Women in CombatWomen serving in combat roles in the military has been a debatable issue for many years. In 2015 a decision was made by the Obama administration to lift any restrictions that prohibit women from entering into any combat roles in the military. Supporters defend the decision by arguing that women are physically equal to their male counterparts and that sexual tension will not be an issue. The supporters also believe that gender integration will be a success. However, critics argue that gender integration will be more complicated than they think. The fact is that there is a physical difference between men and women. Such a difference the military lowers their standards for training and tests for women. “In the United States, one of the main complaints of critics is differing physical standards for men and women. (To get a perfect score on the Army fitness test, a 22-year-old man must do 75 push-ups, 80 sit-ups, and run two miles in 13 minutes. Women soldiers must do 46 push-ups, 80 sit-ups, and run two miles in 15:38.)” (Yeager 2010) Critics use these standards to back up their argument. Women do not meet the same physical standards as men, therefore women should not be put in the same physical danger as men by entering into combat roles.There are many aspects that contribute to what a woman should question and consider in meeting the same standards of men and allowing herself to be put in front-line positions. Meeting the same level of training as men is completely possible for women, but can prove to be much more difficult due to body capabilities and build. With the help of high testosterone levels, men can build muscle and improve physicality, while also maintaining it at a much steadier rate than women. Dr. Richard Casaburi performed a study in which he proved how significant boosts in testosterone can increase physicality. He found that “the men who exercised and received testosterone gained 3 kg during the study, while those who received testosterone but did not exercise gained an average 2 kg. By comparison, the men who received only placebo continued to lose weight whether they exercised or not” (Johnston, 2001). Also, a woman’s build and body type is much different than that of a man. Women tend to weigh less, leaving less room for as much muscle mass. A female who has met her full potential physically would most likely weigh much less than a man at his full potential. Disregarding the disadvantages involved with having to engage in hand-to-hand combat with such a significant weight difference, it is difficult to say that a woman would even be able to carry or move a male of this caliber to safety if he were injured. Elaine Donnelly understood this point, and elaborated on it by saying that gender-normed training standards “contribute to the illusion of a ‘gender-free’ Army” (Donnelly, 2008). In addition to this, there is also the Herculean Theory, which shows how women tend to reach a peak after a certain amount of training; whereas men can continue to become faster and stronger as long as they train. Along with very low testosterone levels, women also have very high estrogen levels. This abundance of estrogen can cause many emotionally-triggered mood swings that may prevent women from always being combat ready. Menstruation is another major downfall in the physicality of females, because it is a week out of every month in which weakness can ensue, and “As many as 90% of women experience unpleasant symptoms before their periods” (Chakraburtty, 2009). These symptoms include fatigue, drowsiness, mood swings, and a number of other issues that may contribute to a lower ability to complete tasks at otherwise high standards. Monthly menstruation can be a problem regardless of its physical impact, because it is simply a difficult thing to take care of while being stationed somewhere on the front-line that may not have easily accessible places or times to handle it. These factors are all natural limitations that may prohibit a woman from fully completing tasks at her highest potential consistently.The presence of women in a military environment may cause sexual tension that otherwise would not be there. If a woman chooses combat on the front-line as her path she should be fully aware and ready to endure awkward situations if they arise. A situation involving a chemical spill on clothing – which results in immediate clothing removal – can transform casual protocol into an uncomfortable and distracting situation if a woman were subjected to it around men. Despite how professionally the individuals involved in an incident like this handle the situation, it is still a cause of distraction or awkwardness between the genders that is completely unnecessary. There have been stories surrounding speculation involving inappropriate behavior in military by young men home from war telling “stories that rarely make headlines: sexual mischief, the pretty specialist who left one day and never came back, the rumors of rape never confirmed” (Vlahos, 2010). The fear of sexual harassment is another building block that adds to differences in actions that would not normally occur. Men and women who are strangers are more likely to act in different ways toward strangers of the opposite sex in work environments because of how easily actions can be misinterpreted. This can create a tense training environment that does not allow all people involved to fully let their guard down and focus on what is essential. It is not hard to see, then, why having women on the frontlines of the military is a bad idea under the current standards and regulations. According to these standards, women are not required to be as physically capable as men, which can put lives in unnecessary danger on the battlefield. In keeping with logic, it would seem plausible that training requirements should be raised in order to ensure that militaristic ground forces are truly elite units in which each soldier is capable of supporting the soldier next to him or her. If training requirements were to be raised, however, and women were forced to meet the same physical standards as men, then the issue of hormonal differences still remains. Women’s monthly cycles can cause a significant detriment to their performance, both in training and on the field of battle. This factor, combined with the introduction of potentially awkward inter-gender situations, constitutes a fundamental problem with maintaining female soldiers on the frontlines of any military conflict. Currently, regulations are insufficient to provide a safe and effective environment for women on the frontlines.