The President's Statement on the Opening of Combat Units to Women

Via the White House Office of the Press Secretary:
Today, by moving to open more military positions—including ground combat units—to women, our armed forces have taken another historic step toward harnessing the talents and skills of all our citizens. This milestone reflects the courageous and patriotic service of women through more than two centuries of American history and the indispensable role of women in today's military. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice, including more than 150 women who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan—patriots whose sacrifices show that valor knows no gender.

Earlier today I called Secretary of Defense Panetta to express my strong support for this decision, which will strengthen our military, enhance our readiness, and be another step toward fulfilling our nation's founding ideals of fairness and equality. I congratulate our military, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for the rigor that they have brought to this process. As Commander in Chief, I am absolutely confident that—as with the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'—the professionalism of our armed forces will ensure a smooth transition and keep our military the very best in the world.

Today, every American can be proud that our military will grow even stronger with our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters playing a greater role in protecting this country we love.
Patriots whose sacrifices show that valor knows no gender. Beautiful.

It's almost a perfect statement—except, once again, the construction in which women are defined exclusively by their familial relationships: Our mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters.

Here's how it should go: "...proud that our military will grow even stronger with the women who are playing an ever greater role in protecting the country we all love." That not only avoids the appearance of speaking to men about women and avoids defining women by their familial relationships, but has the added benefit of making sure the statement includes all the women who are serving, some of whom may not be mothers, nor wives, nor sisters, nor daughters.

Seriously, that shit has got to go, Mr. President.

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