Andrea N. Goldstein has written for Task & Purpose since 2014, previously under the pseudonym Anna Granville. She served on active duty 2009-2016 as a naval officer, primarily with expeditionary forces. She holds a bachelor's degree in History from the University of Chicago, and is currently studying towards a M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She still roots for the New York Yankees, despite living in Boston. She is a Class of 2016 Tillman Scholar
Infantrywoman. Tank commander. Aircraft door gunner. On March 1, to kick off Women’s History Month, the U.S. Marine Corps released a video depicting female Marines in serving in combat jobs, followed by photographs of female Marines from previous eras, with the tagline “For every woman who fights, there is a woman who fought for her.”
“M,” an Army veteran who deployed with Army Special Forces in the 1980s, cries when I ask her what she thinks the public should know about women veterans. She wipes tears from her eyes and laughs that she had put on mascara just for our interview. “Really, nothing different than male veterans,” she tells me, smiling and weeping at the same time. “We’re veterans. We served. We wore the uniform, and we were there to do our country’s bidding and we did it. … I think all veterans deserve that recognition and acknowledgement of service.”
In the months since the exposure of revenge porn social media sites such as “Marines United,” the Marine Corps has been forced to confront the digital manifestation of its culture of toxic masculinity. The Marines United Facebook group was just one of numerous social media websites where intimate images of female Marines were shared without their consent.
Women have served in every single armed conflict the United States has ever engaged in, but their contributions are typically missing from historical narratives. National security and military history reading lists, including this one by National Security Advisor Gen. H.R. McMaster, frequently only include books written by and about men. Despite women’s contributions to national security throughout history, they are time and again overlooked by leadership even in the 21st century. Yet, we will only learn from our past if we fully understand the sacrifices made by both men and women who served our country.