You earned the title Veteran. Wear it with pride.

As a woman veteran, I find it all steps in the right direction that there are now posters all over the VA about women vets, and there’s a specific clinic specializing in my needs, and when I have a mammogram everything is pink, including the woman’s calendar that is given to me as a free gift (because while a bit cliché, at least its not as sterile as it used to be; and I get the whole breast cancer awareness tie-in).

But…

first, stop calling us females – we are women. Men veterans are just called Veterans – why must you distinguish us as different by using words that are used to describe animals? We are the only species that have men and women not just male and female. Maybe this seems like nitpicking, but…well, its important when one is trying to figure out one’s sense of femininity (as so many of us are).

Second, why is it that in all the other areas of the VA hospital I go to for specialist care, the books range from politics to adventure to spy to crime and investigative genres but in the Women’s Clinic, every book in there is a romance novel? WTF is that?! How could an organization go through the motions of trying to make us feel more included and then completely segment us into a grouping so shallow we only read romance novels. I went through all 50 books that were sitting on the table. We aren’t Victorian women who sit around reading romance novels and only speaking when spoken to, we are warriors who put up with an incredible amount of shit trying to make ourselves as good if not better than the men we served with so no one would disrespect us for only being capable of what our perceived feminine wiles allowed of us.

Yes, the VA is making surface changes in how they welcome women into the mostly men-dominated clinics and hospitals, but they have a long way to go. Its not just the surface image that needs to be changed, its the deep rooted culture.

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