The US Selective Service System (SSS) requires all male persons between the ages of 18 and 25 to register for the draft. It was founded in 1917, one month after the United States entered World War I, but the process of drafting was used in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War as well.
The last draft was in 1972, and while most Americans see the draft as a relic of the past, it still exists today.
It is a necessary system that ensures our nation has the personnel to defend itself, but the same old requirement that only men must register is still enforced.
This fits the definition of discrimination and reinforces the outdated stereotype that men are the ones who should be put on the front lines of combat, that men are more expendable, that men are more capable of defending a nation.
The draft discriminates against over 100 million Americans who are legally men.
These are men of all creeds, colors, religions, sexual orientations, races and ethnicities.
While much of history has proven that men have lived easier lives both physiologically and socially, such is not true when it comes to life-and-death situations.
When it comes to survival, women and children boarded the lifeboats of the Titanic before the men could. According to ICYouSee, 75 percent of women survived the sinking and only 19 percent of men.
This policy put the life of a woman before the life of a man.
Does that make the Titanic’s policymakers sexist bigots, or are we going to simply say that things were different back then, that it was a man’s duty, that it was justified? Is it still a man’s duty to this day?
When it comes to combat, serving on the front lines with bullets blasting and bombs booming was a brutal and fatal reality for young men throughout history.
Women were typically spared from frontline gore and chaos. While there are specific examples in history where women fought on the front lines as well, such as Soviet women on the Eastern Front of WWII, they are an exception to the majority of conflicts.
Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front explores the tragic reality of war for young men in Europe during WWI. They endured endless pain, blood, sweat and tears.
Young men fresh out of high school with insufficient military training were thrown into No Man’s Land to fight while women got to contribute in other, less deadly and violent ways, such as working in factories, making clothes, caring for children at home and serving as nurses behind the jagged edges of the front line.
Historically, when it comes to war, women have been spared where men have been slaughtered.
But this is the year 2021. There’s no world war or sinking ship without enough lifeboats. Progress has been made to achieve gender equality since the first women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls in 1848. Women can vote, join the military, divorce, and drive (but there are numerous nations that feel women do not deserve such rights).
At least here in the United States, women enjoy most of the rights men enjoy. But then we come back to the issue of the SSS, which still only requires men to register.
There’s an easy solution to this problem. Make all able-bodied American adults register for the draft.
This is also the perfect answer to the question of people in the LGBTQIA+ community.
Those who are transgender must register, regardless of their sexual identity. This avoids a complicated, politically messy and controversial situation.
Requiring all able-bodied American adults to register is the very definition of equality, and those who don’t believe that to be so should take a closer look at what they are fighting for.
Equality aims to get rid of privileges based on one’s physical appearance or gender. Should we fight for this equality? Or should we accept the reality of the sexist Selective Service System?
We can either accept what equality stands for or we can regress back into accepting the stereotypical gender norms of the past.
It’s up to the younger generations to determine if equality is something we still see as worth fighting for.
Perhaps it’s not a core American value anymore.
Perhaps equality is too unfair.