Understanding Women in the Military: 10 Things a Military Man Will Never Hear

Disclaimer: No, military girls do not “whine” or “complain”. And “indulgences” for military servicewomen are a disservice, a hidden danger and a dubious “privilege” for which you will certainly be guilty. This publication is for those who want to better understand why there is so much talk about the specifics of women’s service and the problematic trends associated with it.

1. “War is not a man’s business”

Usually comes in a set with “not your place”, “not your natural calling”, etc. Suddenly, experts in genetics, anthropology, biology, anatomy, and ethics converge and tell you where, how, with whom, and in what way you should live. “We won’t let you go”, “have you thought carefully?”, “and you can definitely do it?”, “you still have to give birth, not fight”, “it would be better to cook borscht” already in the military committee. Just imagine that a man who came to serve of his own free will will be asked such and such questions for half an hour and will be denied any danger. You are so fragile – how will you protect us?! And what about your family, you should stay at home with your children! And who in your family serves – how did he come, no one “asked” for you? What, you don’t cook borscht?!

2. “There is no place for men in war!”

This phrase is repeatedly heard after some military woman from someone’s thrice-retold “broken phone” stories did something “exceptionally immoral”: drank, left her post, did not arrive on time, has family ties with someone from the administration. This is usually empty gossip. It is certain that there are cases when a military woman violated discipline, and the scale and nature of such violations are truly diverse. And it is unfair to write off mistakes, because the girl, relatively speaking, smiled nicely and blinked her eyes (although, this behavior is also usually imposed from childhood by a whole layer of obscurantist “weekly girl”, so you can only “break through” this way). If you pay attention to how many identical violations of discipline and career growth with the help of family ties occur in men, you can revise the stereotype “women violate discipline, so they don’t belong here!” A woman is trouble on a ship, isn’t it?… It’s just that when a man violates discipline, they say: well, dovbodyatel, what are you going to do (conditionally). When a woman does the same thing, it’s “because all women do it, they don’t belong here, they’re unfit here – they need to get rid of them!” (also conditionally). “Piercings” of men in the army are never associated with the fact that they are men, but the opposite happens with women.

3. “I came to the army to find a wife”

No, this really happens: people fall in love during the war, start relationships, get married. It’s wonderful, it’s a victory of life over death – complete, overwhelming, almost dialectical. I do not condemn this in any way and I fully support it. We are talking about situations when the professional abilities and moral and business qualities of women in the army are ignored, and instead they are ridiculed for joining the army not due to professionalism, principles and the desire to stand up for the defense of the country, but “to get married”. And, of course, she will leave all that army and will definitely sit on her husband’s neck. Or will take a higher position thanks to a kind word from a man with more influence. This stereotype and the belief that it will “roll” like this will be destroyed as soon as there are more women in senior positions who have achieved promotion on their own and thanks to professionalism and leadership qualities. The bad thing is that women have to achieve this against all odds.

4. “You are the beauty of the team”

You can be an excellent sniper, a talented instructor, lead a unit of any level, and still the scariest holiday of the year will come. Scarier than any lifelike skull, creepy surprise or haunted house. The eighth of March is what a real horror movie should be about. It doesn’t matter how many marches you marched, sat in the trenches or fired. You are “decoration”. Not that man-Apollo with great muscles, who clearly spends more in a month in the barbershop than you spend in six months in an “express haircut” (which is not bad), but you, who sometimes in the morning reminds himself in the mirror of something a bipolar owl, like the Grinch before Christmas. Because a woman is necessarily beautiful, fragile, graceful, and always seeks attention and compliments. I am not a flower woman. I’m a female Grinch. Who prefers to see people as little as possible, to dress in something that covers the whole body (nothing to do with the compulsion to wear closed clothes in some countries!) so that no one sees and does not start conversations. And there are actually a lot of us like that. In the army – too.

