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Opinion

Proposed unisex caps feminize Marines

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October 31, 2013

The Marine Corps has recently abandoned the idea of creating a unisex uniform cap.

The Marine Corps has considered redesigning the female cover since 2002, according to The Wall Street Journal. In 2012, the Commandant of the Marine Corps explored creating a unisex cap.

The Marine Corps Times explains that Marines were given a survey with two options: “Option 1: Adopt the Dan Daly cap [an adjusted version of the female cap] as the universal cap or Option 2: Adopt the current male frame cap as the universal cap.”

Immediately, hundreds of readers and media sources exploded with criticisms of adopting an adjusted version of the female hat. Some simply called the hat “girly.” Others accused the hat of feminizing, and therefore weakening, marines.

After several sources blamed President Barack Obama for the “girly” hats, the survey was dropped. The Marine Corps simply ignored the gendered comments and published a statement explaining that the previous manufacturers of the female hats went out of business and they were looking to create a new model.

Criticizing media sources and readers did not address the idea that the Marine Corps was exploring new uniform options. Instead, many expressed insulting opinions that feminized hats disagree with the traditional image of the Marines.

Traditionally, women were prohibited from fighting, and were the powerful members of society. Is this the image we want to uphold in our “gender-equal” society today?

Currently, women are allowed to join military forces and can attain meaningful positions in society. After all, the United States a country that supposedly supports race and gender equality. However, as exhibited by the reactions to new Marine Corps hats, females still appear to represent an image of weakness.

Although the typical women may not be as physically strong as the typical man, she is not weak. Both males and females have capabilities of achieving intellectual power, which, in many instances, is more crucial in negotiating with other countries than pure physical strength is.

In the instance of Marine covers, men would hardly be subject to feminization. The two different hat options display differences in design, not functionality.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the “feminized” design closely resembles the covers that male Marines wore in the early 1900s. The only reason people view the hat as feminized now is because currently female Marines wear a version of it.

Why are Americans so hesitant to carry the image of gender-equality to the Marines? It seems as if people want to convey an image of muscle instead of brains when outfitting the military. However, advocating for male superiority does not align with our country’s beliefs. If the United States adopts a feminized image and is still powerful, wouldn’t that promote the concept of gender-equality?

Hannah Timm is a sophomore majoring in professional writing and minoring in creative writing. When she graduates from UWRF, she intends to work as an editor.