Military Spouse Magazine

FEB 2019

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O U R L I V E S WHEN, AT A CEREMONY OR EVENT, AN EMCEE ASKS THAT ALL ACTIVE MILITARY, VETERANS AND SPOUSES STAND TOGETHER TO BE RECOG- NIZED, THERE IS NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE GROUPS. They all stand. If the woman is a service member or veteran, they know that when everyone stands together the assumption will be they are a military spouse. And what about military spouses? How does this make them feel? They don't quite fit into the category of service member since they are a spouse. Although they appreciate being recognized for their sacrifice; it just doesn't feel quite right. Divided? A look at the situations and issues that complicate relationships between female service members and female military spouses. By Amanda Huffman, Air Force Veteran and Air Force Spouse GROUPED TOGETHER Situations like this especially aggravate an al- ready existing complicated relationship between female service members and female military spouses. Women who serve in the military are constantly overlooked and their service is deval- ued. They often have to defend their service to the men who they either serve with or men who never served at all. Grouping their service with the service of non-veterans is very disingenuous. Military spouses appreciate being rec- ognized for the work they do to support the military because it is often an unseen and thankless job. But when everyone is pushed into one category, military spouses find themselves feeling awkward or uncom- fortable. The very group they are trying to recognize doesn't feel supported or appreci- ated. Instead, they still feel like outsiders. BUT TREATED DIFFERENTLY As both a veteran and a mili- tary spouse, I am in a unique position to see how military spouses and service members are treated in similar situations. Military spouses are clas- sified as dependents, and are often treated just like the title sounds. And while some rules are made to protect the military and the member, they often make life a lot harder to be a military spouse. A basic task like getting an identification card renewed or having repairs done to your home when you live on base require the service member. In the civilian world, a spouse is not dependent on their husband or wife to get basic tasks done. But the same cannot be said for military spouses. When I was in the military, I was treated with respect and always had great customer service. As a military spouse, if I go on base to get help without my husband, I have found myself leaving in tears, treated unprofessionally and feeling like no one even cares. While military spouses don't hold rank, they should be treated with respect. Instead of support for Photos provided by Amanda Huffman 22 MILITARYSPOUSE.COM / FEBRUARY 2019

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