Women in the Military: Struggles That Go Beyond Combat
June 20, 2019
Women who are joining the force is growing more and more every year. This addition of human power has made our military even stronger than ever. But, unfortunately, as one might expect for women joining the military, it comes with many challenges.
For one, the toll that it takes on family members. Families are so proud that their children and siblings are fighting for their country, but the constant fear of hearing the phone ring never leaves until they come home.
Look at World War II. 40 to 50 million people were killed in that war. How many WW2 veterans are alive today? Of the 16 million American veterans that fought in that war, less than 500,000 are still alive today. And, it is expected that within five years, that number will be at zero. Wars are devastating to all involved, men or women.
But, the fight that women have had to endure to not only fit in, but head into combat is something that cannot be overlooked in its significance. For a variety of reasons, women have more to battle each day than men.
When men enter the military, they have their heads immediately shaved. It goes along with the prim and proper look that they desire, as well as having the hat fit exactly the way that they want. Women, on the other hand, do not have that luxury. They have to get their hair into a sock bun that is extremely challenging. With the use of hair gel, bobby pins, hair ties, and hair spray, women have to get that bun tight enough to stay put all day long.
Probably the most difficult and obnoxious part of serving in the military for women is the discriminatory words they must listen to. Their sexuality is called into question quite frequently while serving. They are also laughed at and ridiculed for using a gun. Men will poke fun at them because they don’t feel women can handle using a real gun.
But one thing is for sure, these women have thick skin. It is hard enough knowing the danger that lurks around every corner when serving in the military, but to also have to put up with obnoxious stereotypes can be too much at times. However, women can brush it right off of their shoulders, fight for their country, and be examples to all young women in the world. No man has this added stress on their military duties.
Explaining Their Service
There is a good chance that if a woman heads out to a bar or restaurant and is wearing a military t-shirt, someone is going to ask if her boyfriend/husband served in the military. This can be quite frustrating when you know that you’ve worked so hard to earn the right to wear that apparel, but women can still get some satisfaction in this exchange. There is no prouder moment than to look that person straight in the eyes and let them know that it belongs to you and the service that you provide. The look of embarrassment on that person’s face will make it all worth it!
Being a Mother
Making the decision to join the military is extremely difficult. It is even more difficult if you are a mother leaving your children behind. The same can be said for fathers who must do the same thing, but they don’t seem to get the same type of criticism that women do. They’ve been called unfit mothers for choosing work over family. Being a part of the military is one of those careers where it is difficult to put family ahead of work.
Having to stay focused and serve while having that kind of guilt is unimaginable. The abuse comes from civilians and their own peers. Nobody ever wants to be a part of a war, but it’s an unfortunate means of life and people are needed to serve. This includes fathers AND mothers. Mothers do not deserve to receive the flack that fathers seem to avoid.
Being a member of the military includes constantly proving yourself to everyone around you. Petite women who have to shoot a gun must constantly show that despite their stature, they can handle the weapon just as well as men. It is such a mental strain for women who want to do what is right for their country, but always feel that eyes are on them to see if they can keep up.
Even little things like the equipment can be challenging for women. Most of the outfits have always been designed for men. Women trying to fit into some of the smaller size outfits can pose a challenge because of the curves that men don’t have. It would be too easy for women to complain about this, but they don’t. If this is the gear they are expected to wear, they will make it work, no matter how unfair and uncomfortable it is.
Gender bias is something that women will have to fight for a long time. But, regardless, women always feel their strength continue to grow as they deal with these types of situations. They prove that there is no challenge that they can’t handle and dealing with criticism only makes them stronger.
Our military would not be what it is today without allowing women to fight alongside men. Their intelligence, endurance, and perseverance help to make our military the strongest in the world.
Continue to fight the good fight. Our country wouldn’t be the same without you!