“I’ve read slews of stuff and I’ve never heard that one,” Laurence says. “Certainly some men have been raised that you treat women as second class citizens and they need to be protected. I think if you hear your male soldier buddy scream it affects you just as much.”
She theorizes that one reason military men could be hesitant to allow women in combat is that they’d rather not let women witness their emotional breakdown. “In the military in general, you are taught you subdue and control your emotions,” she says. When you see your friends killed next to you, “you have to sublimate those emotions to go on.”
But no one has perfect emotional regulation, and when it fails, it could ruin the illusion of manliness in war. “My own gut feeling–I think men are a little afraid to have women in combat because they will display their vulnerability,” Laurence says.