Whenever I hear arguments about how women perform their jobs differently than men, I cringe. Usually it is meant as a compliment, like the idea that because women are supposedly inherently nurturing, consensus seeking, peacemakers, we are better managers or legislators or whatever. Really, what's important is when women who are able and competent get jobs they deserve. No example is more obvious than that of Ft. Hood civilian police Sgt. Kimberly Munley.
Sgt. Munley, who has a long and distinguished career in law enforcement, was on her way to have her car repaired when "she responded to a police radio report of gunfire" at a processing center for soldiers at Ft. Hood who were about to be deployed overseas. She spotted the gunman as she arrived, and according to the New York Times,
bolted from her car, yanked her pistol out and shot at Major Hasan. He turned on her and began to fire. She ran toward him, continuing to fire, and both she and Major Hasan went down with several bullet wounds...
As Blksista at this black sista's page wrote:
Sgt. Kimberly [Munley] is being roundly lauded for her heroism for shooting Major Hasan down and saving the lives of others. But she too is not out of the woods. This young woman, the mother of two, lost so much blood, the medics first thought she would die. Her first words were, “Did anybody die?” It could mean that two things, did she stop the assailant, or did anyone die from the shootings.
She did stop the assailant. And she did stop further carnage.
Of course, for all the great work done by Sgt. Munley, if she were in the military, she would not be allowed in combat. There are many reasons for this (see a great post at Feminist Legal Theory listing all of them), but as Azaria Jagger at Gawker argues, they are stupid:
But if a woman can storm into that place and save all those people, shouldn't she be allowed serve alongside them in a war zone, too? Yeah, sexual tension has a tendency to spook the Army (which is why there are no gays in the military, not even one!) and, oh, it'd be such a drag to deal with girl toilets and tampons in the barracks. But, guys, a chick just saved all your asses. Figure it out, already.
I don't know what Sgt. Munley's political or personal beliefs are, but I am taking it upon myself to classify her as a feminist hero and role model. Not only is she awesome at her job, but she is also a mother of two. See? It is possible to be tough and nurturing; to be a woman and to be able to handle very stressful situations. At The Examiner, Marc Rubin reminds wrote:
As Munley is being honored for her heroism, returning fire after being shot herself, and taking down Nadal Hasan, putting an end to his killing spree, we should remind ourselves that conservatives opposed women becoming police officers, they opposed women in combat roles in the military, they opposed the removing of any institutionalized barriers that separated men and women in terms of opportunity, authority, and ability. And they did it because they said women just werent equipped to do the job. They told us where a woman's place was. Which is not to say a woman shouldnt have her place in the home and raising children or combining it with a career if thats what she wants to do. No one ever said flying to the moon was a bigger accomplishment than raising a child. And it isnt.
This is what feminism is all about: finding ways for each individual to lead fulfilling, satisfying lives. If we can help or even save others while doing it, even better. Under normal circumstances, I would never say this phrse as it is overused to the point of being trite, but seriously, Sgt. Munley, you go woman! Thanks for everything. (And same to all the other women who are serving in the military and in law enforcement positions everywhere.)
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