UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Female Marine Corps Wants an End to Misogyny

A group of female marines are fighting to end misogyny in the Marine Corps. This effort to fight sexism is following an incident when nude photographs of women in the Marine Corps allegedly taken by their male colleagues were leaked online. These photographs were leaked on a Facebook group called “Marines United.”

A separate Facebook group, “Actionable Change” was created in response to the incident. Actionable Change contains over 500 members, and was created by Lieutenant Colonel Ann Bernard, who is determined to fight back against misogyny in the organization.

An open letter posted online captures the frustration of women in the marine. The letter consisted of three parts. The first part is addressed “To our service.” The second part of the letter is addressed “To our fellow Marines,” and the third “To our sister-in-arms.”

“It was as Marines that we began to understand how shared suffering and misery could create bonds stronger than centuries of prejudice and unite those who serve as one hold,” the letter states.

This letter also calls for the Marine Corps to do more to hold males accountable the same way its leaders are held accountable.

“But just as the Marine Corps holds its leaders accountable, so it must hold itself accountable when it is in the wrong. We have allowed to thrive and in some instances, even encouraged a culture where women are devalued, demeaned, and their contributions diminished,” the letter read.

The group is challenging the Marine Corps to step up and take action. It states that women in the Marines are given harsh treatment, and some of them are often victims of sexual abuse. These women are made to feel small in the organization because the men who abuse them are usually their superiors. When this is the case, it has been discovered that most women do not report their abuse, due to the fact that they are afraid they will not be taken serious.

They also fear they will be dismissed, believing that it is nearly impossible to bring forth a case against their superior. This is because the Marines are caught in “a culture that prizes masculinity, it is easy to mistake barbarism for strength. Brutality for power. Savagery for ferocity.”

It continued, “Yet we respectively disagree with the notion that to fight and win our country’s battles, we must preserve an institution where men are permitted or even expected to behave like animals and women trespass at their peril.”

Even though the photographs were leaked in Marines United, the letter stated that it was not really about the group. A lot of Marines knew about the issue, and it would have persisted if it werenot for a former Marine who expressed that this was more than enough.
“This is about the time you said, ‘we don’t need any more females in this section,’ as if there were a quota. It’s about the time you made the joke about the female Marine and her face, her hair, her voice, her private life, or her sexual orientation. This is about pretending you don’t hear women when they speak. And about looking only at men when you speak. Or treating sexual assault training as a burden.”