Veterans Day has now passed and I loved seeing everyones posts and pictures and I really appreciated the free food and car wash. I hope you had a really nice day.
Todays post is perhaps a bit of a vent and hopefully more a bit of a suggestion for anyone who ever comes into contact with a woman in the military.
Don’t say we’re “too pretty to be in the military.” Please.
One thing that has happened to me frequently since being in the military (and even when I decided to go to USAFA) is that whenever I bring out my military ID, I get the looks of surprise or shock followed by the “I would have never guessed” or “you’re too pretty to be in the military.” When I decided to go to a military college, people told me “you know you have to wear a uniform there, right?” And while fashion was important to me in high school just as it is now, it does not define me. Similarly, my face does not define me, or any person for that matter.
How many times do you look at a man who serves in the military and think, “wow you are way too hot to be in the military.” I’m thinking never. So why do we do it to women? Why associate a level of attractiveness with a profession?
You may be thinking “geez, can’t you take a compliment?” The answer is yes, I can. I know (or at least I hope) no one says it to be rude or offensive. I am not saying it is not flattering that a random stranger thinks I meet their arbitrary standard of beauty, it is, but if my face is too pretty to be in the military, what are you insinuating I do with it? Does a pretty face belong in a bar where it can be stared at? Does it belong in a Dr.’s office to calm patients nerves? I could be wrong but I don’t think many women get told they are too pretty to be a teacher. Again, when someone makes that statement to us, there is rarely that level of thought in it – they are not meaning to be offensive, but the truth is, it’s not as nice as they probably meant it. Thats why I am writing this – so that you can have that level of thought in it.
The problem is we view the military as so inherently masculine, which it is, that for some reason in the back of our head we think the women in it should look masculine too. Some women are, but a lot of us are not. I have lots of beautiful female friends in the military but it doesn’t surprise me one bit.
I joined the military for a challenge, but ultimately any path I would have taken would have been based on my intellect, not what my smile can do for me. Saying that someone is too pretty for something takes their mind out of the equation, takes them as a person out and objectifies them in a way that, while not on purpose, is not a compliment.
Some days I love my job and some days not so much but no matter what I am proud to be part of the less than 1% of active duty military in this country. I also love that whether or not I wear makeup has no bearing on how people treat me, and that since we all wear the same uniform, I am judged on my competency as a person and not what I am wearing. I am proud of the men and women I have met and who I serve with, no matter how they look. I am sure I will hear this statement again in the future, and like always I will simply smile and say thank you but I hope that someone who has done it in the past will see this and think about it first next time and perhaps their response will be different.