I bet you’re asking yourself, “what’s spouse shaming”? Other than being a totally made up phrase derived from the concept of “slut shaming,” spouse shaming is merely my way of discussing a fairly popular military community cultural practice of military spouses, (and some of our service members, too) accusing other military spouses of being none other than a dependapotamus.
Whether or not you believe that dependapotamuses…dependapotami?…exist, the label “dependa” is just a militarized version of the “welfare queen.”
Surely not everyone on welfare abuses the system, nor is every military spouse looking for an opportunity to live off the teat of Uncle Sam, although that might be the impression you get if you spend any time online trying to connect with other military spouses. It’s fair to ask whether or not the slamming of spouses on some Facebook Pages, forums, and message boards are just adding fuel to the political fire when it comes to deciding whether or not to cut military pay, benefits, and entitlements?
I think so.
As a matter of fact I think spouse shaming silences military spouses who want to stand up and advocate for their serving spouse and military family but are afraid of being accused of being entitled, or worse, a dependa.
Let’s face it. Our service members can’t really speak out for or against political issues, period. And if military spouses are too afraid to stand up and speak out for their wives, husbands, and families then who will?
Who will call a spade a spade when politicians and senior leaders are missing the boat on the realities facing today’s modern military families?
Who do you think is best suited to talk about the challenges of geography, career, education, personal finance, marital strain, and mental health issues on today’s military families other than the ONE PERSON who remains constantly in the trenches on the homefront?
And for the naysayers, you know what? You’re right.
Military spouses don’t serve.
Most of us never signed on the dotted line.
We aren’t owed anything.
We will never know what over a decade of war looks like on the battlefield, but we know what the hell it looks like when it comes home.
We might not serve but we damn well willingly sacrifice our loved ones with no guarantee that we’ll get them back the way we handed them over to Uncle Sam, that cruel bastard.
We need to stand together and speak our minds and speak out on issues that really matter, like how sequestration is far from old news and the reduction in force (RIF) is affecting the entire military community, instead wasting time and energy pointing, laughing, judging and tearing each other down.
Now is not the time to turn on each other. Now is the time to turn to each other to fight the fight that our serving husbands and wives cannot.