Gender Norming

Topics: Female, Male, Gender Pages: 3 (1003 words) Published: May 12, 2005
Gender Norming (Final)
Matt Amos
What exactly is a standard? According to Webster's dictionary, a standard is a level of quality or excellence that is accepted as the norm or by which actual attainments are judged. Standards are created because someone believes that a fair and efficient form of doing something is necessary. The military is full of these standards. One of the most widely known is the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). It tests the maximum amount of push-ups and sit-ups a person can do in two minutes. Along with completing a two-mile run in the allotted time prescribed. The APFT is different from any other standardized test I have ever seen. It is painfully obvious that the test is severely skewed in the females favor.

About fifteen years ago, "a group of sports medicine experts in the Army decided that the standards for the females in the APFT were not fair" ( They believe that overall some parts of the body were weaker on females than in males, and that a new test could help females be equals in the military. This is despite the fact the women had been doing the APFT for years with out a problem, and no complaints were ever filed. Never the less, a physical fitness board was created in order to research a fairer standard. After several years of research, the board eventually came up with what is now the current APFT. They created a process called gender norming. Their hope was that this would set the bar for all other gender-integrated programs in the military. However, all the program succeeded in doing was creating weaker females and a bitter male population in the Army.

The way gender norming works is more of a theory than a proven fact. The idea is that by taking a handful of case studies done in a laboratory we can figure out every female's physical fitness level. There is only one problem with that idea. Every human being in the world has different genetics. Meaning not every...
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