Demand that Wall Street Journal Issue Apology for Sexist Article

Target: The Wall Street Journal

Goal: Issue apology for sexist article about women in the US military’s Ranger School

Stephen Kilcullen recently authored an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal in which he argued that women should not be allowed to enter the US military’s elite Ranger School. His justification for this opinion is that allowing women into the Ranger School for the purpose of furthering their careers defies the essence of Ranger School culture, one of sacrifice, bravery, and rigor. In his own words, ‘Such politically correct thinking is the ultimate expression of the ‘me’ culture, and it jeopardizes core Ranger ideals.’

Beneath Kilcullen’s concern for military capabilities is the noxious notion that women are selfish and inferior, which promotes a damaging stereotype. Kilcullen assumes that all women aspiring to join the Ranger School are doing so for what he perceives as selfish reasons, because for some reason, women can’t or won’t be motivated by the same self-sacrificing drive as men.

Firstly, this contradicts every quality women are socialized to have. Women are taught throughout their lives to put others first, especially when they have children. If Kilcullen were to go by stereotypes, women would be excellent potential Rangers. However, stereotypes are never absolute. There are selfish men and women, and there are brave, loyal, self-sacrificing men and women. Usually, those that put others first, regardless of gender, do better in the military, which would include Ranger School should women be allowed to enroll.

In addition, Kilcullen’s piece reeks of another form of sexism. He paints career-focused women in an extremely negative light—they are ‘selfish’ contributors to society’s ‘‘me’ culture.’ It is hard to imagine such overt degradation of men’s career ambitions, but when women aspire to break the glass ceiling, he finds it selfish. Kilcullen’s emphasis on the Ranger School’s noble culture and extreme rigor certainly makes it sound as though anyone, male or female, who enters the Ranger School with the wrong motivations would have difficulty meeting expectations.

There are always exceptions to every generalization. To say that all aspiring Ranger women are selfish and career-focused and should therefore be barred from even trying to accomplish the same goals with the same motivations as men is nothing short of bigotry. Performance should decide who goes to Ranger School. Not gender.

As a traditionally reputable news source, The Wall Street Journal should know better than to publish something like this. To express an opinion in an opinion piece is one thing—to use stereotypes and faulty logic to condemn the goals and motivations of a routinely discriminated group is quite another. Demand that The Wall Street Journal issue an apology by signing the petition below.


Dear Editors of The Wall Street Journal,

I am disappointed that you chose to publish Stephen Kilcullen’s opinion piece advocating that women remain barred from entering the US military’s Ranger School. Of course Kilcullen is entitled to his opinion, but his bad logic and ignorant justifications amount to a bigoted, faulty argument that reflects badly on your publication.

Firstly, Kilcullen interprets one argument in the complex debate over allowing women to serve in combat and assumes that all women must want to enter the Ranger School for the same reason—career ambition. This, in his opinion, is selfish and contrary to the Ranger School’s ethos. That may very well be, but it is not Kilcullen’s place to project selfishness onto military women as a whole.

Just as there are noble, brave, self-sacrificing men in the Ranger School, there are noble, brave, self-sacrificing women who aim to join the Ranger School. The reason they are not yet allowed to has nothing to do with their abilities or motivations; it has to do with bigotry like Kilcullen’s.

Please issue an apology to women as a whole, and especially military women, not for publishing his opinion, but for publishing its absurdly sexist justification.


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39 Signatures

  • Darlene Roepke
  • Frédérique Pommarat
  • Lynn Juozilaitis
  • Ann Blank
  • Eveline Mutsaerts
  • tam O
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