The U. S. Marine Corps has launched an aggressive new advertising campaign aimed at attracting more
women recruits. It’s a smart move since the all-volunteer Corps is struggling to make its annual quotas. And, while the Corps has accepted women in administrative roles since 1918, it’s only recently begun putting the distaff side in harm’s way.
War being the dirty business that it is, the Corps has to do what the Corps has to do to create awareness and build credibility. But, I must say I find the new ads disingenuous at best.
One, for example, features a very aggressive-looking woman and a headline that reads: “Wanted: leadership that inspires Marines under your command and Americans everywhere."
There’s no doubt that Marine Corps training build confidence, moral and physical strength and, I’m sure, leadership qualities. But, I believe the Corps also needs to let female recruits know what they’re getting themselves into. The current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan shows no sign of letting up, much less improving. So, while the recruits may indeed be leading fellow Marines and inspiring Americans everywhere, they’re also likely to be shipped to an active war zone. And, that’s the rub. I’m just not sure very many prime, 18-year-old prospects understand the grim realities of Baghdad, Falujah and elsewhere. And, I think the U.S. Marine Corps owes our nation’s youth a fully transparent story.
I applaud those who volunteer, but I’d also like women everywhere to realize what they’re signing up for.
Excellent points. Thanks so much. I have no doubt recruiters make it very clear what’s what. Again, my issue was with an advertising campaign that I found to be less than forthcoming.
“Selling the dream” is exactly what the Marine Corps is doing, and has been since its inception. But it also delivers the dream. The Marine Corps has no need to pay advertising dollars for a message that I would hope even an 18 year old recognizes: We are a nation at war, and our service members are in harm’s way. As with all advertising, a one page glossy could never tell the whole story. However, I have yet to meet a Marine, recruiter or otherwise, who did not espouse our ethos and mission as ‘soldiers of the sea’, and ‘every Marine a rifleman’. A Marine prospect, male or female, gets the message loudly and clearly…well before signing the dotted line.
Really appreciate the comment/observation. And I take your point. That said, this particular campaign emphasizes leadership and, in my mind, sends a disingenuous message to an 18-year-old (ie. selling the dream of leadership as opposed to the reality of potentially being in harm’s way from day one.)
People don’t join the Marine Corps because they want to be in the military. They join because they want to be a Marine. They want the kind of leadership experience and the camaraderie one can only find in the Marine Corps. Having gone through the recruitment process myself after the first Gulf War, I can tell you that the Marines never tried to downplay the potential of serving during war time. Being in a war is a reality of serving in the military, no matter when you join. The Marine Corps has never promised anything more than simply being a Marine. The Army highlights paying for education, the Navy pushes traveling the world. The Corps promised being a Marine, and that’s what appeals to those who join.