Dear Marine Corps...I'm Disappointed In YouSparkler Post
Hey. Oister here. I'm going to be the latest addition to your famous 4th battalion of female marines, and I couldn't be more excited. I love the culture, the ideals, the way of life, and the standard, and I can't wait to earn the Title and stand alongside you as the few and the proud.
And I was even prouder when we started moving in the right direction last year when we finally came to the conclusion that female should be doing pull-ups as well as males as a qualification for recruit training. I thought that finally, I could stand side by side to my male counterpart in blues and be respected for completing the exact same challange.
But then you said that it wouldn't happen. You moved postponed the change to after 2014, the year that I will be shipping to and graduating boot camp. Why? Because 'more than 80% of the females couldn't perform a pullup'.
I'm sorry, but that seems like a huge issue. We are a 'force in readiness'. We are the nation's and the world's, supreme fighting and conquering force, the only branch able to be deployed anywhere on earth overnight and strike at the president's command. We are trained killers in the art of war, whether everyone agrees with it or not. We are to fight this nation's battles and win without exception or excuse. And you're telling me that 80% of an entire battalion can't do a single pullup?
War doesn't get easier because you're a female. A rifle isn't lighter in your hands because you have boobs. Your rucksack doesn't lose 20ibs because you have an X chromosome. The enemy doesn't get weaker because you have a vagina.
While it is true that technically, females are not allowed in combat roles (as of yet), we are Marines first, and females second. We are ALL combat ready, as we are all riflemen/women. And yet you've lulled thousands of women into a false sense of security, by allowing them to be held to a lower standard.
The Army does this. The Navy does this. The Airforce does this. The United States Marine Corps does not do this. In our 200+ years in service, our standard has not changed, we are unbending, unwilling to be compromised just because the population's standard is lowered. Our motto is the Few and the Proud. 99% of the population need not apply. We do not lower our standards so that more people can get it. We maintain it so that the exceptional will rise to meet it.
So why the hell is the requirement to ship to boot camp a 12 second flexed arm hang? Why are we even doing a flexed arm hang? Why should it matter that less females can do it? Are you willing to sacrifice the quality of our troops for more numbers? The safety of our nation rests in each and every Marine's hands, and you're worried that the delicate females can't handle it?
If that's how it is, then don't let me walk into the recruiting center and see signs plastered on the walls saying 'there's no such thing as a female marine, just a marine' if that's a boldfaced lie. Because as of now, there are Marines, and then there are the Marines who couldn't meet the standard that was originally set but we gave the the Title anyways because they have boobs so we can't actually expect them to be equal or anything.
And to the female Colonal who has openly declared that as a Marine, she could not do a pullup and never will be able to, so the rest of the females shouldn't be expect to either....what kind of an example are you setting? Female recruits like I and so many other look up to you. As a Colonal, you inspire us and we aspire to become a leader like you. And yet here you are, publically declaring that you have accepted your limitations as what is impossible now, and will never work towards bettering yourself. You have used your position make sure that we won't ever get the chance to prove ourselves in this way. While I still respect you, I have to say that I am greatly disappointed, and this is not now I expected someone to uphold the Marine Corps standards.
So please, don't patronize us. You may even think that you're doing us a favor, but you're not. It's insulting. It's demeaning to be handed the Title that our male counterparts had to earn through more difficult trials that we did, and be given it anyways because we're female. There will always be those who want to coast through and ride on the Title with minimal effort, but that's not who I am. I want to earn it with my blood, sweat, and life. I want to claim that Title because I deserve it, not because I was given a handicap because of my gender.
Because even if I can do 30 pullups, I can brag about it all I want, but my Title earned from Parris Island as a female says that I passed because I could do more than a 30 second bent arm hang. It's not something I can be completely proud of. I want the best Title. The most difficult one to achieve. That's why I chose the Marine Corps over the other branches of service. No matter how exceptional I am, in the end, it is not the individual that matters, it is the unit, and our unit is only as strong as its weakest member. And you're letting some pretty damn weak members in by this double standard.
That's about it. I know that there are many politics that I may not be aware of, but this is just the two cents of a recruit who is feeling a bit disillusioned with the Marine Corps. I have opinions about women in combat roles as well, but I know that that's a whole bottomless can of worms when it comes to politics, so the blame lies more within Congress and the general public. But this is something that is so simple, it seems so logical to have ALL recruits meet the same standard without exception. And yet....only the males are. And the females are left wanting something more. And if they aren't, I am in complete belief that they should reconsider their life career as a Marine. If there is a female out there who is satisfied with achieving this sub standard and is okay with riding on a Title that was only partially earned, then she shouldn't be a Marine. She lacks the integrity and the mindset of a true warrior. I'm sorry, but that's what I believe.
I know that the chances that the decision to move back the change to be revoke is little to none, but I just wanted you to know what type of affect your double standards are having on young aspiring Marines, what type of message you're sending, and what you're doing to the standard, the Title, and the Marines. Why this discriminatory mindset needs to be rid of as soon as possible.
Sincerly yours and Semper Fi,
**For those who don't know, pullups/flex arm hang are very important because the are one of the three events in the Physical Fitness Test, along with crunches and a 3 mile run. You have to meet a certain standard for each event before you ship to boot camp, while you are in boot camp, and before you leave boot camp in order to move on. Males are required to have 2 pullups in order to ship to boot camp minimum with 20 being a perfect score, most faling in between 7-12, and females are required to hold a 12 second flex arm hang minimum with 70 being a perfect score, most falling in between 30-50. The Title I speak of (with a captital T) is the Title of United States Marine that is earned upon graduation of boot camp, and is very revered and holds a lot of pride.
Originally published on January 29, 2014.