In May of this year, the Marine Corps released a new recruitment ad aimed towards women. The ad is titled "Battle Up" and came close after the breaking story of the Marines United Scandal (which I briefly touched upon in a blog back in March). Maj. Janine Garner spoke to NPR about the ad and a letter that she and 100 Marine Corps women signed insisting the Corps leaders deal with the issues of sexual assault they have faced:
"We have allowed to thrive and, in some instances, even encouraged a culture where women are devalued, demeaned and their contributions diminished," the letter says.
While I applaud the letter they wrote and understand the thinking behind recruiting more women might benefit the Marine Corps., I don't think it is a solid solution to fixing the issues of harassment these women have been dealing with. Like I said in my blog nolite te bastardes carborundorum: "We say it’s equality, but haven’t we as women been building ourselves up to be equal to men? What have we been doing to help men be equal to us?" We can try to recruit more women for the Marine Corps., in the work force, and behind film sets, but if we are simply trying to gain more power to help eliminate the injustices we've faced, is that really dealing with the problem at hand? We need an ad that is focused on men and women talking about sexual assault and ways to prevent it, not to pretend like it doesn't exist. We need an ad that shows a man standing up for a woman being assaulted. We need an ad that shows a woman standing up for a man being assaulted, because we often forget about that.
Yes, it's good that we're encouraging women to be strong, go after their dreams, and fight for our country - but knowing the current reputation the Marines Corps. has, is that really something we want to encourage our daughters to enlist in? Or do we want to teach our sons to treat these women with respect? Our culture has become so focused on toppling the patriarchy, that we've forgotten what equality actually looks like. It's about raising our sons and daughters with the same moral values. And I fear that if we keep trying to take power away from each other - if we keep trying to bring women into a man's world but not men into a woman's world - that this paradigm shift we've been nearing will topple over itself and chaos among the sexes will ensue (if it hasn't already).
Do I think we need more women in the Marine Corps., the work force, behind film sets, etc.? Yes, obviously, I'm all about women living up to their greatest potential and doing the job they want to do, but I don't think we should ignore the issues men are facing as well (The Mask You Live In and Miss Representation - both part of The Representation Project - are great films to watch and gain more insight on our gender dilemmas). If we start bringing more women into the Marine Corps., without dealing with the deep underlying issues of sexual assault, how are benefitting both parties? We need to clean up the toxic masculinity overpowering our country before we tell women to "Battle Up".