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Officer vs. Enlisted Stigma

I got the idea for this post from a comment someone made on this blog.  It's actually something that I have experienced myself many times, as I am sure many of you have as well.  It's the "Oh, you are an officer's wife?" or the "Oh, your husband is just enlisted?"  What's the big deal, here, folks?!

We have all probably met the officer's spouse that totally rubbed us the wrong way and seemed to "wear her/his spouse's rank."  And the same goes for enlisted spouses.  It's annoying, childish, self-serving, etc, right?  Well, I hate to admit it, folks, but it is those types of people who put the stigma on "officer" or "enlisted" spouses - but it is ALL spouses who decide whether they will generalize all other spouses (either officer or enlisted) and judge other spouses by their husband/wife's rank before taking the time to actually get to know that spouse.  Am I making sense?

I want to share a story with you.  It's something that happened to me that totally caught me off guard.  I am not sharing this story to tell you which "category" my husband falls in, but I want to bring to light that the stigma I mentioned above is, well, ridiculous!

I was sitting in class one day and told my classmates about the upcoming Post-Wide Yard Sale in case anyone was interested.  One of my classmates (I'll call her "Dee") says, "Make sure you go to the officer's houses because they make so much money and they have good stuff to sell."

Me: "I live on ___ St. so if you are down that way, stop by and say hello."  (I was ignoring her comment, basically).

Dee: "What?!  YOU are an officer's wife?!?!?!  I can't talk to you any more.  I (was) married to an enlisted guy and I hated all those officers' wives.  They even had their own 'preppy' clothes section in the PX.  I can't believe I didn't know you were an officer's wife!"

I was sooooo taken aback by her comment that I was completely speechless.  Since when does the PX have separate officer and enlisted sections?  Did I miss something in the many PX's I have been to?  And who cares if my husband is an officer.  I have no rank and, apparently, I didn't "act like an officer's wife" (according to Dee) in the two semesters I had classes with her.  Needless to say I made no response to her comment (and I felt no need to expend any energy on her).  Her attitude toward me (after that conversation) changed - she was distant, for the most part, and any time the military came up in conversations (in or out of class) she was determined to say nasty things about officers and their spouses. 

It's sad, really.  Why can't we all just get along???????????????????  (Thinking big, here.  REAL big!)

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