There is common stereotype that only men can serve in the military. At least that is how it feels sometimes. My friend recently had a conversation with a Disney cast member where he found out that that she was in an Air Force family. After giving her an honorary citizen button, he ended the conversation with thank your husband for his service. Which I guess would have been okay in most circumstances, but her husband isn’t the one in the Air Force. She is.
My friend didn’t correct him. She actually was pulled away from the conversation due to a work call that came at the moment after his last comment.
And it makes me wonder if not speaking up to correct people is just as much of the problem as him assuming her husband was in and not her. How can we expect people to know there is more to the military story than husbands serving and wives staying behind if we don’t tell people when they misjudge us?
I have been surprised to learn that many military spouses are actually veterans.
Both male and female military spouses who have once served in the military. As a blogger in search of females who have served in the military to share their stories I have a knack for pulling this information out of the military spouses I meet. Often it is because when I share that I am a veteran they say me too.
I have heard that women sometimes are afraid to share their military experience at military spouse groups or functions, but I have been lucky. When I was brought into the military spouse community I was still on active duty. My husband’s group commander’s wife realized my name tape matched my husbands at a unit event. That night she drove to my house to bring me to my first military spouse club group. Truthfully, I don’t know if I ever would have showed up. But it was pretty clear I was welcome when my ride arrived to take me.
I never felt judged for being a service member and made some of my best friends through these groups.
One of the questions I asked in my 31 Day Deployment Series, was what questions do you get from people who find out you have been deployed. Most people responded that people don’t know. So, they never ask.
And this exactly one of the reasons I have a drive to share the stories of women in the military.
Men who serve in the military stand out. If you know what to look for you can pick them out of a crowd. While women out of uniform can quickly blend into the crowd. Without our uniform and our hair worn how we want we just look like average everyday citizens. And somehow this is causing our stories to be quietly kept to ourselves.
Maybe it has been something we have been taught. Maybe we have just moved past our time in service and don’t want to share. But I think there is a deeper reason. And something I often personally struggle with is that we believe that no one wants to hear our story.
That our military service. That our story doesn’t matter anymore.
But the truth is all stories matter. And sharing our experience of military life is one of the best ways to help break the stereotype. The stereotype of people believing men are the only ones who serve.
Have you served in the military?
I want to share your experience so the world will know what we have done. Take the first step in sharing your story by filling out this informational form and I will contact you with more details.