My only award for the first three years of service is a certificate on March 8 with congratulations on the holiday of tenderness and motherhood, and wishes for “female happiness.” What is it anyway? At that time, I was the only soldier posted to the NATO headquarters, translated simultaneously at all international conferences and worked at the strategic level. But this is not worth recognition, because I am fragile and blooming. Can we finally start giving flowers and cosmetics to men on November 19 – Men’s Day – and wish them family male happiness and the earliest possible “vacation” to take care of the child? I love, respect, bite throats for my male co-workers. But chthonic stereotypes about women in the army must go into the past forever.

Of course, it continues with a dark forced concert, and if you deny that you are not a fan of “Young Wolf” – you will most likely be burned at the stake. In general, once on March 8, NSU “congratulated” women with speed potato peeling and floor washing competitions. However, now this news has been “lost” in a strange way on the websites. Another time, as a gift until March 8, we were allowed to go home earlier. The guys, of course, looked at us like a wolf, and they didn’t give us the opportunity to refuse – the guys rightly expressed their dissatisfaction that because of this they worked more during the day – women are still a large part of the team, the absence of which only makes the work more difficult. Here is an example of a “disservice” disguised as an “indulgence for girls”.

A whole platoon of officers chased after me with the gift orchid, and finally in my office it gave up its fragile blooming soul to the plant god, because it was constantly watered with coffee and mold from cups that were never washed in time. I’m a housekeeper!

5. “Don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t get drunk – it’s unattractive, you’re a future father!”

For some reason, it is believed that smoking, alcohol and the like are only harmful to women. No one asks if a woman plans and wants to give birth someday. If someone slanders that they don’t want to, burn the witch! “You haven’t found the same one yet”, “you’re young and stupid – you’ll outgrow it”, “you need it for your health”, “the clock doesn’t stand still” – everyone suddenly knows who you are and what you need, and practically no one : oh, okay, I respect your choice, thank you for sharing and trusting.

“Incurable female alcoholism” is a lie. It is enough to read any foreign clinical study. Smoking harms men and their reproductive abilities no less than it does women. Men are often advised to quit smoking and drinking alcohol if they have problems conceiving a child.

In my experience, guys are rarely told to “quit smoking” in the army, and more as a joke – we have such a peculiarity that getting home is like saying hello. But I have never heard that men were told in smoking rooms about the harm of tobacco for future children, the prohibition of cursing “because it is not beautiful for such a fragile creature”, or condemnation of the responsible consumption of alcohol during off-duty hours, “because then no woman will like you”.

I heard it even cooler from the brigade commander, when I was carrying several rucksack radio stations and some other equipment up the uncomfortable stairs myself, which I’m absolutely fine with: “Oh, well, don’t make such a face, otherwise I’d hate to look at it.” Right here, of course, “why don’t you paint”, “don’t be shy, you’re a girl”, “no one will marry you in a uniform that is not hemmed in a tight butt”, and a bunch of other “jokes” of an unambiguous nature. I cured an officer who couldn’t speak for several weeks because of the basement conditions and the cold, and the first thing he talked about was a pseudo-scientific book about why women “can’t” read maps and drive cars worse. I really missed those weeks when he couldn’t talk.

There are simply men who serve unworthily. However, he got drunk on duty or went to the unapproved abandonment of an army unit not because he is a man. And because he did something unworthy. A conventionally beautiful, painted, friendly servicewoman who left the wounded to die because “the car is for my personal belongings” should bear the strictest responsibility for this and never mention that the Armed Forces of Ukraine had the misfortune of having her in their ranks. But not because she is a woman. And because she did something unworthy.

I am not in the army to please men externally. Not from a lack or desire for their attention. Not for promotion “through the bed”. Not for actively searching for a future groom instead of performing official duties. Not to admit one’s “fragility”, not with the intention of not doing anything “because I’m here for beauty”. Without family ties in higher headquarters. I am here because I protect the lives of our men and women, our civilians. Voluntarily. Because she is trained and experienced in her specialty. And one day it will be treated normally, but for now I will write leaflets about what, in addition to enemies, we fight every day. Funny – about sad, from women – about women.