Dating a marine i want out
To be perceived as sexually desirable – especially in front of fellow Marines – felt like a sign of weakness.
This double bind can especially trap military women, who walk a razor’s edge if they display femininity while working under a microscope of potential male attention.
At Officer Candidates School, one female sergeant instructor stalked through the squad bay and yelled at our sixty-woman platoon, "If you're a woman in the Marine Corps," she hollered, "you're either a bitch, a dyke, or a ho." A few months later, I compared notes with a male classmate, who relayed how he was taught to drill with an M-16. Those kinds of experiences are why I'm not surprised about the Corps' recent nude photo sharing scandal, or that misogyny remains alive and well in online military communities.
"You're on a first date," the male sergeant instructor had said, holding the rifle in front of him. As a young lieutenant, I laughed off those stories and comments, thinking, they don't mean me.
I skateboarded with my male boss while deployed to Iraq.
And when one of my senior enlisted opened a desk drawer to accidentally reveal a photo of his naked wife (whom I recognized from the fully-clothed photos lining his office), all I remember thinking was, "Looks like they’ve got a good marriage!
Male Marines who are secure in their masculinity, who do not feel the need to puff themselves up by bullying their colleagues, must call out the cowards on their bullshit.
I'd also add that much of our military's culture is predicated on gendered shame.Combined with social media and GPS, the stakes of gender-based shame are high.The danger isn't just from posting photos; sites like Marines United enable stalking and harassment by listing women's names, ranks and duty stations.These tactics worked; professionally, I was well respected. I didn't feel like I could openly be fully human.I was simultaneously ashamed of my plainness yet unwilling to change, lest I be viewed as anything other than highly competent.
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At the time, I thought less of my fellow female lieutenants who wore sexy Halloween costumes, openly dated other officers, and seemed to effortlessly attract male attention whenever we went out.