a big league team. Or the Hunger Games I guess(?)
But nope, Selective Service is a real thing, and as always, it’s been for the boys. Below you’ll find the official website for the U.S. Selective Service System, which clearly states in its hero spot “REGISTER. It’s What a Man’s Got to Do.” And well back in the day I suppose this was true. We were taught for decades during our primary and secondary education that men traditionally went to war while women stayed home with the kids, cooked hot meals, knitted clothes and held down the fort while their spouses were whisked off to war.
As you can imagine, this wasn’t an ideal situation for anyone, and is yet another historical norm that has created some of the boundaries we still see between women and men today. Women were able to learn new trades and launch careers to support the economy and provide for their families, but in some ways it probably didn’t feel good to hear that “it’s only a man’s job.”
So, with all the setbacks we’ve felt like 2016 has hit us with, perhaps this one last push from the Obama administration to keep equality in the conversation and create more opportunities for women to hold jobs in the military –even the highest ranking, most arduous positions out there that have previously been off limits.
FYI, Selective Service doesn’t mean we have a real live draft in the U.S. since as of right now, it’s still an all-volunteer military effort. This new proposal would just require women to become a part of it. In the event of the need for a draft, we would have one (where men and in this case, women, ages 18-26 would be called in a sequence determined by random lottery number and year of birth).
But of course, today, there would be many ways to serve in the military during a national crisis where we’re called to war. The opposers of this law are against women having to serve in any actual combat, which could still be avoided.
*Pop Quiz: When was the last time the U.S. used a military draft?
A) The Civil War, 1861
B) Vietnam War, 1973
C) The War of 1812
D) The Iraqui War, 2003
As a woman, I gotta be honest that I’m kind of feeling the girl power move here, after you consider the shock and horror of the wars in our past and the total curveball it throws at our country. It makes me want to read back through our history books and try, through words, to immerse myself in the culture of those times –the fear, the uncertainty, the need for a strong morale through the overall goal to protect and survive, knowing if you were on the line defending, you wouldn’t be guaranteed to make it out alive. Sometimes it’s hard to believe these feelings are felt every day, all over the world.
In the all-volunteer model, it would give women access to some of those military jobs we couldn’t previously have been considered for, and we’re also now being handed the trust to stand up with the guys and fight for our country if we ever absolutely had to. It is an honor, after all.
*Answer: B., Vietnam War, 1973