Interesting Article: No Skirts for Midshipmen at USNA Graduation

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Padre101, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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  2. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I read that. Blew up on social media the other day when it was announced. I would of preferred to have worn pants during graduation. A skirt, hose and heels sucked on a hot day with a grass field (its not real grass anymore). They have made a huge push in the last decade about moving towards more uniformity among uniforms. USNA tends to be a test bed for officer changes as it has such a large group of folks to get feedback from. My opinions are mixed on the topic. I did like the chokers last year. I do not like the male combo covers as they always seem too big for females and it really screws up their hair and makes it look out of standards from continually weighing down on their bun. I hate skirts, but that is just me. I know some women liked them as it made them feel more feminine. There are tons of arguments to this and are even more heated as the arguments for gender equality tend be hot topic items within the military. Regardless, Mids can complain all they want, the bottom line is the order has been given, its their job to roger up to it, and comply.
     
  3. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Folks under the USNA jurisdiction can salute and drive on, but some of us can still discuss.

    Hope the USNA knows what they are doing as this reminds me of a Duffel blog story about unisex hair style for the military.
     
  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    An eternal truth: people in uniform or who once wore it can engage in endless discussion on uniform policies!

    The cycle is endless. Those of us who commissioned in the very late 70's had to fight to get khakis, summer whites, steel-toed boots in women's sizes, gold on our covers (the gold chin strap), pockets in our uniforms (guess they thought we carried handbags everywhere), swords...and PANTS. Imagine me going down the oily ladder into the engine room on my tugboats in service dress blue, skirt, and pumps - because the Navy, in its infinite wisdom, started sending women to non-traditional jobs as a precursor to the first women going to ships, but failed to make accompanying uniform adjustments. After trashing 3 sets of SDBs, and losing 4 combo covers ($$$) overboard, I begged my department head to let me go buy men's khakis and get them tailored, and wear them only when I was on my tugs, and wear a ball cap. He agreed, and it was our little secret, though as I look back, I am sure the XO had given his approval. A year later, we started getting the uniforms we needed, including pregnancy versions. That, I think, was due to women now being at USNA and the light bulb coming on about what women needed.

    For a long time, the skirt was the required version (the "alpha") for any uniform, with pants the optional, or "bravo" version. It was crazy, because that meant every woman had to take skirt, hose, pumps to sea as a required seabag item, though they could not be worn aboard ship. A real pain when storage space is limited. We finally got that fixed in 2003, when the alpha and bravo designations were finally switched. Many male CO's had not allowed the bravo option ashore, so of course, we craved the pants option. Pants became the required version, but those who wanted the skirt variation for shore liberty or personal choice, could have them.

    Swords also look, IMHO, ridiculous with skirts, so I wore pants - gasp!!! - at my changes of command.

    There has been a bit of a sea change at USNA over the last 10-15 years. Female mids routinely wore the uniform pants version on liberty - because the skirt had been required for so long. Now, for the last decade or so, the trend has been skirts, including some who clearly tailor their uniform skirt to mini level and out of regs. I think that mirrors the fashion trends of the last several years toward cute little dresses and skirts, with very high heels.

    I think as more and more of the Navy career paths have opened up to women, there has been an undercurrent of choosing to be different from men in the ways that are possible, so as not to lose identity as a woman. Witness the Navy gear in hot pink or animal print snapped up by the women, because the guys aren't wearing it.

    It's a generational and human nature thing. You want what you're used to, or what you can't have.

    My running joke - clumsy, I admit - about the trend to move women's uniforms to mirror the men more closely, is that we could certainly step back and weigh going the other way - earrings for men, etc.

    It's inevitable, uniform change and the tempests that accompany it. I try not to get too wrapped up in it. But it's irresistible....

    Edit: And it just kills me, those who are nay-sayers about women in the military, at a Service Academy or in non-traditional roles, will gleefully point out the fuss being made by (some) "girls" over skirts. Argh.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
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  5. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    What a dumb idea.

    When I graduated from USNA, it was optional for women to wear either the skirt or pants. Given the choice, the OVERWHELMING majority of women selected the skirt. There's no practical reason for women to have to wear pants like there is at a football game (march on in a skirt doesn't make sense) or possibily a change of command where you have to stand in formation for hours (though I've been to changes of command in a skirt and it's not that bad). On a late May afternoon in Maryland, trust me, the skirt is far more comfortable despite the unusual tan lines you get.
    Also, there's about 1/4 of the graduating class that's going to look pretty different as well. Might as well make the Marines wear their midshipman whites for the first part since they're still in the Navy for a few more minutes, right? And yes, I'm aware they used to do this.

    ...And what a dumb argument. Aside from that optional women's cut uniforms exist for both flight suits and cammies, working uniforms are made to be worked in. I don't really care how my flight suit looks, I care that it prevents me from getting horribly burned to death if I crash. My Marines who work on aircraft in coveralls for about 14 hours a day (or Sailors who spend all day doing hard, physical work on ships or aircraft) don't care about looking cute, they want a durable, comfortable uniform that won't get ruined by grease/oil stains/etc.
    When I get the option to dress up and actually look like a woman, I want to actually look like a woman. I'm not even an overly feminine person, but I want to look nice and the pants don't look nice. Every formal military event I've attended where women are given the option to wear a skirt--Marine Corps Ball, TBS graduation, mess nights, winging--most choose the skirt, myself included.

