I want to believe our society is coming close to equally treating female veterans as it does male veterans. I really do. However, I constantly find reminders that support the taken-for-granted notion veterans (and service members) are men.
I am even more embarrassed at some of the products coming out, particularly the ones that encourage the “girl” who stays behind supporting her man. These things seem to sell a notion military wives and girlfriends do not have an identity all their own. Would you see something of this label for same sex couples?! No, but it’s perfectly normal for heteronormative marketing.
I honestly couldn’t buy any of these Yankee Candles even if I loved the scents available through their Homefront Girl line. Thankfully, I found some information that a dollar from each sale goes to Homes for Our Troops. However, the proceeds are limited to $75,000 or date, April 30th, 2016 per the image below:
I don’t wish to alienate other women, but I see over and over again how society values the “military wife” and her fulfillment of a traditional gender role. She is placed on a pedestal for raising the kid(s), keeping the house, and staying loyal as her man serves his country. Yet, female service members (and veterans) are forgotten persons. We are remembered for mothering (as applicable), but our military service…it’s an invisible achievement.
I saw this issue play out again in my life when my husband and I picked up our car from a valet. The man, probably slightly younger than us, noticed our veteran plate. He turned to my husband and asked his service branch. Thomas responded with ‘Marine Corps’ and the valet thanked him for his service.
In these moments, I better understand female veterans who place woman veteran license plates on their car, especially those whose husbands (or boyfriends) did not serve in the military. I do not have one myself and the recent woman veteran hat is coming up increasingly in social media sites.
I am getting closer to upping the ante for my veteran recognition project. I’ve worn my dog tags since last October with little notice. I haven’t blatantly hung out the tags; as a veteran, I feel it would be tacky to do so. I was hoping people would notice a dog tag chain is unlike other pieces of ‘jewelry’ and therefore make the connection. Haha….no one notices. Truly, no one notices.
I think a female veteran hat would be a silly addition to my project but I promise a creative approach to this problem. Society does not need to thank its female veterans (as equally as it does not need to thank male veterans) however it does need to recognize on many levels women serve in our Armed Forces.