1.1 million men and women. That’s the estimated number of folks who are married to someone serving our country in uniform.
Many of us have been frustrated at one point or another by negative stereotypes that seem to follow our community.
There are those in our community that wish we would all stop talking about this subject, hoping that it will fade into the past. It’s always been my belief that if we openly talk about the negative stuff, we can make strides in conquering it. It opens up a discussion, good or bad, that I believe to be healthy overall.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about WHY these stereotypes exist.
What are the reasons military spouses sometimes collectively get a bad rap?
Some of it comes from outside the community, some of it comes within. But why? Here’s what we think:
1) The Bad Apple Theory
I have never quite understood this concept. If I buy a bag of apples and I find a rotten one in the bunch, I throw out that piece of fruit. Not the entire bag.
But when it comes to stereotypes, we hear this a lot. That one spouse who slept around during deployment is a bad apple that gives the whole bunch of us a bad name.
No. No it doesn’t. One person’s bad behavior should reflect on that person and that person only. There is no kernel of truth in a stereotype just because a few people (or even a few hundred) have engaged in certain behaviors.
It is not possible for any of us to “know” all 1.1 million military spouses. It’s not possible for us to know all the spouses in a sub-set either.
Branch affiliation, military installation, officer or enlisted…we can’t make blanket statements about all of one group, or even a majority. I know hundreds of military spouses, and that is still such a small percentage.
Don’t judge me based on the actions of my neighbors, and I won’t judge you based on the actions of yours.