Thomas Pluck, on how insulting it is to call the new Marine hats “girly”.
In case you didn’t notice yesterday, the Marine Corps was quietly dissolved after the New York Post made fun of their new “girly” hats. The elite fighting force could not survive this blow to their pride, and they all quit to join the ballet. Or so the Post would have you think.
“We don’t even have enough funding to buy bullets, and the DoD is pushing to spend $8 million on covers that look like women’s hats!” one senior Marine source fumed to The Post. “The Marines deserve better. It makes them look ridiculous.”
Trumpeted all over the Rupert Murdoch empire, this article wanted us to believe that America’s warriors were being forced by the President to wear ridiculous beanies, like the humiliated boyfriends of a knitter on etsy. The outcry was so furious that Marines took to Stars & Stripes to shoot down the theory.
The truth? The new, slimmer hat is the Dan Daly cap, named after a double Medal of Honor recipient who shouted “Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?” as he led a charge of Marines into Belleau Wood in World War 1. If that’s girly, color me fuschia. And the reason they are transitioning female Marines to a new cap is that the supplier of women’s caps has gone out of business, and they are seeking a new supplier. To quote the Marine Corps’ official statement: “The Marine Corps has zero intention of changing the male cover.”
Change is always scary. The Marines didn’t like the new digital camo, according to a “junior Marine source,” my buddy Milky. They dealt with it. Then they complained when the Army got it, because it had become their own. This all reeks of the slow news-day bullcaca we’ve come to expect from the 24/7 entertainment machine we call “the news,” when it is usually nothing but hearsay with the outrage jacked up.
But what irked me most was the intended insult of “girly.”
What an insult to all the female Marines serving our country. A friend of mine on Facebook—I mean, a senior publishing source, to go with the BS news parlance of quoting some guy on Facebook or in a bar as some shadowy embedded operative—put it best when he said if some adult used “girly” as an insult in front of his daughter, he’d clock him a good one.
I’d probably tell the guy off, as my liver punch is a little rusty, but I understand the sentiment. We need to get past using “girl” as the worst thing to call a guy. It comes in all flavors: “Quit being a pussy,” to the bowdlerized PG “wussy”—which is pretty wussified, if you ask me—and “throw like a girl,” which I have been accused of (I can’t throw worth a damn, but I can tackle like a rhino with a sriracha suppository).
We grow up using these insults, absorbing them. And we say it doesn’t mean anything, but it does. It means we look down on the people we want to spend the rest of our lives with. When we stop thinking girls are icky and we suddenly want to date them, that resentment and condescension lies beneath the surface. We anticipate their reactions, based on our assumption of “girly.” We sabotage relationships with cool individuals, because of our prejudices. It’s time to retire it. There will always be differences between boys and girls. When a man uses “girly” as an insult, I have a hard time seeing him as a fully matured individual.
And even if something is effeminate—such as some of those etsy hats—what’s humiliating about those photos isn’t the hat. It’s how the guy is handling it. If he owned it, we’d be cheering him on. Are you gonna be the guy who makes a huge deal out of holding his wife’s purse in public? It’s not some wizard spell that will shrink your testicles. A strong sense of one’s own manhood can survive a goofy hat, a pink tie, or making a weekend grocery run for tampons and ice cream. If it can’t, you’re worse than “girly” ever could be, you’re simply being childish.