“You need to grab your balls and show us what you’re really made of”

This is a quote, from SAS: Who Dares Wins chief military instructor Ant Middleton. It was easily missed during last year’s series 3. In fact, it was completely swept under the carpet with disregard for the connotations it carried to having to be a man to succeed in the SAS.

Fortunately, with SAS: Who Dares Wins 2019 fast approaching, sexism has been thrown out of the window. The Channel 4 series is now open to both male and female recruits. Hoorah.

While I’m not attempting to imply that Ant is sexist, it doesn’t exactly seem like it was his decision to re-think the applicantion process.

The rugged, bearded, bulky, brute of a man is a previous special forces hero. He served in the military from 1997 and is one of few who have achieved a ‘holy trinity’ title after serving in the Royal Marines, Parachute Squadron Royal and Special Boat Service.

While women can apply to be in the military group SAS, it is historically renown as a male dominant force. A greater volume of men apply and a higher number of men make the gruelling final selection process – around one in 12 according to the UK Gov website.

If we are going to listen to anyone’s advice when it comes to this insane Royal Marines selection process, then we are going to hear Ant’s thoughts.

Fortunately, he spoke about the issue of women in the SAS on ITV chat show Lorraine in 2018:

It’s not that I don’t think women could ever join (the SAS). I think there’s a process. You have to earn your place on selection.

Ant is quite right. Only the best of the best of the very best make the SAS. It doesn’t matter whether they are male or female, the selection process remains the same and the worthy winners are only those who merit it.

However, the bandwagon Ant is now pulling is very different. He is not dragging a group of hardened military veterans across the Afghan desert, shadowing under the raining terror of gunfire. He is leading a group of regular Joes in a TV show full of cameramen, lighting equipment and tea breaks.

At the start of every SAS: Who Dares Wins episode, the same voiceover says “in this unique version of SAS selection” and adds that “each task is based on the real process”.

The point is that SAS: Who Dares Wins is not footage of an SAS selection process. It is a TV show for people who believe they could face similar mental and physical tasks.

If women want to put themselves forward to feature in such a gruelling reality TV show then there should have never been anything to stop them.

The fact is has taken us to 2019 to get to this point is alarming. But hey, we’re here now. Let’s just hope Ant doesn’t ruin everything by dishing out pink and purple camouflage outfits.


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