Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
February 27, 2013

Teaching Women the 1000 Yard Stare

Women military recruits 3

Women military recruits 1

Women military recruits 2

It’s interest how political issues, sympathetic up to a point, can suddenly face each other headlong. You can be an ardent advocate for women’s rights. You can also chafe under that pervasive militarization of our culture since 9/11 and the longstanding “peace through strength” model that Obama inherited from Dubya and has perpetuated.

It’s also interesting how much differently we might look at a picture given where we are along that “equality trajectory.” What I’m thinking about is what we see when women finally do cross that equal status barrier. (If you click through the full “Women Attend Marine Boot Camp At Parris Island, South Carolina” edit , you’ll also see photos of the male and female recruits together on equal term.) Having earned that equal entrance into the club (at least, the basic training club), what are we seeing now?

…The cries of “you go, girl!” fading in the wind, we see women, just like men, as cogs in the war machine.

(photos: Scott Olson/Getty. caption 1: Marine Recruit Abigail Day (C) of Sardinia, Ohio listens as a drill instructor shouts instructions at her and other Marine recruits as they are processed into boot camp on February 25, 2013 at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina. Female enlisted Marines have gone through recruit training at the base since 1949. About 11 percent of female recruits who arrive at the boot camp fail to complete the training, which can be physically and mentally demanding. On January 24, 2013 Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta rescinded an order, which had been in place since 1994, that restricted women from being attached to ground combat units. caption 2: Female Marine recruits stand in formation during boot camp February 25, 2013 at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina. All female enlisted Marines and male Marines who were living east of the Mississippi River when they were recruited attend boot camp at Parris Island. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. caption 3: Misty Holloway (R) of Cheraw, South Carolina and other female Marine recruits prepare for a swimming test during boot camp February 25, 2013 at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina. Male and female recruits are expected to meet the same standards during their swim qualification test. All female enlisted Marines and male Marines who were living east of the Mississippi River when they were recruited attend boot camp at Parris Island. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female.)

  • BamaGuy1024

    Horrific, seeing these young women looking like soul-less zombies, mindlessly obeying their military superiors. And now they serve the military industrial complex to prop up our country and maintain its power and wealth. What threat is any nation on Earth to us? And yet these mindless occupations of other nations and remote control drone attacks and wars of choice go on and on endlessly.

    • Denis Corder

      “….soul-less zombies, mindlessly obeying their military superiors.” This entire world is in the lure of the ruler, satan; IF you believe. Not only are many “mindlessly obeying” their military leaders, they’re obeying and following their own worldly lusts, desires, and ways; his ways. Filled with lies, deception, and “self.” IF you believe, just look at religion. The faces and look of these young ladies are the same faces and look you see in people sitting in religious buildings ran and operated by man; religion. Need an example, just look at the thousands standing in the streets to hear and see a man labelled “Pope.” Jesus is the ONLY Way!

  • Shirley

    Very sad … and my first response to these photos isn’t even that they are women with that “1000-yard stare,” but that they are little more than just-beyond children. Look at the youth of those faces (and the same, I’m sure, would hold true for male recruits as well). These are kids, basically, and now they’re all potential IED fodder.

    • paulhobbs

      They’re young enough to buy the BS they’re fed about why we’re fighting, and mostly broke enough to not ask any tough questions.

  • bystander

    I dunno, Michael. Now that women can serve in combat roles…. I try to think in evolutionary terms. Maybe this is what it takes. This is how we get women Generals, and women in NATO command, and women ranking higher in the Defense Department… or a woman Secretary of Defense… Women evaluate risk differently then men (that one got demonstrated on Wall Street). Maybe this is how we move forward. Kills me to think that we’ll sacrifice any number of these women (thousands of them, perhaps) in the process of getting there… But, I’d argue that sacrifice is overdue. There’s been no good reason – save a cultural one – to have kept women out of combat up to now. And, at least historically, combat rotations have been the path for military promotions. I hate to say it, but I think we need them there. Saints preserve us all.

  • Stan B.

    The saddest part is that half of them will be raped by those they train with, report to and trust the most…

    • Litenarata

      Half? Where did you get that number? I searched all over that website and didn’t see it anywhere.

    • jaysmaz3

      How about u shut the hell up you idiot

  • Litenarata

    Geez, you people are overreacting. This is boot camp, not everyday military life. In most of the photos where they supposedly have a 1000-yard stare (which actually refers to a gaze by people who have experienced trauma or combat) they are just standing at attention. When you stand at attention, you aren’t supposed to turn your head or look around, even if there’s a photographer next to you, so it looks like your zoning out. Standing motionless for a little while does not make you a soulless, mindless zombie. My enjoyment of this website just dropped a few notches. Yuck.

    • Litenarata

      You don’t teach someone this: “The thousand-yard stare or two-thousand-yard stare is a phrase coined to describe the limp, unfocused gaze of a battle-weary soldier, but the symptom it describes may also be found among victims of other types of trauma. A characteristic of post-traumatic stress disorder, the despondent stare reflects dissociation from trauma.”

  • Litenarata

    Also, female Marines have been doing the same thing as male Marines at boot camp for many years. What you see in these photos is nothing new.

  • Pingback: Teaching Women the….What?? « The semi-normal, day-to-day life of a female Marine

  • robert e

    The captions for Photos 1 and 2 were switched.

  • jaysmaz3

    And as for you, you can shut the hell up too you sound like a douch bag be proud people protect your freedoms so u have the right to speak your crap freely in no respect at all go fuk urself

  • jaysmaz3

    And your a judgemental piece of shit

Refresh Archives

Random Notes