Lady Brigade & i Rock the Boots Follow-Up Discussion

Recently, I mentioned Lady Brigade and i Rock the Boots because these companies are started up by female veterans and focus on supporting female military service awareness.  Earlier this week, I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Michelle Bravo from i Rock the Boots; although I didn’t intend to meet her, she was in our office to talk to our director and I introduced myself.  I wanted her to know that I wanted to accomplish something similar and looked to her (and Lady Brigade’s) designs because I did not want my efforts to infringe on their products.  I know we find ourselves in particularly challenging times because our society is built on competition and there is a fine line to be drawn between innovation and imitation.  I want to respect these women for their achievements.  They both took different paths than what I’ve planned for myself, which is not a bad thing at all.  These women have their own styles and I hope their clients appreciate the effort and quality of the products.

This being said, I think it’s important to delve more into what negative feedback is arising and think about why female veterans find themselves in this predicament.  Below are some more snapshots of comments from the Buzzfeed article about Lady Brigade.  The first one is worth really discussing, because not too long ago, I was asked to make a drawing that represented the notion of “make you own damned sandwich.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.11.12 PMBelow is the artwork I came up with:

No part of this artwork may be used without my expressed permission.
No part of this artwork may be used without my expressed permission.

 

This problem is a hegemonic view of women “belonging” in the kitchen. It is a statement not expressed specifically at women in the military but like other demeaning stereotypes geared towards women, this one has trickled down into the military. Apparently, a lot of people have caught on to their annoyance (or support) for this “Make me a sandwich (or sammich, depending on how dull one wants to sound)” statement. My Google image search brings up all sorts of interesting items:
Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.17.32 PM

There is one image though that I do like regarding this topic. It is fun without being vulgar:
Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.20.33 PM

Now, with my image, what do you think are the positive connotations being expressed regarding female veterans? As well, in what ways does the drawing reinforce stereotypes about female service members? There are no right or wrong answers, but please use consideration and clean language to comment on the matter. Thanks.

~Cheryl

i Rock the Boots & Lady Brigade: Shirts Celebrating Female Military Service

I promised you all not too long ago, I’d tell you about a special t-shirt company celebrating females in the military.  Turns out there is another company with a similar passion.  The first, i Rock the Boots, was started up by Arizona State University Army ROTC cadre Executive Officer Major Michelle Bravo.

Below are photos from the brand’s website so you get a quick peek at the designs:

i Rock the Boots image
i Rock the Boots image

Boots ShirtI found out about the second company, Lady Brigade, as my former USMC roommate, Sarah, shared it on Facebook.  This company is also established by a female veteran.  Nadine Noky started up her company last year.

Lady Brigade t-shirt (Image taken from their website)
Lady Brigade t-shirt (Image taken from their website)
Lady Brigade t-shirt (image taken from their website)
Lady Brigade t-shirt (image taken from their website)

While I was initially hesitant to look through the designs, I’m glad I did.  I want to create awareness t-shirts, but being aware of what’s out there also serves a purpose in ensuring my designs do not closely resemble other products.

I wish both these women success in their endeavors; being an entrepreneur is certainly not an easy adventure, but the potential to change the world is pretty exciting.  I understand there is negative feedback already brewing over Lady Brigade; you can see some of this animosity in comments listed on Buzzfeed.

Below are just a few of the comments being made; I don’t know if there would be such a negative response for a male veteran owned company.  Perhaps.  But I don’t think so.  And if nothing else, some of these comments only make me more eager to get my own products developed.

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 1.51.28 PM

Being a veteran is something to be proud of; I know I didn’t serve my country so I could get a ‘thank you’ at the end of four years.  I served because someone I loved previously was killed and couldn’t finish his dream.  I served because I didn’t want to be $80,000 in debt for college.  I served because my father served in the Navy and I believe in our nation’s military.  I served because I met veterans who impressed me.  I served because I had friends also willing to serve.  I served because there was no reason I couldn’t serve.

I am a veteran and I’m proud of my service.  I talk to people about my service not because I want a ‘kudos’ from people; I talk about my service so people can understand our nation’s military and the gendered experiences in recruitment, training, deployment, and transitioning out of the military.

As such, it’s important to also support women like Major Bravo and veteran Nadine Noky in their efforts to shed light as well on female military service.