There were a lot of things I expected when I married “into the military.” I expected the long hours and crazy schedules my husband would have, after all I’d already been used to those for years. I expected the mixed emotions of the excitement, anxiety and fear that come with each PCS and transfer. I expected the confusing acronyms and the military jargon. I even expected the mob of crazed women reaching for the last can of green beans at the commissary during the holidays. I did not, however, expect the hate. It truly shocked me how much hate there seems to be out there for military spouses. It amazes me every day. It’s almost like the moment a military spouse says I do, crowds of virtual people appear to judge everything they do and the most tragic part is that a large portion of the people in those harsh, judgmental crowds are other military spouses cannibalizing their own.
My first discovery into the foray of military spouse hate was a site on Facebook named after a combination of the words dependent and hippopotamus. I saw the website name mentioned in an article and the word disquieted me. Sure, at first glance it seemed like a harmless, funny word but as I stared at the word I felt a sick roiling in my stomach and the surety that there was something dark and nasty about this word. And I was right. I clicked over to the page and discovered it was a page dedicated to making fun of and tearing down military spouses. I knew the mission of the page was wrong. This was a page written by people that create fake profiles to friend request military spouses on Facebook. They then “troll” through the military spouse’s Facebook in order to find something the military spouse may have said or done that is blasphemous in their eyes so they can screenshot it onto their page and publicly ostracize the offending military spouse. Sure, some of the women they publicly condemned on the page had said things that could be seen as offensive but still, the idea that there are people out there on the web stalking military spouses, looking for an excuse to hate them and virtually violate them is horrific.It’s like just by loving someone in the military and marrying them, sites like these had painted a target on our backs and declared us guilty until proven innocent.
And then, I saw something that drove my horror even deeper, a lot of the comments on the hate filled posts were by other military spouses. Other military spouses that were devouring the posts and the women subjectified on this page. These judgmental spouses were gathering on this page to read the reposted words of the “offender” with the exciting knowledge that they would measure them, judge them and find them wanting in comparison.
How can other military spouses be supporting this kind of hatred?