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When I first joined the Army, I had very few ideas about what to expect. While I’m not the first in my family to enter the military, I am the first female. On top of this, the family that I did know who entered the military, went Navy, so obviously I couldn’t draw from their experiences.
Now that I’ve been in the Army a few years, I’m proud to say that I love it and hope to stay in for a long time! But there have been several things that I have gone through, and that I’ve seen my fellow female battle buddies go through, that have made me stumble in my military career tracks.
Take a peek below to see just some of the few challenges you may face if you’re thinking about enlisting in the Army.
1. There may be a slight bias still
Although there are many instances where this is absolutely not the case, there are still a few times in my career where I have encountered some sort of bias based off of the fact that I am not a male. I've been lucky, though, as many times when this has happened, it has never been intentional. Because it's never been intentional and there came no harm from it, I never saw a reason to mention the incidences ever again!
Others have not been so lucky. I've heard stories of females feeling they were not able to truly fit in.
2. Making tape as a female can be a struggle
Most personnel who are overweight according to Army Standards need to be taped in accordance with regulations. Because females are taped differently than males, it can be difficult for some females to maintain. This has created a slew of other problems among females in most INSCOM units. From fad diets to diet pills in order to meet requirements, it can be frustrating for everyone involved—especially if the female in question is good at her physical fitness.
3. Being pregnant is... more difficult than being pregnant already is
Imagine finally having your little bundle of joy, getting him or her settled into a sleeping cycle, and then forcing your body back into regulation within just a couple of months! Each female's body is different, and the idea that every female who has a baby can immediately drop the baby weight within a couple of months is ridiculous.
The ways that females tend to lose the weight really fast if they're unable to drop it healthily is similar to the methods above when height and weight aren't working out. It's not a pleasant situation.
4. Civilians will often assume that you are not in the army—and that your male companions are
There have been times when I am walking out in public, showing my pride and wearing one of my unit shirts, and I will get the same question I've gotten on multiple occasions: "Oh, how long has your boyfriend been in the Army?" And cue hand to forehead emoji.
Though it is often a small struggle, I have to remind myself that the military as a whole is still a male-dominated field, so it is only natural for people to assume!
5. You will sometimes feel the need to prove yourself
While I'm the first female in my family to enlist in the Army, I have many battle buddies who I can count on and look up to constantly. There are so many good females in the Army who I can rely on to help me out when I need it. Because at the end of the day, we know we have each other's backs.
However, that does not mean that I have never once told myself I had to work hard because of the fact that I am a female and I will automatically discounted. No matter how true or untrue this may be.
While this list has a few struggles that females have and will continue to go through, that does not mean that everything about the Army sucks for females—or even that this list contains all the things that every female will struggle with. In fact, there are several things that we as females will never have to worry about (another post to follow).