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The First Two Women To Graduate US Army Ranger School Still Can’t Apply For the Regiment


For the first time this year, the US Army opened its Ranger School to women applicants; 381 men and 19 women got approved to undergo the training program, and two women made it to graduation alongside 94 male peers. Unfortunately, it’s not yet clear what awaits these women upon completion of the course; women are not yet permitted to join the 75th Ranger Regiment, an elite special operations force.

Those unfamiliar with the US Army’s long history of gender essentialism may be surprised to learn that even now, the United States government does not allow women to perform most combat roles; it’s possible that the Pentagon may change their position now that women have proven their physical ability.

We’ve all heard that old statistic about how men supposedly can accrue more upper arm strength than women, but any statistical finding by definition doesn’t account for everybody. (What’s more, women tend to be discouraged to lift weights in American culture, given our weird standards for femininity; those expectations and standards might change if everybody were encouraged to lift a bunch.)

Women weren’t given the opportunity before to disprove the Army’s hypothesis that they wouldn’t be able to keep up with the other Rangers. Now, we know the answer: some of them sure can. It’s possible that others can, too. Won’t know until you let ’em try, right? But, please … give them a job after they graduate, or else they’ll have no reason to bother.

(via CNN, image via WTVN)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (