Did you know Lady Vet is on a mission to amplify women Veteran voices, and show others that Veterans Look Like You?
ASSUMPTIONS ARE DEEPLY INGRAINED
Any woman who’s ever served her country knows what it feels like when other people assume that couldn’t possibly be you. The complete look of surprise, the automatic glossing over, even the occasional angry assumption that you don’t belong. The subtle (or sometimes blatant) distrust that spurs people to challenge women on their Veteran status, while taking men at their word. All of it based on deeply ingrained assumptions of what a Veteran looks like.
“So were you a nurse or did you push paper?”
“You look too pretty to go to war.”
“You look too tiny to carry that big gun.”
“I’m just surprised, since you have kids.”
“I still don’t think women belong in combat.”
“But did you really earn (insert hard-won distinction here), or did they lower the standards?”
“Oh, I’m sorry—I thought you were the spouse.”
“This meeting is for Veterans only. Here’s an application for the auxiliary chapter.”
“Can’t you read the sign? Only your husband can park here.”
“You were in the Marines? I find that hard to believe.”
“There’s no way you did 20 years in the Army. Soldiers don’t look like you.”
Even with the best intentions, it’s incredibly hard not to make assumptions – it’s part of how we make sense of the world. Everyone knows that women serve in the military. But it’s still not who society thinks of when we think of a Veteran. Most people mean well, but some don’t. In either case, we hold women back when we don’t see them as capable of holding positions of power, authority or strength.
But you can help change that.
NORMALIZING THE IDEA OF WOMEN AS VETERANS
If you’re a woman who served, it is within your right to own that identity proudly, if you want to. Offering others a glimpse of who you are helps normalize the idea of women as warriors, protectors, and keepers of the peace. You can help others understand that the entirety of who you are right now adds up to someone who voluntarily swore an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States. You can show them that you look like someone who once put your fears aside to sign a blank check. And you did it knowing it could have very well cost you everything.
You can help people understand that this is what it looks like to carry the wounds of war, both visible and invisible. And you have the power to show others that your size, shape, skin tone, hair color and texture, demeanor, age, idealized femininity or lack thereof—every visible aspect of your being—all combine to form one strong, completely capable person who should not be dismissed or underestimated. We hope you’ll join us and use that power for the greater good. Use it to show others that Veterans look like you and the millions of other women out there who served.
HELP US SHOW OTHERS THAT VETERANS LOOK LIKE YOU
Want to help change the narrative for all women Veterans? We’d be honored if you sent us a meaningful picture or two of yourself. Be sure to grant us permission to share on social media.
-Include your branch, rank, MOS/rating and how many years you served.
-Include something meaningful to you about the time you served in the military.
-Share a struggle you feel personally as a woman Veteran, or see more broadly in the Women Veteran community.
-Most importantly, don’t compare yourself with others! What you did matters more than you think. And someone out there will feel seen and validated by hearing what you have to share.