Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Wrong Kind of Military Wife

I look for progressive military spouse blogs all the time.  Hello out there!  Where are you folks?  Today I came across Walking on my Hands, and the writer, Pamela, is definitely my new best friend.  A realistic portrait of a military spouse, plus yoga- what's not to like?

Married to the Military is her post about mainstream culture's depiction of military wives, and her sense of rage-turned-guilt over being "the wrong kind of military wife."  That resonated with me, as did her report of her husband's reaction to another ridiculous "inspirational" essay she had shown him.

"I don't really see the problem...she is helping him do his job better." he said.

Pamela goes on into the spiritual realm from there, which I'll leave for another conversation.

Let's talk about this reaction to supposedly inspirational stories about military spouses who drink the kool-aid, and then get all sanctimonious about their sacrifice and patriotism and so on.  I can definitely relate to Pamela's experience of anger that melts into inadequacy, and I was wondering how common that is.  I'm also curious about the one-sidedness and homogeneity of the image of the military wife.  It seems pervasive- as if there are no such thing as partners who are ambivalent about the military lifestyle or their spouse's career choice.  Reading stories and poems about the Soldier's Wife or Military Families that in no way apply to me or many people I know is demoralizing. I wish they would qualify the term "Military Spouse" somehow- maybe "Conservative Ideal Military Spouse" or "Spouses with Convenient Attitudes".

There are just too many of us to sum up into a poem designed to be printed in a flowery font and hung up on a bathroom wall or reposted on Facebook.  Maybe it is just that simple?


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