After so much recent talk about the role women should be playing in the military, it’s time now to shift gears and focus on what military men may not be getting: equal opportunities to take part in important family affairs.
An Army Specialist was reportedly denied his request for leave to attend a baby shower because his Commanding Officer doesn’t believe there’s a place for men at belongings that celebrate new life. I should mention this tidbit hails from Reddit, so there’s a 50 percent chance it’s true and a 50 percent chance an astute teenager made this up in his basement at midnight.
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Let’s suppose it is true. On his leave request document, the man was honest and simply wrote “Baby shower” as the reason he needed time off. Those two words were crossed out and his CO made a correction next to them in red pen: “Men don’t go to baby showers.”
Your move, army specialist.
And, boy, did his response on a follow-up document not fail to disappoint:
I’ll admit: this response sounds too good to be true. Wouldn’t this qualify as the very definition of insubordination? Regardless, even if it’s fake, it’s perfect. It highlights the extremely outdated ways many people still think about gender. Babies and the preparation for and celebration of newborns? Women’s business. Shooting guns, eating meat and having reckless sex with anyone and anything? Men, men, men.
Contrary to another stereotype about men, most don’t want to be pigeonholed as uncaring, un-nurturing walking erect penises. I’m not suggesting they’re all clamoring to play bingo at baby showers because baby showers are Dante’s first circle of hell — not as bad as the ninth circle, but you can think of 1,304,000 other things you’d rather do on a Saturday afternoon. Still, men shouldn’t be made to feel excluded from that universe.
Perhaps this man was just poking fun at military life. Maybe this actually happened. There’s also a chance he was denied leave and wrote this angry and sarcastic response he didn’t wind up sending. Whatever the actual truth behind this, assumptions based on gender continue to be made in the military and in many other working environments across America, and men suffer because of them.
Both men and women should be able to take part in their home lives however they deem fit. If a baby shower is important to a man, no matter how crazy the idea might be to men and the women who dread attending them, that’s his business.