“And I wonder will I burn out, make a mark, or fade away”-The Amity Affliction
Let me say, right off the bat, that I do not subscribe to the modern progressive model of feminism (“third wave”). I do not think it is a coherent structure for change and equality and instead is being used to create its own arena of exclusion, concessions, and exceptions based on being female. It’s caused feminism to become a parody unto itself and has cost valuable ground in women’s rights because it has promulgated the pseudo-liberal game within the “oppression Olympics.”
However, I will say that feminism, as it was originally intended, is my cup of tea. So, before you comment as to what a cuck, lib-tard, beta, white knight, snowflake I am, I would suggest reading a book or two on the concept.
I’m also not going to say much regarding female standards, promotions, nor the roles that women are expected to fill within the active duty space. That has been covered here. I’m also not going to be talking about women in SOF or Combat Arms as that has been tackled ad nauseum and there are some really good pieces out there on the subject (as well as some steaming piles of shit).
Now, as I’ve stated since day one, we here at Kinetic Syndicate are going to highlight the bad as well as the good. We’re going to ask tough questions, challenge bad ideas, and force uncomfortable conversations. The topic of the treatment of females in the veteran space is no different.
In the current paradigm, female veterans have shoehorned themselves into one of two archetypal categories: First, there is the bikini-clad, AR-toting gunbunny. She wallpapers herself all over social media, calls herself a “public figure,” and uses her “model status” as a vehicle for veteran advocacy. She flaunts for a cause to bring awareness to PTSD, suicide, remembering those deployed, etc. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with this. A gal is more than welcome and encouraged to express herself and her sexuality in a way that empowers her, and we should support that 110%. However, she is expected to stay in her lane at all times and ensure that she is not “too” veteran. Whatever that means. She appears to have the need to preface every booty shot with a veteran cause and she constantly touts the difference she makes by mentioning the thirsty dudes in her DMs who talk about how she saved them or made their day (“I was in such a dark place and seeing your smile today made it all better.”). If you truly believe these messages are sent because of some life-saving intervention on the part of the model, I have a bridge to sell you. Regardless, these women are expected to just look pretty and pose for whatever cause the boys deem worthy. They are not to comment on the veteran community at large.
Second is the auxiliary cheerleader. She’s on the sidelines. She is telling everyone to remember everyone deployed, PTSD is a killer, and that there is a suicide epidemic within the veteran community. However, as with the beloved gunbunny, she is expected to stay in her lane. She better not speak up on veteran issues in a critical or seemingly unsupportive way. She should make sure she has a man present if she wants to mention the accomplishments and accolades from her time in service. She (as with the gunbunny) rarely mentions her status as a veteran. If she does, it’s quickly glazed over so she can get back to speaking to the community. She sits on the sidelines and cheers on the boys and offers up her shoulder to cry on when the load gets too burdensome.
Again, nothing is inherently wrong about either of these two archetypes. It’s just an observation I’ve made over the years. I’ve been wondering why more female veterans haven’t been coming out and writing their stories. I’ve noticed a lack of participation when discussions start to get critical of the veteran community. It’s always hushed whispers and I’ve recently begun to see why. Those women who don’t fall within either of these two models are essentially ghosts. They fear speaking out or even accepting thanks for their service because they don’t want some angry 11B coming out of the bushes with an iPhone and accusing her of embellishing her service and stealing his valor.
All of this is because every time a female dares to step up to the soapbox, she’s immediately shouted down. The apes in the crowd are quick to fling shit tell her that she isn’t a “real” veteran (whatever the fuck that is). The kneejerk reaction is to assume they’ve never fired a shot in anger, nor have they been wrenched awake in the middle of the night by persistent nightmares. It’s the age old “you weren’t there, man” attitude and it’s been thrown at the ladies more so than anyone. Women are supposed to serve and shut up; don’t take the spotlight off the boys. Don’t assume your service was comparable to theirs or as “cool” or meaningful, or you get the ostracized from the community.
I’ve seen females in our community quietly making massive, national-level changes in veteran outcomes. They are the vetted authority on the subject matter on which they speak. And I’ve seen those same women get told they don’t know what they’re talking about from a dude who just got out of the military a year ago and hasn’t even signed up for classes at his local junior college. It is the Dunning-Kruger effect mixed with copious amounts of misogyny and a dash of insecurity. If a male were doing half the stuff a few of these gals are doing, they would be heralded as the second-sacoming of Christ. We bro-hug, bro-job, and jerk each other off over the smallest things, we support each other and talk about what an inspiration that dude is because he showed up at some veteran event just to show his face and rant about who-knows-what for 20 minutes. When a female does big things in the community or even wants to write for a veteran blog, there’s a lot of non-commital mumbling and side-grins then suddenly her password isn’t working anymore.
However, we as a male-dominated community can’t see past our own silly shit to grant credit to the female experience. Since it’s a girl, we don’t pay attention. We shut them down because we’re afraid of having our egos bruised because a girl can kick our ass at something. We shun them and discount them because we fear a girl telling us we’re wrong, regardless of the woman’s experience or education. We assume they’ve never seen combat and they’ve never experienced trauma. One google search into Military Sexual Trauma or the suicide rate for female veterans will dispel those notions. Our pee-pee’s retract when we have to consider that we share the same space or community spotlights with women who might have done way cooler shit than we have, deployed more, or left the wire while we spent a year playing Xbox at the MWR. It’s almost like the typical guy looks at his service and says, “yeah, I may be a POG, but at least I’m not a female” and that therefore gives him incentive to discount her experiences or veteranship (dunno if that’s a word, but it is now; you’re welcome.) I know females with CABs who are terrified to wear them because they don’t want some male losing his mind and interrogating her. I know women who have traded lead with smelly, bearded dudes too. I know women who have lost limbs and buddies just like we have. Yet, it is presumed that they don’t know shit. Shut up and hold this AR and talk about what a good job the boys are doing. Tits or GTFO.
I bring all this up in order to show a real problem in our community. Plainly put, we treat our sisters like something we stepped in. We may smile, nod, and fist-bump them, but inside we think, “best not try to talk about your deployment” or “as long as you’re not smarter or more experienced than me, we cool.” We’re trying to bring the community together under the shared concept of “service;” not branch, MOS, or number of deployments because, on the outside, in the civilian world, none of that shit matters anymore. It’s shameful the way we treat our sisters and they have become this silent sect within our community, afraid to speak out or show that they’re thinking critically because it’ll send the ape cage into upheaval.
We need to step up, drop our egos a little, and allow females to share in the camaraderie and experience of the veteran space WITH us, not as some separate entity with no agency of their own and not with the threat of exclusion or shame if they don’t toe the line we set for them. They can bring some valuable shit to the table, if only we’d stop crowding them out because we’re afraid of no longer being “special.”