    Whatever good idea fairy is pushing gender neutrality as the rule of the day needs to find something better to do with their time yesterday. I remain convinced the current push towards gender neutralizing uniforms is all about making a bunch of noise that the military is doing something instead of actually making meaningful improvements (or even certain desired uniform changes) in the lives of women.

    I've never felt like I'm less respected as an officer or thought less of as a Marine because I'm wearing a skirt or have a different cut to my jacket. The EGA on the collar looks the same, as do my 1stLt bars and my wings.
    I HAVE felt like I'm thought less of as a Marine when people assume that I'm less qualified than they are for my job because I'm a woman (I'm not), or that I was only selected for certain things because I'm a woman (I wasn't), or I get special treatment because I'm a woman (I don't). Making me look like a man won't fix that.
     
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  6. Disco2020

    Disco2020 Member

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    no more Midshipman? Here you go: Ray Mabus, the secretary of the Navy, issued a memo to the chief of naval operations on Jan. 1 asking for an "update of position titles and descriptions to demonstrate through this language that women are included in these positions. Please review the position titles throughout the Navy and ensure that they are gender-integrated ... removing 'man' from their titles."

    http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/ph-ac-cn-title-changes-navy-midshipmen-0115-20160117-story.html
     
  7. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Yes, there's that going on too.
     
  8. VelveteenR

    VelveteenR Just gathering dust in the nursery...

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    I liked this quote from the article:

    How about "shipmate?"
     
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  9. Disco2020

    Disco2020 Member

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    There are plenty of these: foreman, Congressman, journeyman, Airman, etc. IMHO these are titles and have nothing do do with gender. I suspect that a poll at the Yard would show most of the MIDS have no issue with the title Midshipman. They are happy and proud they earned it!
     
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  10. Sydney C.

    Sydney C. Member

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    Political correctness run amok? While we're at it how about Wo-man.
     
  11. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Whatever happened to "man" as a generic expression of a human being, without implying gender? As in, "Man cannot live by bread alone."

    Most of the women I know, vets or currently serving, think there are other things that need attention before language fixes. Same flap several years ago with the big hoo-hah about changing "...sailor men..." in Navy Blue and Gold to "sailors brave."

    There are changes to language that are important, agreed, to help create a balanced climate. I admit to insisting the plebes who chopped and turned at my door on Deck 6-0 at USNA, yelled "Beat Army, ma'am!" instead of "sir" - good training for being prepared to meet and greet officers of either sex. Of course, the mids named that particular square of polished stainless steel, "Ma'am Corner." ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
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  12. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    When I was in college, there was a movement to have women be called "womyn."
     
  13. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Hurricane and Capt MJ bring up great points and voice many of the concerns and improvements we (as in my USNA and USMC friends) have experienced and seen over the years. I hated skirts, but hey if a woman wants to wear them, good on them. Heck my biggest argument as a Mid was to have dang pants with pockets! I mean was it that hard to design a pair of pants with pockets that fit women? I have no problem finding them now for work, but that seemed to be nearly impossible when I was a Mid. It seems their uniforms do have them now, much improved. I agree in uniformity, but I have issues with removing gender all together. You can be equal in opportunity with allowing men and women to wear uniforms that look half way decent on them. A woman can lead while also having feminine qualities. But we all have our opinions on this one and could debate this topic forever.
     
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  14. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    I have always supported balanced equivalency over exactly equal when it came to uniforms and grooming standards.
     
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  15. usnagrad1988

    usnagrad1988 Member

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    I don't get too worked up about this. At a dress parade, women wear pants and everyone is uniform. I concur with one female midshipman's comment that making the covers the same is awkward. They just don't look right on most women to me. The reality is that the Navy is never going to be able to make men and women "equal," and why do you really want to? The uniforms should be different just due to practical body types. Women have these two bumps on their chest for crying out loud and typically wider hips and so on. I don't think we are going to get to body part modifications (hopefully) and shaving women's heads. Can't we just appreciate and celebrate the differences between men and women. We have different personalities as well, which brings different perspectives to situations. This argument on women having to sign up for the draft is probably a bigger issue. Some men say they should have to since men have to, but a large portion of the female population isn't physically qualified to serve in the military, so do you force the issue and put them at a desk? That's another discussion.
     
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  16. VelveteenR

    VelveteenR Just gathering dust in the nursery...

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    I must admit I'm not sure referring to the new commandant at USMA as the "momandant" is entirely endearing.
     
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  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I just assumed skirts would be optional for male squids too...
     
  18. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Give the Marines the Blood Stripe. It will make a more colorful formation and it will be easier to pick your DD/DS out. This is going really too far.
     
  19. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Exactly what I was thinking with the earring comment I made above - they have been very quick to adapt all changes skewed to the male model. Clearly they didn't do a parallel analysis exploring what traditionally female elements of clothing and grooming might be just the right thing to shift men to.:)
     
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  20. Letsdothis

    Letsdothis Member

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    Never thought about you being female! Shame on me!!!! Been reading your posts for years. I have the same level of personal embarrassment I had when I didn't figure out the age old riddle about the physician's son dying in the auto accident. Darn it all!
     

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